THE LOCAL NEWS OF THE MADISON VALLEY, RUBY VALLEY AND SURROUNDING AREAS

Some of the first-grade students learning about preparing and cooking local carrots used a spiralizer for the first time on Monday, December 10. It took a little bit of elbow grease, so help from some high school students was appreciated. (R. Colyer)

Spiralizing Frosty’s Nose

Ennis Elementary students continue learning about eating local

ENNIS—The Ennis Schools Harvest of the Month program continued in December with another local crop, one that will also make an appearance on the faces of some snowmen this winter: carrots.

One of the most popular vegetables eaten in the United States—the average person eats around 17 pounds of them per year—carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene and vitamin C. The former, which was first discovered in carrots and thus partially named for them, is a member of the vitamin A family, is most commonly known for its contribution to healthy eyesight. However, it is also essential for healthy skin, as well as having antioxidant properties that make it beneficial to immune systems.

Vitamin C has many of the same properties, as well as such strong benefits to the immune system that some say it can mitigate the symptoms of the common cold. It’s been attributed to everything from reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke to better eye health and even greater life expectancy. A cup of carrots carries around 13 percent of the recommended daily value of the scurvy-fighting vitamin.

Students in Stephanie Myers’ first grade class got to learn about growing and preparing carrots with Ennis Food and Culinary Science (FCS) teacher Jamie Diehl, who also helps coordinate the Ennis GROWW program (which focuses on Gardens, Resources, the Outdoors, Wildlife and Watersheds) and oversees the activities of the school garden. Diehl got Ennis Schools involved in the Harvest of the Month program, an offering of Montana State University Food and Health Lab. 

Each month, the students get to learn where a new crop comes from—always one that can be grown in their very own school garden. In the case of carrots, seeds are planted about a month before the first frost and can even last in the ground through the winter, making them a good option to grow in a cold place like Montana. 

After exploring the growing process and the nutritional characteristics of the month’s crop, students get their hands dirty in the kitchen. The Harvest of the Month program provides educational information, book recommendations, history and recipes to make lessons both interactive and productive.

So, at lunchtime on Monday, December 10, Diehl and Myers led the first graders in preparing “Frosty’s Nose Noodles,” with the help of some high school students who helped with equipment like sharp peelers and a new gadget some of the younger students hadn’t seen before, a spiralizer.

Clamping the carrots into a brace, they turned a hand crank (with a little help from the big kids) and watched as carrot-noodles spilled out the other end. Roasted with olive oil and garlic and topped with some parmesan cheese, they became such a hit they might replace real noodles. 

Well, maybe not. But thanks to Harvest of the Month, local snowman-builders may have to find an alternative vegetable to create the noses for their wintry friends.

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