|Image by Sunrise, used under Creative Commons licence|
Unusually, cooked carrots are better than raw ones for nutritional content: raw carrots are very tough to digest and only a tiny percentage of the beta carotene (Vitamin A in plant form) can be absorbed. Cooking breaks down the cellular structure and increases this percentage tenfold.
To store, cut off any green leaves and keep in a cool, dry place. Carrots usually last around five days in ideal conditions.
If you want to keep them longer, you can refrigerate them: wash them, dry them and put them into a vegetable bag.
To keep for a really long time, don't wash them at all (don't even wash off the mud - this won't work if they are shop-bought as these are usually pre-washed) and pack them in sand and wood shavings.
Of course, you can always freeze your carrots. Slice them and blanch them first, either by steaming or boiling lightly for a couple of minutes, put them into cold water, dry and store in freezer bags. Alternatively you can cook and puree them, and freeze the puree - the possibilities are almost endless.
Carrots can be boiled, steamed, stir-fryed, baked, grilled or roasted in batons, rounds, slices or chunks. No matter what method you choose, make sure you wash them thoroughly and peel if necessary, remove both ends and cut into evenly-sized pieces so that everything cooks at the same rate.
If you're eating your carrots raw, try grating them onto salads or cutting into batons and dipping into sauces.
Carrot cake (external link)
Roasted carrots as part of a Sunday roast
Carrot juice smoothie