Whether we are talking about wild or domestic carrots, chances are it is one of your favorite vegetables.
Carrots belong to the daucus carota species and are found all over the world, as they remain a star vegetable in many kitchens.
But what do you really know about this biennial vegetable?
I delved into their history and biology and found 10 interesting things that will make you want to eat even more carrots!
1. Carrots were first grown in Afghanistan
While carrots are a common vegetable worldwide, it is believed that the first cultivated carrot in history came from the area of Afghanistan around 900 AD. These tasty vegetables soon spread to the surrounding areas and, in the 1000’s, reached the Middle East and North Africa. From there he traveled to Spain, and in the 1300s appeared in northern European gardens and various Chinese dishes.
2. Crème de Lite, Long Orange and Scarlet Nantes are all types of carrots
Even though they are divided into two categories, domestic and wild, there are more types of carrots than you ever imagined. Long oranges, tiny and robust Early Short Horns or their cousins, thin Half-Long Horns, giant Jaune Obtuse du Doubs, fat Danvers, long and thin Imperators – these are just a few varieties! Then we have carrot stalks such as Crème de Lite, Sirkana, Top Cut, Red Core Chantenay, Scarlet Nantes and – in the spirit of the Game of Thrones – Little Finger, a small orange specimen developed in France.
3. Carrots are not a type of carrot
With so much discussion about the varieties of carrots, we had to approach the phenomenon of small carrots. It seems that they are either immature carrots, hence their small size, or larger and thinner pieces of carrots that are cut into pieces. The latest idea came from Mike Yurosek, a California farmer who got tired of throwing carrots in spots and started cutting and peeling vegetables to perfection. In 2010, carrot farmers gathered and started promoting carrots for children as an alternative snack.
4. You can leave them in the ground all winter
While so many vegetables need to be harvested before winter arrives, the powerful carrot can happily freeze in the ground. And if you do this, the carrot sugars become more concentrated and the result is a super tasty and sweet vegetable!
5. Carrots are made up of 88 percent water
While you are trying to control your hunger in a healthy way by eating carrots, most of what you get is water. Not that it would be a bad thing. In comparison, on average, we humans are made up of 60% water
6. Carrots come in many colors
Just forget the orange color. You can find carrots in natural shades of white, yellow and a deep shade of purple if you look for them. Strangely, the first documented carrots were actually purple or white. The orange vegetables we know today were developed after a genetic mutation caused the purple carrots, which have a yellow-orange core, to lose their color and become a solid orange. Given that carrots have about 20 species worldwide, it is not surprising that they come in different shades.
7. It is better for you to cook carrots than to eat raw carrots
Being the most popular and cultivated member of the apiaceae family, you must respect this vegetable. Cooking carrots releases hidden beta-carotene substances. In fact, eating raw carrots gives you only three percent of this substance, but when they boil, they release another 40 percent. So try these mashed sweet vegetables in soup, thinly sliced on a salad, sautéed in butter, baked, cooked until soft.
8. Carrots are the richest source of beta-carotene
You may be wondering why you should skip beta-carotene. Well, here’s the thing: this substance is the one that gives fruits and vegetables a yellow-orange pigment and turns into vitamin A in our systems. Although it will not make you see in the dark, beta-carotene helps with vision, as well as strengthens the immune system and helps with healthy skin.
9. Carrots have seeds
I bet you never thought of that, but it’s true. How else did you think they grew up? Collect the seeds from the small white flowers that grow from the ground. Funny enough, carrots do not produce a traditional seed, but instead are classified as schizocarp, a dried fruit composed of several carp that separate to release the seed inside. Researchers have found that wild carrot seeds dating back about 5,000 years have been discovered in Europe. Also, due to their aromatic qualities, the seeds were used as a spice or in herbal medicine.
10. Carrots have sugar in them
Ha, and you thought you were eating something healthy. Okay, yes, yes, but carrots contain four types of sugars – sucrose, glucose, xylose and fructose. Fortunately for you, despite sugar, carrots contain very little starch, so you can have your sweet vegetables without carbs. In addition, although they contain this part of saccharin, you also get a lot of good nutrients for you, including vitamins A, C, K and B6, manganese, calcium, lots of dietary fiber and potassium.