Blame it on the Russians.
Australian carrot growers are reporting a glut of the popular orange vegetables, with one supplier describing it as the biggest carrot oversupply in 25 years.
Alice Gorman from Queensland carrot growers Kalfresh, in an interview with the ABC, placed the blame on optimal growing conditions resulting in a bumper crop and the ongoing Russian ban on European and Australian agricultural imports.
“What we think is happening is that Russia has banned European imports, so then those growers are trying to sell carrots into export markets we may serve,” she said.
In Western Australia, carrot exporter Joe Castro told ABC’s Country Hour he was also experiencing a glut after this year’s near-perfect growing conditions. He said there has also been less demand from his biggest market, the United Arab Emirates.
Fresh carrots – and turnips – are Australia’s largest vegetable export commodity. According to the latest figures from AusVeg, the two vegetables represent over 20% of all vegetable exports, going mostly to the Middle East and Asia.
In what could be seen as a counter-move to the Russians, Kalfresh announced in June they would be making carrot vodka to avoid wasting their carrots. They would also throw open their farm gates in October to invite the public to pick their own carrots in an event they’re calling carrot (astrophe) day (booking advised).
For others looking to use up all those carrots, we asked a selection of chefs for their best carrot recipes, including carrot cake, pickled carrots, carrot hot dogs and a restaurant-quality dish of spiced carrots with wattle crumb and yoghurt.
Raw vegan chef Ames Starr of Raw and Peace fame suggested her carrot cake:
2 cups grated carrot
2 cups almond meal
3 tbsp mixed spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup date paste*
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut flour
Place all ingredients except coconut flour into a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Add coconut flour and mix in with your hands. Line a springform cake tin with baking paper and press mix into tin. Dehydrate for 1-2 hours at 45 degrees. May also be lightly baked in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes. When cool, ice with lemon cashew cream.
* To make date paste, place dates in a bowl, top with water and soak for an hour. Blend and store in an airtight container in the freezer.
Chef Jonathan Symonds of Bondi’s Sadhana Kitchen came up with a recipe for pickling carrots:
1kg thinly sliced carrots
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp coconut sugar
1 clove garlic
2 sprigs thyme
Bring water, apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt to a simmer until sugar is dissolved. Pour over sliced carrots with thyme and crushed clove of garlic. Place into snug-fitting jar and allow to cool. Place in fridge and enjoy.
Smokey barbecued carrot hot dogs
Vegetarian butcher Suzy Spoon came up with a potential new summer barbecue favourite.
3 cups of vegetable broth
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Dijon mustard + extra mustard to serve
1 tbsp garlic minced
1 tbsp of liquid smoke
1 tbsp smokey paprika
½ tsp of white pepper
6 large carrots
2 tbsp oil
6 hot-dog buns
In a medium-sized saucepan combine vegetable broth, vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, garlic, liquid smoke, paprika and pepper. Mix together with a fork until combined, then place the saucepan on a medium-high heat. Peel the carrots and cut off their tops and bottoms so they resemble the shape and length of a hot dog.
Put the carrots into the saucepan, then turn up the heat and bring the liquid to the boil. Simmer carrots for 10 minutes or until soft. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside to cool. Leave the carrots in the liquid until you are ready to barbecue, then brush the carrots with oil. Barbecue carrots until lightly browned. Serve on hot-dog buns with fried onion, tomato sauce and mustard.
Spiced heirloom carrot with wattle crumb and yoghurt
Chef Brent Savage, founder of Sydney’s vegetarian bistro Yellow came up with something much more elaborate (if you feel like a challenge).
Spiced roasted carrots
18 yellow heirloom carrots
18 purple heirloom carrots
18 orange heirloom carrots
90g coffee (ground)
70g fenugreek seeds
450g roasted and ground Indian coriander seeds
420ml balsamic vinegar
5 bay leaves
420ml vegetable oil
Pre-heat the oven to 160C. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients to form a paste. Press the paste around the outside of the carrots and wrap the carrots in aluminium foil in groups of about 10 pieces. Bake in the oven for around 30 mins or until carrots are just cooked. Remove the carrots from the foil and discard the spice crust. Dress with a little olive oil and keep warm until ready to serve.
1L carrot juice
3 pieces shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
3 pieces cardamom
7 pieces allspice
4g black peppercorns
5g coriander seeds
¾ tsp harissa (optional)
20ml olive oil
Place carrot juice, shallots, garlic, bay leaf, ginger, cardamom, allspice, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, cloves and cumin into a pot. Bring to the boil, then turn heat down to simmer. Reduce the liquid by half. Strain the liquid through a sieve and discard the solids. Using a stick blender, combine the liquid with olive oil, xantana and harissa until smooth. Season with salt and allow to cool. Set aside until ready to serve.
200g macadamia nuts
50g malted barley flour
50g sunflower seeds
22g ground wattle seeds
22g whole wattle seeds
25g egg white
Using a food processor, blend macadamia and sunflower seeds together until fine. Then add ground/whole wattle and barley flour and continue to blend. Then add flour, salt and chilled butter and blend until dough has formed, then add egg white last to bind mixture together. Remove from the blender, wrap in clingfilm and rest in refrigerator for one hour. Remove from fridge and roll out thinly (2mm thick) between baking-paper sheets. Place on a baking tray and cook at 110C for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and crush into fine crumbs, ready to serve.
dehydrated black olives
Place the yoghurt in a cheesecloth and hang for 24hrs. Remove from the cheesecloth and season with salt and white pepper. Place the yoghurt in a piping bag with a nozzle with 1.4cm opening. Pipe the yoghurt in 2.5cm long pieces into the dehydrated olive and roll it to form gnocchi-like shapes. Set aside ready to serve.
Place two pieces of the yoghurt/black olive on the plate. Pipe three dots of wattle crumb on alternate positions of one side of the plate. Cut the cooked spiced carrot and place around the plate next to yoghurt. Place the herbs over the top of the cooked carrots. Pour the carrot soup into the bottom of the bowl.