Why Carrots Are Different Colors & Fun Facts
Most people know that the carrot is a root vegetable that is usually orange in most grocery stores. What some people might not know is that carrots can be other colors, as well. They can be white, yellow, red, magenta, and purple.
Another interesting fact about carrots is that although most people eat the root and throw away the stems and leaves, these discarded greens are also edible. At one time, carrots were grown for their leaves and seeds rather than for their roots. Thousands of years later, people began to eat the root and discard the leaves.
Not All Carrots Are Equal
Not all carrots are equal. Each outside color has its own description. It is important to know that the color on the outside doesn't always match the color on the inside.
Orange carrots are orange on the outside and inside because they contain a high amount of beta-carotene. Purple carrots are different colors inside because of the amount of their anthocyanins content. Their insides could be either orange, red, or white.
Carrots are different colors because of their pigment. The orange color is due to carotenes and yellow due to anthocyanins.
The color also depends on how the vegetable is grown. The color is based on the time of year the seed is planted, weather conditions, the condition of the soil, and the amount of sun and water the seed receives. Farmers know how to plant and cultivate the carrots they want by abiding by those conditions.
Taste of the Different Colors of Carrots
A lot of people want to know if all the colors of carrots taste the same. No, the colors do not taste the same. The taste is different even though it might be a slight and subtle change among the colors. The small difference is noticed most when eaten raw rather than when they are cooked.
Nutrients of Carrots
The part that people eat is the root that contains many different nutrients. They also contain beta-carotene that has to come from a person's diet because the body cannot produce it.
Carrots contain a large amount of vitamin K, vitamin B6, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and fat. Free sugars in carrots include sucrose, glucose, and fructose.
Carrots are eaten in a variety of ways. They are eaten raw as a snack and in salads. It is common for them to be chopped, boiled, fried, stir-fried or steamed, and cooked in soups and stews.
Carrots are added to pot roasts and other main dishes for flavor and presentation. They can be cut into thin strips and added to mixed vegetables and to rice. Small carrots in kids and adults' lunch boxes are often a great treat. The vegetable is so versatile that it can be pureed and fed to babies and given to pets.
Miniature carrots aren't grown that way. They are actually larger carrots that have been shaved down to be appealing to customers so the grocery stores can increase the price. Carrot juice comes from the shavings and is also sold.
Baby carrots are very sweet and tender because what you buy is actually the core and not the full-size carrot.
Tidbits About Carrots
- It is a myth that eating carrots improves vision.
- It takes about four months for the vegetable to go from seeds to mature carrots. It could take a shorter or longer period of time to grow depending on the right conditions.
- Carrots can be stored in the refrigerator and will last for several months.
- Some people are allergic to carrots.
- Carrots are delicious as a snack when dipped in Ranch dressing.
- 90 percent of carrots comes from Kern County, California. In fact, California is known as the "Carrot Capital of the World."
- Texas, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are also large producers or carrots.
- Over 875,000 tons of carrots are produced and sold in the United States each year.
- Commercial crops of carrots bring in more than $70,500,000 each year.
- Carrots rank ninth out of 28 vegetable crops in the United States.