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The (Science-y) Secret to Super Sweet Carrots

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I’m not a fan of cleaning my box grater. It shreds up my sponge and I never feel like I’m getting quite everything out. So, if I don’t need to shred in a recipe, I use it as a time to practice my chopping skills.

However, it does matter how you slice it—according to Christopher Kimball. In his newest cookbook, Milk Street: The New Home Cooking, the former America's Test Kitchen host explains that shredding root vegetables like carrots, turnips, or yams makes them taste both sweeter and fresher.

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“When the vegetable is cut, its cells rupture and release sugars and volatile hydrocarbons, the sources of the vegetables' sweetness and aroma,” he writes. "The more cells you rupture, the better the taste.”

Nothing’s wrong with chopping or slicing, but there’s no getting around the fact that shredding is the best way to rupture cells.

For carrots harvested in the spring and summer, you don’t need to peel before shredding—just wash them well. Late-season carrots harvested in fall can have bitter skin and benefit from being peeled. But go ahead and taste one first and use your judgement.

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I still think cleaning my box grater is a pain… but thanks to Kimball’s tip, I have a pretty sweet reason to get shredding. Want your own? Check out these grate (hehe) recipes:

The Grateful Shred

Spice-Drawer Carrot and Coconut Macaroons

Spice-Drawer Carrot and Coconut Macaroons by Alice Medrich

Carrot Chickpea Couscous Salad

Carrot Chickpea Couscous Salad by Kendra Vaculin

Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Miso-Ginger Dressing

Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Miso-Ginger Dressing by Weird & Ravenous

Applesauce Carrot Bread with Pecan Streusel

Applesauce Carrot Bread with Pecan Streusel by fiveandspice

Carrot-Halwa Blondie Bars

Carrot-Halwa Blondie Bars by Panfusine

Carrot-Ginger Smoothie

Carrot-Ginger Smoothie by fiveandspice

Chickpea Vegetable Bowl with Peanut Dressing

Chickpea Vegetable Bowl with Peanut Dressing by Leanne Brown

Carrot Muffins

Carrot Muffins by Merrill Stubbs

Do you hate cleaning your box grater too? Let me know what recipe's worth shredding for below!

Tags: carrots, shredding, grating, root vegetables