Cost-conscious Washington shoppers who insist on fresh as opposed to frozen or canned vegetables are well acquainted with the carrot. Many however are not aware that in addition to its well-known virtues of availability and reasonable price, this vegetable is extremely versatile, lending itself to innumerable preparations. Entirely different final results may be had by merely varying the size and shape in which paperthin disks or thin sticks are popular variations from the common cut.

Although each of the recipes presented below indicates the cut with which it is most frequently mated I find that, with the exception of the puree, any of the other cuts is well suited, too.

GRATED CARROTS 1 pound carrots 3 tablespoons butter or margarine Salt and pepper to taste 1 teaspoon dried oregano or tarragon

Peel the carrots. Grate on the coarse side of a vegetable grater or, better, use the fine julienne blade of an electric machine. Place in a saucepan and cover with boiling salted water. Cook 1 minute, drain and cool with cold running water. This may be done well in advance. Before serving heat the butter in a skillet. When bubbly, stir in the finely grated carrots and stir until just hot. Be careful not to overcook for they are best when they are still a bit crunchy. Stir in the oregano or tarragon. Serve immediately.

COINTREAU CARROTS 1 1/2 pounds carrots 3 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons water 1/2 teaspoon salt Coarsely ground black pepper 2 tablespoons Cointreau

Peel the carrots and slice crosswise into very thin disks, almost paper thin. This takes but a minute with an electric slicing machine but can be done without too much trouble by hand with a very sharp knife. Put the carrots in a heavy saucepan, add the butter, water and salt. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed. This takes about 2 to 3 minutes. Grind on the black pepper. Stir in the Cointreau and serve.

GLAZED CARROTS 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise in sticks about 1/4 inch thick 1 1/2 cups beef bouillon, canned or made with bouillon cubes 2 tablespoons sugar Freshly ground black pepper 1/3 cup butter or margarine Minced parsley to garnish

Peel the carrots. Put them in a heavy saucepan or deep skillet. Pour on the bouillon, add the sugar, butter and pepper, cover and simmer slowly for about 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Uncover and allow the liquid to further reduce until it is a sticky syrup. Reheat just before serving, rolling the carrots around in the pan to become well coated with the syrup. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with minced parsley.