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It’s the season of root vegetables, but the weather doesn’t always comport with a 400-degree oven. Carrots offer a compromise; They’re delightful cooked, but also work well in raw salads. We talked with Big Bear Café chef John Cochran about having the vegetable both ways.

How to Buy: Look for firm, crisp roots. Don’t worry about dirt (but wash thoroughly before cooking). Color variety is nice, but it won’t necessarily offer better flavor than your average orange. Twin Springs Fruit Farm at the Dupont, Takoma, Bethesda, and Arlington farmers markets has carrots until December, currently for $2.99 a pound.

How to Store: Carrots will keep well in the refrigerator for several weeks if wrapped loosely in paper towels.

How to Cook: To make Big Bear’s raw carrot salad, chop the roots into matchsticks and lightly salt. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Dress with a rice or sherry vinegar, in addition to any juices sweated out by the carrots, and serve. Cochran also suggests adding cucumbers or corn to your refrigerated mix. He serves the salad atop a veggie burger and with roasted chicken. If you prefer a cooked version of the veggie, Cochran coats his chopped carrots with salt, pepper, and grapeseed oil (though any vegetable oil will do), then roasts them in a 400-degree oven until tender.

Photo by Phoebe Connelly