NEWS for North Dakotans
Agriculture Communication, North Dakota State University
7 Morrill Hall, Fargo, ND 58105-5665
October 8, 1998
Prairie Fare: Passing Time with Carrots
It's a sign of reaching middle age, I guess. I'm changing my attitude about anniversaries and birthdays. Both mark the passage of time but only one denotes it in a positive way, as I see it. If time absolutely must pass as quickly as it does, I've decided I'd rather focus on the years I've been married instead of the years I've been.
That's why I'm announcing that Prairie Fare is having an anniversary, not a birthday. It's been one yearor 52 columns in journalists' timesince we kicked it off. For those of you who relish trivia, the first recipe was for a pumpkin bread pudding.
For those of you who relish relish, well, you may be waiting until next canning season for a recipe like that. I hope you've learned something during the past year and had some fun. Food should be fun. Something to experiment with by combining tastes, textures and colors. Something to talk about when you create a masterpiece you'll be forever proud of. And on the occasion, hopefully seldom, when a seemingly good idea flops, something that merits no further mention.
As we move into our second year with this column, we'd like to get you more involved. Do you have questions about cooking, nutrition or food safety that we should address? Well, ask away. Send your questions to Julie Garden-Robinson, E. Morrow-Lebedeff 351, NDSU Extension Food and Nutrition, P.O. Box 5057, Fargo, ND 58105-5057. We'd welcome your recipes too.
While you're mulling over what questions to ask or which recipes to share, why don't you do so while chewing on a carrot bar? These hearty gems are the result of a successful, I think, experiment carried out by my wife, Nicki. If you've got some North Dakota carrots to use for the recipe, all the better. Did you know that in a recent NDSU sensory evaluation, North Dakota commercially grown carrots earned first place in a comparison to California carrots? The evaluation measured color, appearance, flavor and texture.
Too Good to Be True Carrot Bars
Yield: 24 servings
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups raisins
3 cups grated carrots
2 beaten eggs
1 cup applesauce
1¼ cups orange juice
4 3-ounce packages Neufchatel cheese, softened
3 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons coconut extract
1¾ cups powdered sugar, sifted
For bars, stir together flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, oats and brown sugar in medium mixing bowl and set aside. Mix together raisins, carrots, eggs, applesauce and orange juice. Combine the two mixtures, blend well and pour into 9 X 13-inch baking pan that's been sprayed with vegetable oil. Bake for 40 minutes at 350 F. Allow bars to cool completely before frosting. For frosting, mix cheese, milk, salt, and vanilla and coconut extracts until smooth. Add sugar and continue mixing until smooth again. Spread frosting on bars and chill until served.
What's Your Take on This, Julie?
I hope that people have gleaned a few tidbits on healthy eating while trying some new foods too. For the sweet tooth, we've started and ended our first year of publication with desserts, and fairly healthy ones at that.
Visitors from other areas of the United States are often amazed and amused by "bars," the term we use in reference to certain desserts. Other parts of the country refer to similar sweets as cookies, cake or dessert squares. Whatever you call them, Too Good to Be True Carrot Bars are tasty and nutritious. Each serving contains about 200 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 2.2 grams of fiber and more than 80 percent of the recommended daily vitamin A as beta carotene. The raisins add flavor, fiber and iron.
These bars are lower in calories and fat than you may expect because of the applesauce they contain in place of fat. A cup of shortening contains about 1,200 calories and 144 grams of fat. A cup of applesauce contains about 105 calories and no fat. Applesauce won't work in every recipe, particularly cookies, but modifying some of your recipes can make a difference nutritionally. If you're really calorie conscious, use a little less frosting.
Not only does using applesauce help cut fat and calories, it also contributes fiber in the form of pectin. Pectin is most commonly recognized for its gelling properties in jellies and jams. It's the component of applesauce that contributes texture and helps maintain moistness in recipes. Pectin is found in many different fruits and has been associated with lowering of blood cholesterol levels.
Another healthy ingredient in this recipe is oatmeal. If you've read an oatmeal box lately, you may have noticed the proclamation "good for your heart." Oatmeal is one type of food that can carry a health claim. The fiber in oatmeal, known as beta glucans, has been shown in several research studies to lower blood cholesterol.
Carrots, the featured ingredient in these bars, have had some nontraditional uses throughout history. In Germany carrots were dried, ground and used as a coffee substitute. English women once adorned their hair with the feathery foliage.
Today research is showing that foods high in carotenoids, like carrots, and foods high in vitamin C may be particularly important in reducing our risks for cataracts and macular degeneration, the leading causes of blindness. That's why eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables is so important for overall health.
Modified carrot barswhat a tasty and nutritious way to celebrate any occasion. With this recipe, you can make your cake, or bars, and eat it too.
Sources: Dean Hulse (701) 231-6136 and Julie Garden-Robinson (701) 231-7187
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