The modern day orange carrot wasn’t cultivated until Dutch growers in the late 16th century took mutant strains of the purple carrot and gradually developed them into the sweet, plump, orange variety we have today. .
Are carrots orange for political reasons?
A thousand years of yellow, white and purple carrot history was wiped out in a generation.Although some scholars doubt if orange carrots even existed prior to the 16th century, they now form the basis of most commercial cultivators around the world.The World Carrot Museum--an unsigned, virtual repository of information that Next Nature cites in its original post--calls the link to the House of Orange an “apocryphal” tale dreamed up by historians, though it fails to provide any specific citations for its own conclusion.According to historian Simon Schama, in the late 18th century, the Dutch Patriot movement that revolted against the House of Orange saw the vegetable as an offensive tribute to the monarchy.I’ve emailed a horticulture historian at Purdue University for clarification, and I’ll let you know when I hear back. .
All about the Purple Carrot
The main colours of carrots now have their own pages - purple - black - white - yellow - red.In contrast, Western carrot type is characterized initially by yellow and later by orange root colour.One study found that, compared to orange carrots, purple carrots contain twice the amount of alpha and beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, this is in conflict with most other, more recent studies which show purple varieties tend to to have the same or less beta carotene, than orange varieties.Read this informative article in the Wisconsin Magazine for Life Sciences on how to make a purple carrot here.Purple carrots (usually orange or white inside) have a high beta carotene content like their orange cousins, and get their pigment from anthocyanins, these pigments act as powerful antioxidants that protect key cell components, grabbing and holding on to harmful free radicals in the body.Anthocyanins also help prevent heart disease by slowing blood clotting and are good anti inflammatory agents.According to this history, it makes sense to envisage that colour should be considered as a structural factor in carrot germplasm.Red carrots derive their colour mainly from lycopene, a type of carotene believed to guard against heart disease and some cancers.Yellow carrots accumulate xanthophylls, pigments similar to beta-carotene that support good eye health.Carrots became widely cultivated in Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries and were first brought over to North America during this same general time period.Much later, in the 16th century some motivated Dutch growers developed orange rooted carrots and made them sweeter and more practical.According to plant scientist Dr Hazel MacTavish-West, research suggests eating a purple carrot a day has the potential t o protect against cardiovascular disease, inhibit cancer cells and reverse negative effects of a high-fat diet, among other benefits.Purple carrots are best eaten raw to get the maximum benefit but can still be steamed, boiled, roasted and juiced.A study reported in the British Journal of Nutrition stated - The present stud y demonstrates for the first time that treatment of the metabolic syndrome induced by diet in rats with purple carrot juice attenuates or reverses the changes in cardiovascular and liver structure and functions as well as in metabolic parameters, especially abdominal fat deposition and plasma lipid profiles.Furthermore, b-carotene alone produces limited and sometimes contradictory responses compared with purple carrot juice in this rat model of the metabolic syndrome.Comparison of purple carrot juice and b-carotene in a high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-fed rat model of the metabolic syndrome;British Journal of Nutrition (2010), 104, 13221332.Along with that, they also contain vitamin B, C and E as well as calcium pectate, which is a very good source of fibre, and they help to lower cholesterol levels.Studies into the health qualities of purple carrots have shown that they give us extra protection against various forms of cancer and heart disease.There are up to 28 times more anthocyanins - the antioxidant that creates the purple-red pigment in blueberries and raspberries - in purple carrots than there are in orange ones.Extract from Carotenoid Profiles and Consumer Sensory Evaluation of Speciality Carrots, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2004 J. Agric. Imsic M, Winkler S, Tomkins B et al.
Effect of storage and cooking on beta-carotene isomers in carrots ( Daucus carota L. cv. Lemmens L, Colle IJ, Van Buggenhout S et al. Quantifying the influence of thermal process parameters on in vitro B-carotene bioaccessibility: a case study on carrots.Twin brothers Toby and Oliver Bartlett have developed the worlds first bushy top purple carrots at their family farm in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire.The purple carrots, which retain an orange centre, have now gone on sale in Tesco stores across the country to coincide with the forthcoming British Food Fortnight in early October.We hope these extra health benefits will encourage people to try something new. The purple bushy top variety will be sold exclusively through Tesco for a year, but the twins have already received interest from trade customers.Its a machine that we developed a few years ago to harvest, wash, grade and pack all out bushy tops and purple carrots right in the field.They must be some of the freshest carrots you can buy. Last year, the business also spent £1m building one of the UKs largest solar panel installations, which will provide up to 25pc of its annual energy consumption.The carrots will only generate a small amount of sales growth this year, but hopefully itll create more interest in the category, says Toby, adding that colourful parsnips are likely to be next on their hit list.And ten years before, in 2002 - The carrot returned to go on sale in the summer of 2002 in England in its original colour - purple - the first time in five centuries.This first commercial crop was grown near Ely, Cambridgeshire, and dark purple carrots with orange insides were sold at Sainsbury's stores in July.They attempted to brighten up the nation's dinner plates served as a violet purée, with its classic partner, the green pea, or in a salad.Mark Spurdens, technical manager for Isleham Fresh Produce, said : "Yes they are different and have had a little extra care and attention in the way they have been raised.Russell Crowe, root buyer at Sainsbury's said :" We are very excited to have dug up old ground and sell the purple carrot exclusively.Hopefully this unusual colour will influence children to eat more vegetables while parents can rest assured that there is nothing artificial about the carrots.".Originally used as a clothing dye by Afghan royalty, the purple carrot is now regularly used as a reliable source of food colourings.The rats soon developed high blood pressure, became fatter and glucose-intolerant - or prediabetic - and suffered heart and liver damage.Purple carrots should be eaten coupled with a moderate diet and exercise, advised Prof Brown.Dr Pikes goal is to change attitudes, improve health and impact the world, one vegetable at a time.In 1989, three carrots grown from Brazilian seed were observed to have a blotchy maroon colour mixed with the normal range, which gave Dr Pike an idea.He produced a maroon and deep orange Beta Sweet carrot, which matched the school's colours.Pike may have conceived this variety on a fanciful whim, but he soon learned that the purple pigment contained anthocyanins, which act as tough antioxidants, boosting the carrot's nutritional properties.Within two generations of breeding effort, he obtained a few a carrot roots with near complete maroon exterior and orange interior.And its curious colour comes from anthocyanin, anot her antioxidant that preliminary studies show effectively fights disease-causing bacteria in humans.Thousands of carrot roots were analysed and selected for desired qualities and for the dark maroon exterior and orange interiors.the variety was released in 1998.BetaSweet' taste similar to other carrots but has a very crispy texture which is easier to chew, much like an apple or piece of celery.Of course, all of this beauty comes with a steep price tag: The Beta Sweet variety is about twice the cost of bulk carrots.The Forth vegetable growing and packing success story started by the Ertlers 11 years ago is now one of Australia's major carrot producers, supplying 10% of the domestic market.The three Ertler brothers - Mike, Jim and Rick - say they are about four weeks away from when they will "revolutionise supermarket shelves" with their new Deep Purple carrot.In the heart of the North- West's prime agricultural region, the Ertlers trialled a few different varieties of purple carrots over a number of years before getting to this point.History Wild Carrot Today Nutrition Cultivation Recipes Trivia Links Home Contact - SITE SEARCH.
Are carrots orange because of a Dutch revolutionary?
Yellow carrots in the Western group probably mutated into more orange hues, which farmers then selectively planted.There's a school of thought, Stolarczyk told Live Science, that orange carrot seeds were first introduced to Europe by Islamic traders moving between the Ottoman Empire’s North African territories and the Iberian Peninsula some 200 years before William of Orange began stirring up political insurrection in the Netherlands.There are documents in Spain that show the cultivation of orange and purple carrots as far back as the medieval period, in the 14th-century, Stolarczyk said.This know-how allowed them to propagate orange carrots in large quantities, which seemed to thrive in the Netherlands' mild, wet weather."The orange variety grew very well in [Dutch] climates and environments, better than purple and yellow, and were more yielding, stable, uniform and reliable," Stolarczyk said. .
History of Carrots
Early writings in classical Greek and Roman times refer to edible white roots, but these may have also been parsnips, or both.There are white rooted carrots in existence today, are often used as animal feed or a novelty crop, but nevertheless gaining popularity for public consumption.Wild carrot is indigenous to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia, with its center of diversity in present day Afghanistan (Vavilov and Dorofeev 1992).Based on most historical records, the first evidence of carrot being cultivated as a food crop was in the Iranian Plateau and Persia in the 10th century (Banga 1957a,b, 1963; Food in Antiquity, Brothwell and Brothwell 1969), and molecular evidence supports a Central Asian origin of domesticated carrot (Iorizzo et al. 2013).There are some documents in the County Hall of Cuevas Bajas (Andalusia) that purport to show the cultivation of an orange/purple variety from Medieval Times and there is a commercial letter talking about the exchange with the merchants of the Silk Route.Orange roots appeared in Spain and Germany in the 15th or 16th century (Stolarczyk and Janick 2011), and quickly became the predominant colour.Wild carrot appears in many temperate regions of the world, far beyond its Mediterranean and Asian centres of origin where this plant displays great diversity.Almost certainly those ancient cultures in these regions used wild and early forms of the domesticated carrot as a herb and a medicine before they were used as a root vegetable in the conventional sense of that term today.Carrot domestication transformed the wild carrot with its relatively small, thin, white, heavily divided (forked or sprangled - spread in different directions) strong flavoured taproot of a plant with annual biennial flowering habit into a large, orange (eventually), smooth, good flavoured storage root of a uniformly biennial or winter annual crop we know today.They always have thicker, shorter, narrow, conical root, and pubescent leaves giving them a gray-green colour, and bolt easily.A recent study based on the transcriptome data analysis also supports the hypothesis that the eastern-type cultivated carrot originated in Western Asia.Carrots originated in the Himalayas and Hindu Kush centre of the continent and moved in both directions on the Silk Road.As the Silk Road was not a single thoroughfare from east to west, the term 'Silk Routes has become increasingly favoured by historians, though 'Silk Road is the more common and recognized name.Traders carried purple carrots south to India and west to Baghdad, then to Spain, and then to the rest of Europe by 1000 AD.Banga (1957) first hypothesized that orange carrots were initially selected from yellow cultivars and this is now supported by modern genetic analyses (Simon et al 2016).The Dutch landraces Long Orange and the finer Horn types, first described in 1721, were an important basis for the western carrot cultivars grown at present all over the world.The word "carrot" was first recorded in English around 1530 and was borrowed from Middle French carotte, itself from Latin carōta, from Greek καρωτόν karōton.The redness feature is thought to have emerged in varieties developed in post classical times, after hybridisation with a central Asian species in the early Middle ages.The first European author who mentions red and yellow carrots is the Byzantine dietician Simeon Seth, in the 11th century.(references: Dioscorides MM 3,57, E 2.101;Galen AF 6.654, SF 11.862; Athenaeus D 371d-e citing Diphilus of Siphnos (karo); Simeon Seth p35 Langkavel).So the evolution of cultivars with enlarged roots can easily be explained, but what has puzzled historians is why it took so long for the modern cultivated, edible carrot to appear.The clue is that, although evidence of wild carrot seeds have been found in pre-historic cave dwellings and Greek and Roman records they were only used in medicinal applications and not for consumption of the root, as a food.Unravelling the progress of the peregrinating carrot through the ages is complex and inconclusive, but nevertheless a fascinating journey through time and the history of mankind.Wild Carrot is indigenous to Europe and parts of Asia and, from archaeological evidence, seeds have been found dating since Mesolithic times, approximately 10000 years ago.Carrots were originally recorded as being cultivated in present day Afghanistan about 1000 years ago, probably as a purple or yellow root like those pictured here.Purple and white carrots still grow wild in Afghanistan today where they are used by some tribesmen to produce a strong alcoholic beverage.It is considered that purple carrots were then taken westwards where it is now known, through modern genetic research, that yellow varieties were developed to produce orange.Then some motivated Dutch growers took these "new" orange carrots under their horticultural wings and developed them to be sweeter, consistent and more practical.N Vavilov (1926) identified Asia Minor (eastern Turkey) and the inner Asiatic regions as the centers of origin of cultivated carrot and noted Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) as being the basic center of Asiatic kinds of cultivated carrots where wild carrots practically invited themselves to be cultivated.On the basis of their general or outstanding characteristics these varieties or strains were classified in 9 major groups, as follows: I, French Forcing; II, Scarlet Horn ; III, Oxheart ; IV, Chantenay ; V, Danvers ; VI, Imperator; VII, James' Intermediate; VIII, Long Orange; and IX, Nantes (Synonymy of Orange-Fleshed Varieties of Carrots M F Babb 1950).atrorubens refers to carrots originating from the East, exhibiting yellow or purple storage roots and poorly indented, grey-green, pubescent foliage.sativus refers to carrots originating from the West and exhibiting orange, yellow or sometimes white roots, and highly indented, non-pubescent, yellow-green foliage (Small 1978).Fossil pollen from the Eocene period (55 to 34 million years ago) has been identified as belonging to the Apiaceae (the carrot family).Western and Arabic literatures along with the studies by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reveal that carrots were originated in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran.It is said that the cultivated and edible carrot dates back about 5,000 years ago when the purple root was found to be growing in the area now known as Afghanistan.Egyptian papyruses containing information about treatments with seeds were found in pharaoh crypts, but there is no direct carrot reference and no documentary evidence to corroborate this assumption.It likewise found a place as a medicinal plant in the g ardens of ancient Rome, where it was used as an aphrodisiac and in some cases as part of a concoction to prevent poisoning.Carrots are said to have been recognised as one of the plants in the garden of the Babylonian King Marduk-apla-iddina, the Biblical Merodach-Baladan ll, who reigned at Babylon in 721710 and 703 BC.The clay tablet with cuneiform inscription located in the British Museum shows 67 plants of which only 26 have been identified so far, but no carrots.Pedanius Dioscorides (c.
40-90ad) catalogued over 600 medicinal plant species during his first century travels as a roman army doctor and accurately describes the modern carrot.The Greek Herbal of Dioscorides: Illustrated by a Byzantine in A.D. 512, refers to Orange Carrot - Dioskorides Codex Vindobonensis Medicus Greacus - Staphylinos Keras - The cultivated carrot-pictured right.It cooperates also to conception, and it also being [diuretic], both provoketh [poison], and being applied; but the leaves being beaten small with honey, and laid on, doth cleanse rapidly spreading destructive ulceration of soft tissues.".The name Karota for the garden Carrot is found first in the writings of Athenaeus (3rd century CE), and in the book on cookery by Apicius Czclius.The so-called karaton (which is big and quickly growing carrots) is more tasty than the staphulinos and more heating, more diuretic, easily digested and wholesome".Since in many cases only the written word exists, if the Medieval writer called the plants "pastinaca", it is difficult to know if they were referring to carrots or parsnips.This may seem odd given that the average carrot is about six inches long and bright orange while a parsnip is off white and can grow 3 feet, but this distinction was much less obvious before early modern plant breeders got to work.The name Karota for the garden Carrot is found first in the Roman writings of Athenaeus in 200 A.D., and in a book on cookery by Apicius Czclius in 230 A.D.Scribes continued to reproduce and embellish previous manuscripts, rather than observing and representing the existing contemporary native plants.The word is first recorded in English circa 1530 and was borrowed from Middle French carotte, itself from Latin carōta, from Greek καρωτόν or karōtón, originally from the Indo-European root *ker- (horn), due to its horn-like shape.In Old English, carrots (typically white at the time) were not clearly distinguished from parsnips: the two were collectively called moru or more (from Proto-Indo-European *mork- "edible root", cf.Western or carotene carrot - identified by its yellow, orange, white or red unbranched root and yellowish green leaves more clearly dissected and slightly hairy.It is thought that Western carrots may have originated later in Asia Minor, around Turkey and could have formed from a mutant which removed the anthocyanin (purple colour) .It is now proved through modern genetic study that humans made selections from a gene pool involving yellow rooted eastern carrots.After the fall of Rome, gardens and vegetables are rarely mentioned again until 795 ad, when King Charlemagne included carrots in the list of plants recommended for cultivation in the Frankish empire covering western and central Europe.When Linnaeus created scientific names, he called carrots Daucus carota and parsnips Pastinaca sativa, so the two are clearly different.The plants were not confused on purpose, but since we have in many cases, only the written word, if the Medieval writer referred to "pastinaca", it is impossible to know if they were carrots or parsnips.Many 16th century herbalists made reference to the cultivation and use of carrot roots and seeds, including its efficacy against the bites of venomous beasts and a whole manner of stomach ailments.North America, particularly the parts that would become the Thirteen Colonies, got its carrots somewhat later, with the arrival of the first English settlers in Virginia in 1607.According to Simon Schama, the UK art historian, "the conspicuous display of orange carrots at market was at one time deemed to be a provocative gesture of support for an exiled descendent of William, by the movement that drove out the monarch during the 18th century.The modern orange carrot was developed and stabilised by Dutch growers in the 16th century, evidenced from variety names and contemporary art works.Some astute historian managed to install the myth that the arboriculturist's work on an unexpected mutation was developed especially to give thanks to King William I as a tribute to him leading the Dutch revolt against the Spanish to gain independence from Spain.In 1753 Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, published the "Species Plantarum," and established the foundations of the modern scheme for the naming of living organisms, called binomial nomenclature, that became universally accepted in the scientific world, including Daucus Carota.The current yellow/orange varieties (containing carotene) through gradual selection in Europe, now form the basis of the commercial cultivars around the world, mainly through their superior taste, versatility, nutritional value and cultural acceptance.There is a more detailed analysis of the available evidence surrounding its origins, cultivation and domestication, and journey across Europe, also exploring the emergence of the ubiquitous orange carrot, here.Follow its steps through the dark ages and then enlightenment with 17th century herbalists who recommended carrots and their seeds for a wide variety of ailments.Finally after many years as a low class vegetable, mainly used for animal fodder, it came of age during the food scarcity of the two World Wars when people were forced to be more inventive with fewer resources.The Library of Rural and Agricultural Literature - great historical resource (you need to register to view documents).History Wild Carrot Today Nutrition Cultivation Recipes Trivia Links Home Contact - SITE SEARCH. .
How did carrots become orange?
The chemical compounds that give carrots their vivid colour, carotenoids, are usually used by plants that grow above ground to assist in the process of photosynthesis.Scientists believe early farmers grew colourful carrots unintentionally, and then continued the practice more purposefully in order to differentiate them from wild ones.According to Simon Schama, a historian, the conspicuous display of orange carrots at market was at one time deemed to be a provocative gesture of support for an exiled descendent of William, by the movement that drove out the monarch during the 18th century.(The story was intended to keep the Royal Air Force’s development of radar technology hidden from the Germans, who were made to believe that carrot consumption was behind the accuracy of British pilots.). .
Carrots Used to Be Purple Before the 17th Century
If you liked this article, you might also enjoy our new popular podcast, The BrainFood Show (iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Feed), as well as:.In ancient times, the root part of the carrot plant that we eat today was not typically used.For instance, Mithridates VI, King of Pontius (around 100BC) had a recipe for counteracting certain poisons with the principle ingredient being carrot seeds.British gunners in WWII were able to locate and shoot down German planes at night due to radar.To cover up significant advancements the Allies made in radar technology at the time, and the extreme effectiveness of radar that resulted, the British spread about an urban legend that said that they massively increased the night vision of their pilots by having them consume large amounts of carrots.The Vegetable Improvement Center at Texas A&M recently developed a purple-skinned, orange fleshed carrot called the Beta Sweet. .
Are Purple Carrots Healthier? Nutrition, Benefits, and Uses
Another large study in more than 34,000 women associated eating 0.2 mg of anthocyanins per day with a significantly reduced risk of heart disease ( 7 ).A review of seven studies demonstrated that certain mental outcomes — including verbal learning and memory — improved in children, adults, and older people after eating anthocyanin-rich foods ( 8 ).Polyphenols have been shown to promote health and reduce your risk of heart disease, mental decline, and certain types of cancer ( 12 ).Summary Purple carrots are particularly rich in anthocyanins, which are antioxidants shown to protect against heart disease, mental decline, and diabetes.May Have Anticancer Effects Studies show that the potent antioxidants found in purple carrots possess cancer-fighting properties.Similarly, test-tube studies observe that anthocyanins may inhibit the growth and spread of breast, liver, skin, blood, and colon cancer cells ( 14 ).A review of ten studies in 141,187 women associated a high intake of all types of carrots with a 21% decreased risk of breast cancer ( 17 ).What’s more, a large study in more than 124,000 people associated an increased intake of anthocyanin-rich foods, such as purple carrots, with greater weight loss in both men and women ( 22 ).The anthocyanins found in purple carrots may help lower cholesterol and reduce high blood sugar — two symptoms of metabolic syndrome ( 24 ).Test-tube and animal studies show that purple carrots may benefit certain inflammatory bowel conditions, such as ulcerative colitis.One study demonstrated that mice with colitis fed purple carrot powder had reduced blood levels of pro-inflammatory proteins, such as tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6, compared to other treatments ( 27 ).A test-tube study examining the effects of purple carrot extract on reducing intestinal cell inflammation had similar results ( 28 ).The researchers in these studies concluded that the anti-inflammatory properties of purple carrots were likely due to their powerful anthocyanin antioxidant content.Summary Animal and test-tube studies show that purple carrots may be effective at reducing symptoms of metabolic disease and improving inflammation related to IBD.Easy to Add to Your Diet Purple carrots are not only nutritious but also versatile and tasty vegetables that can be used in a variety of dishes. .
Carrots Used to Be Purple
Topping its list of "10 Fascinating Food Facts," Today I Found Out writes, "The modern day orange carrot wasn't cultivated until Dutch growers in the late 16th century took mutant strains of the purple carrot...and gradually developed them into the sweet, plump, orange variety we have today. .
Purple carrot cake
Most supermarkets still only sell the orange ones, but whenever I see the different colours, I tend to buy them.Because I like trying new things, think it’s good if we don’t eat only one variety of crops and it makes your food look special!Centuries ago carrots were already grown in the Middle East, however, they tended to be purple and yellow, not orange.Only a few centuries ago farmers started growing orange carrots instead of the fancier coloured ones.Colours in food (mostly fruits & vegetables) are widespread and fascinating to study.Xantophylls are the molecules that give the yellow carrots their colour.Also, just in case you’re wondering whether you should avoid the yellow ones since they contain less β-carotene and thus miht be less good for your eyes.The colour is simply overpowered by the strong purple hue from the anthocyanins.The cure is easy, just eat no more carrots and the orange hue will disappear again.To me, orange and purple and yellow carrots taste quite similar.Using purple carrots in dishes will surely throw off your normal colour.It might look a little weird, but it does make dishes more exciting, I’ve had guests asking what those purple carrots are.It looked a little weird for different, but it tasted great, just like a good carrot cake would.Purple carrot cake - Baking with purple carrots Yield: 1 cake Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes Carrot cake made with purple carrots instead of your regular orange ones for a slightly sweeter, fun cake.Add the dry ingredients to the butter, sugar and egg mixture and fold through.If the apples or carrots are quite large it might take a little longer due to the higher moisture content.The carrot purple and other curious stories of the foods we eat (p65-69). .