Friday, July 03, 2009

Taste Test: Austin vs. California

I recently made a batch of glazed carrots with some carrots that came from a local Austin farm (JBG). Since there weren't enough to serve eight, I added some organic carrots purchased from the grocery store and grown in California. The color difference in them was striking, so we all did a taste test on them as well. They were cooked together with the same glaze, but we could easily pick out the variation in the finished dish. I'll tell you that both had been in the fridge quite a while - they weren't spoiled but my point is that I don't believe you could attibute the difference to one being fresh from the field since both had been forgotten in the bottom drawer. Are you as interested in the results as we were?
The California carrots were dark orange, tasty, sweet and smooth.

The local Austin carrots were lighter yellow orange, tasty and sweet but rather than tasting smooth, they were more complex, with much more essential carrot flavor.

All of us could see and taste the difference, but only those who like carrot flavor preferred the local version!

p.s. I learned something else - You know how fancy restaurants serve you the carrots (and sometimes other vegetables) with a bit of the green still attached, giving you that farm-fresh feeling? Well, I tried it, with dubious results. I just threw the ones with the tops still on in with everything else, so by the time I stirred and cooked and stirred and cooked, the greens were just too soft to stay on. Guess I'll have to work on that!

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