Carrot facts! Yes, this list is about those brightly colored veggies that some of us just love to eat while some others are staunch haters. But before you join into the second group, read these facts. May be you will just start loving them. More importantly, it hardly matters whether you love it or hate it, this list of facts about carrots will help you with your school homework. So, buckle up…
Carrot Facts: 1-5 | Fruit or Vegetable, Color, Origin
1. Is carrot a fruit or a vegetable? It is a vegetable. It is actually a root vegetable. It cannot be a fruit because it doesn’t carry seeds. However, European Union Jam Directive classifies carrot as a fruit. That doesn’t change anything though. It is still a vegetable.
2. If you think carrots are only orange in color, you are grossly mistaken. There are other colors of carrots as well including yellow, white, red and purple.
3. Wild carrot called the Daucus carota is the one from which carrots were domesticated. Daucus carota is native to southwestern Asia and Europe.
4. Molecular genetic studies and written history – both trace back the origin of the domestic carrot to a single source in Central Asia. It is believed that modern day carrot’s wild ancestors first originated somewhere in Persia. Those regions currently fall under Afghanistan and Iran.
5. It is also believed that over many centuries a subspecies (that occurred naturally) of the wild carrot was selectively bred for minimization of its woody core, ramping up its sweetness and reducing its bitterness.
Carrot Facts: 6-10 | History of carrots
6. Historical evidences show that the first cultivation of carrot was not for the roots but for their aromatic seeds and leaves. As a matter of fact, carrot seeds as old as 2000 to 3000 BCE have been recovered from Southern Germany and Switzerland.
7. Cumin, dill, anise, fennel, coriander, cilantro and parsley, which are carrot’s close relatives, are still being cultivated for their seeds.
8. The first written mention of carrot comes from 1st century CE when the Romans actually ate the vegetable. However, back in those days, carrot went by the name pastinaca among the Romans. However, there is a slight problem. The pastinaca could have mean either parsnip or the carrot.
9. Eastern Roman Juliana Anicia Codex [which was basically 1st century CE’s medicines and herbs’ pharmacopoeia known as De Materia Medica, written by Dioscorides – a Greek physician] – a Constantinopolitan copy of 6th century CE has the description and depiction of the plant. That copy contains 3 different types of carrots mentioned. It is also mentioned there that the root can be eaten by cooking it.
10. In 8th century, Moors introduced the plant in Spain. Moors were Muslims of Middle Ages who were inhabitants of Malta, Sicily, Iberian Peninsula and Maghreb.
Carrot Facts: 11-15 | History of carrots
11. The carrots that grew in India, Europe and West Asia during the 10th century were actually purple in color. In Afghanistan, the modern carrot came to existence somewhere during 10th century CE.
12. Yellow and red carrots were both described by Simeon Seth – a Jewish scholar from 11th century.
13. Yellow and red carrots were also described by Ibn al-’Awwam – an Arab-Andalusian agriculturist from the 12th century CE.
14. Cultivated carrot first appeared in China and Japan in 14th century and 18th century respectively.
15. Colonial America first saw carrots in 17th century when European settlers introduced the vegetable there. In 2002, British stores started selling carrots that were orange on the inside but purple on the outside.
Carrot Facts: 16-20 | Nutrition and Night Vision
16. β-carotene present in the carrot gives it its bright orange color as we know today. Human body metabolizes β-carotene in Vitamin A. Lesser amounts of zeaxanthin, lutein, γ-carotene and α-carotene are also present in the carrot.
17. Carrots are also rich in Vitamin B6, providing 11% of daily requirement in every 100 gm carrot serving. The same quantity also provides 13% of daily requirement of Vitamin K. As far as Vitamin A is concerned, 100gm of carrots is enough to provide 100% of the required daily value.
18. As far as composition of carrot is concerned, it has 0.2% fat, 1% ash, 2.8% dietary fiber, 0.9% protein, 4.7% sugar and 88% water. The dietary fiber present in carrot is primarily cellulose but small proportions of starch, lignin and hemicellulose are also present.
The complete nutrition chart is given below. The nutrition values are measured for each 100 g serving:
173 kJ or 41 kcal
———- Dietary Fiber
———- Vitamin A equivalent
835 μg (104% of daily requirement)
8285 μg (77% of daily requirement)
—————— lutein zeaxanthin
———- Thiamine or Vitamin B1
0.066 mg (6% of daily requirement)
———- Riboflavin or Vitamin B2
0.058 mg (5% of daily requirement)
———- Niacin or Vitamin B3
0.983 mg (7% of daily requirement)
———- Pantothenic Acid or Vitamin B5
0.273 mg (5% of daily requirement)
———- Vitamin B6
0.138 mg (11% of daily requirement)
———- Folate or Vitamin B9
19 μg (5% of daily requirement)
———- Vitamin C
5.9 mg (7% of daily requirement)
———- Vitamin E
0.66 mg (4% of daily requirement)
———- Vitamin K
13.2 μg (13% of daily requirement)
33 mg (3% of daily requirement)
0.3 mg (2% of daily requirement)
12 mg (3% of daily requirement)
0.143 mg (7% of daily requirement)
35 mg (5% of daily requirement)
320 mg (7% of daily requirement)
69 mg (5% of daily requirement)
0.24 mg (3% of daily requirement)
19. During World War II, the Royal Air Force wanted to disguise the advances it made in radar technology and also wanted to hide that their planes had red lights on their instrument panels. These together helped Royal Air Force to get high success during nights. To hide the truth, they started a propaganda that eating carrots helped their pilots have better night vision and hence, better success. Truth is that [highlight]unless you have deficiency of Vitamin A, carrots’ provitamin A beta-carotene will not help you to see better in the dark[/highlight].
20. This propaganda and myth worked so much that in 1942, Britain had a surplus of 100,000 tons of carrots. Yes, they over produced!
Image Credit: By Stephen Ausmus – This image was released by the Agricultural Research Service, the research agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, with the ID K11611-1 (next).This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information. , Public Domain, Link