Carrots in Color

The vegetable with an iconic look

Many gardeners are familiar with carrots in a wider range of shapes (from spherical to multi-fingered), colors (from black to purple to white) and sizes (from bite-size to, in the case of one Asian type, a meter long). The wild carrot with its thin yellow taproot was probably first domesticated in Afghanistan or Iran, where modern carrots still feature beautifully in cuisines.

While most European carrots were white and yellow for centuries, in Asia they were more often red, black or purple. The orange carrot was just an occasional variant until it came to be bred more widely by the Dutch in the 17th century. By some accounts this was out of their patriotic love of the Dutch national color. Whatever the reasons, it was a healthy move: the orange represents a high content of carotenes, especially beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A by the human body.

Along with being eaten in innumerable ways cooked and raw, carrots are one of the most used vegetable flavorings (as in mirepoix, the carrot-onion-celery foundation of countless European soups and sauces) and colorants. So they can turn up just about anywhere in a meal, from the salad to the final piece of cake.

This campaign is made possible by the generous support of Corteva Agriscience.