"My mother made the best cooked carrots
. Not the candied sweet carrot pieces you may be thinking of, but an incredible mashed carrot delight that had three ingredients: carrots, water and butter. It was a treat in our home. Occasionally my dad would sprinkle some salt and pepper on his, but most of us took them straight! There were never leftover carrots. Mom taught me how to make them and it was a labor of love. After cleaning the fresh carrots, she painstakingly grated them (this later became my job). She minced the leftover “handles” if I did not eat them first. She topped the pan off with water and cooked them low and slow for what seemed like an eternity. When they finally met her approval, they were a little runnier than mashed potatoes, but stiff enough to hold a pat of butter on your helping. It was heaven. After leaving home for school, I experienced the “norm” for cooked carrots: nearly inedible coins of poorly cooked carrots, or worse yet, over cooked bland chunks of what was once a carrot. No wonder people avoided them. It's a pity because carrots are a great source of beta carotene and vitamin A, and cooking them makes these nutrients more available in our digestion.
I have made Mom's carrots about once a year because they are so time-consuming and I work full time. But today I had a wild idea: could I make them with my dehydrated food storage carrots
? Would they have the same sweet wonderful flavor? Time for a food storage experiment! I used about half a cup of the carrots and topped them with water in a sauce pan, let it boil and then turned down to simmer. As the carrots absorbed water, I added more. That was all: simmer, add water, repeat. After about an hour, I hit them with a stick blender (a ricer would have worked as well). They quickly absorbed even more water as the surface area increased. From about half a cup I ended up with over two cups of the mashed carrots, and guess what? They are sweet and wonderful and with a dab of butter, they taste like Mom's. I am thrilled!! Now I can enjoy "Mom's carrots" more often, and I have a great new food storage recipe that is easy and requires little other than to sit at the edge of the fire and get a few splashes of water before a final mash and a dab of butter. But don't get me wrong, this tastes really good without the butter; they just wouldn't quite be Mom's without it! --Gretchen