Carrot coins? Yawn. Matchsticks? Too much work! Next time you're making a stew or miso soup or gingered carrots, take a few minutes and make carrot flowers. It's simple, not too much extra work and the pay-off is big. Carrot flowers add a sweet, graphic visual to your dish and are an effort that is always appreciated. Step-by-step instructions below the jump.
Ways to Make Carrot Coins
If you only want a handful of carrot flowers, a simple way to make them is by taking notches out of the perimeter of carrot coins. If you want to several cups of carrot flowers, an easier method is to cut the carrots into 4-inch lengths and cut long notches into the lengths — about five is usually a good number. Then slice the carrot crosswise, as you would when slicing carrot coins.
While it's not necessary, try to choose carrots that are somewhat uniform in circumference. To peel or not-to-peel? It's up to you, if you buy organic carrots —the skin on organic carrots is usually thin enough and tasty enough that you can leave it on. Conventional carrots should be peeled.
As always when using a knife, and especially when cutting down on the hard, slippery surface of a carrot, use common sense and be careful! Curl your fingers under on the hand that's holding the carrot in place. You can use a paring knife or a chef's knife — whichever you're most comfortable using — but make sure the knife is sharp so that you can cut cleanly without as much risk that your knife will slip.
Ways to Use Carrot Flowers
I like to use these carrot flowers as an unexpected surprise in soups where they float on top and create a striking visual effect. Have fun and experiment as you slice them, too! Shallow wedges make a more delicate flower, deeper wedges create a graphic, Marimekko look. Carrot flowers cook just like carrot coins, only they're a tiny bit more delicate so use caution when stirring them, especially once they've become cooked and soft.
What to do with the leftover wedges? I usually snack on them while I'm cooking the flowers. Or they could go into stock.
How To Cut Carrots into Flowers
What You Need
Medium or large carrots, any amount
Any knife you feel comfortable with
- Peel the carrots (if desired) and cut into 3 or 4 lengths.
- Cut 4 to 5 grooves along the length of one of the carrot pieces: You're going to start by cutting a series of long, shallow wedges along the length of the carrot. Hold the carrot with one hand upright, like the trunk of a tree, on the chopping board. Using your other hand, cut shallow wedges down the length of the carrot "trunk." Repeat five or six times around the carrot.
- Turn the carrot on its side and slice into flower "coins."
- Easy Carrot Flowers: Want to make it even easier? Then drag a citrus zester across the carrot surface instead of cutting wedges. It will produce delicate, frilly-edged carrot flowers.