Brus­sels sprouts and cau­li­flower have enjoyed the recent lime­light with chefs and home cooks.

The hum­ble car­rot is wor­thy of some kitchen love and atten­tion.

Car­rots are at their sweet­est in spring, when their bright col­ors and del­i­cate fla­vors shine.

They are ten­der enough to enjoy raw in sal­ads and yet hearty enough for roast­ing, pick­ling, mash­ing and purees. Soups and stews are made bet­ter when car­rots take the stage.

Juic­ing car­rots, alone or with other fruits and veg­eta­bles, is a game chang­ing spring rit­ual for those look­ing for a sea­sonal cleanse or detox. Their inher­ent, earthy sweet­ness bal­ances other flavors.

The vibrant color choices of car­rots makes them the ideal com­po­nent for excit­ing meals and snacks. Explicit col­ors come from heir­loom vari­eties and grow­ing con­di­tions.

A veg­etable cul­ti­vated world­wide for the con­sump­tion of its root, that root color has been selected over time and accord­ing to geo­graph­i­cal areas. The com­mon orange car­rot, now so famil­iar, was once a nov­elty. Pur­ple ruled as supreme car­rot.

The color in red car­rots comes nat­u­rally from the antiox­i­dant lycopene, pro­mot­ing healthy eyes and a healthy prostate.

Orange and tan­ger­ine car­rots get their color nat­u­rally from beta-​carotene, an antiox­i­dant and vit­a­min A pre­cur­sor.

White and yel­low car­rots get their color nat­u­rally from lutein, which stud­ies sug­gest may also pro­mote good eye health.

The pop­u­lar pur­ple car­rot color comes from the same potent phy­tonu­tri­ents that make blue­ber­ries blue, called antho­cyanins. These flavonoids help increase the antiox­i­dant capac­ity of the blood and main­tain brain func­tion.

The sub­tly and range of fla­vors, in addi­tion to color choices, makes car­rots recep­tive to find­ing new dance part­ners. Paired with other root veg­gies, added to grains, tossed with legumes and greens, car­rots bring spring to the plate.

If car­rots are small and ten­der, sim­ply scrub them under cold water with a soft veg­etable brush (no need to peel them). For large car­rots, use a veg­etable peeler or par­ing knife to peel, trim­ming stems and tough ends.

With a new sea­son of explod­ing col­ors, car­rots are not to be over­looked. They offer superb ver­sa­til­ity, tex­ture and nourishment.