One of the more intriguing news stories to catch my eye recently was a report on research that boiling carrots whole locks in more nutrients - especially falcarinol, an anti-cancer compound.
The study was led by Dr Kirsten Brandt of Newcastle University in the UK, and was presented at NutrEvent in France.
Dr Brandt, and colleagues from the University of Denmark, discovered the anti-cancer benefits of carrots four years ago (you can find details in Carrots may help ward off cancer).
Since then they have been looking into how to boost the carrot's cancer-fighting powers. Their studies revealed that:
Heating carrots kills the cells, meaning they retain more water. This increases the concentration of falcarinol.
However, the heating also softens the cell walls, meaning that sugar, vitamin C and falcarinol leak out of the carrot.
Apparently, the solution is to boil your carrots whole (which increases the amount of falcarinol by 25%), rather than chopping them before cooking:
If the carrot is cut before being boiled, the surface area becomes much greater - and so the loss of nutrients is increased.
If your mouth isn't quite as big as your pan, don't worry, you can chop your carrots once cooked without any nutrient loss.
Another bonus is that carrots boiled whole apparently taste better - they're sweeter as more sugar is retained.
So will you be investing in a bigger pan? Or, like me, do you think that the 25% increase in falcarinol could be achieved more easily by simply eating 25% more carrots?