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Uzbek carrots vary in size and appearance, depending on the growing environment, but generally maintain a thick, stout, and cylindrical to conical shape tapering to a blunt point on the non-stem end. The skin is semi-smooth, firm, and bright orange to yellow, and underneath the surface, the flesh is pale orange or yellow, crisp, and dense with a small to medium-sized, round central core. Uzbek carrots, when raw, have a crunchy, snap-like quality with a mildly sweet and earthy flavor. When cooked, the roots develop a soft and tender texture maintaining earthy, sweet notes.
Uzbek carrots are available in the late summer through winter.
Uzbek carrots, botanically classified as Caucus carota, are short, thick roots that belong to the Apiaceae family. There are many different varieties of carrots that are grown in Uzbekistan varying in size, appearance, and flavor, and many of these cultivars are often labeled generally as Uzbek carrots in local markets as a way to simplify the buying process. Uzbek carrots are also exported to neighboring countries such as Kazakhstan and are marketed purposely as Uzbek carrots in foreign markets, as Uzbekistan is known for producing quality and flavorful produce. There are both foreign and domestic varieties encompassed under the Uzbek carrot name, with some of the most popular varieties being Mirzoi or Mirza Yellow, Mirzoi or Mirza Red, Mshak, and Nantes. Uzbek carrots are valued by commercial growers and home gardeners for their compact size, durability, long storage life, and resistance to disease. The roots are favored as an everyday ingredient and are utilized in a wide variety of both raw and cooked applications.
Uzbek carrots are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants that can help improve vision, rebuild collagen, and boost the immune system. The roots are also a good source of fiber to assist with digestion and contain some vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, folate, and potassium.
Uzbek carrots are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as braising, sautéing, roasting, and glazing. The carrots can be consumed fresh, out-of-hand as a crunchy snack, used as an accompaniment to dips and sauces on appetizer plates, or grated and tossed with green salads. They can also be shredded and cooked into fritters, sautéed in rice dishes, minced into filling for dumplings, sliced and tossed into soups and stews, or roasted and served with cooked meats. In Kazakhstan, Uzbek carrots are often imported and are used to flavor the broth in the national dish beshbarmak, which is boiled meat served over pasta squares with a broth side dish. The carrots are also often shredded and lightly sautéed with spices, vinegar, salt, and sugar to make a spicy, tangy, and sweet side dish. In addition to cooked applications, Uzbek carrots are commonly canned or pickled for extended use and are sold commercially. Uzbek carrots pair well with onions, garlic, shallots, chives, beets, apples, herbs and spices such as coriander, black pepper, and paprika, vinegar, pecans, and meats such as beef, lamb, pork, and poultry. The fresh carrots will keep up to one month when loosely placed in a plastic bag with good air circulation and stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Uzbek carrots are traditionally used in Uzbekistan’s national rice dish known as pilaf or plov. There are many variations of pilaf in Uzbekistan using meats such as beef or lamb, various spices, and available regional ingredients, but carrots are one of the main ingredients used to improve flavor, increase volume, and add healthy nutritional properties. Pilaf is also made across Central Asia and is a favored dish to make for large gatherings in Kazakhstan. The rice dish is commonly prepared during new year and Christmas celebrations, and in addition to pilaf, many holiday meals in Kazakhstan consist of pastries, other sweets, dried fruits and nuts, roasted meats, and salads.
The many varieties that are found under the Uzbek carrot name were created through natural selection but had different origins and histories, with some cultivars being native to Uzbekistan while others were introduced from other regions in Asia. Today Uzbek carrots are cultivated in home gardens and through small farms, and new varieties are being created at the Uzbek Scientific Research Institute of Vegetable Crops, Melons, and Potatoes in Tashkent. Uzbek carrots are also highly exported into neighboring countries, including Russia, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. The carrots in the photo above were found at a local market in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
People have shared Uzbek Carrots using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
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Zhetygen village, Almaty province, Kazakhstan
Zhetygen weekend food market
Zhetygen village, Almaty province
About 115 days ago, 2/08/20
Sharer's comments : Sweet Uzbek carrots spotted at Zhetygen food fair
Zhibek Zholy 53, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Zhibek zholy 53
About 124 days ago, 1/30/20
Sharer's comments : Yellow Uzbek carrots are perfect for plov