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. Maybe 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
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 traces 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
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
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
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.
|Energy||173 kJ or 41 kcal|
|Total Carbohydrates||9.6 g|
|———- Sugar||4.7 g|
|———- Dietary Fiber||2.8 g|
|Total Fat||0.24 g|
|Total Protein||0.93 g|
|———- Vitamin A equivalent||835 μg (104% of daily requirement)|
|—————— β-carotene||8285 μg (77% of daily requirement)|
|—————— lutein zeaxanthin||256 μg|
|———- 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)|
|———- Calcium||33 mg (3% of daily requirement)|
|———- Iron||0.3 mg (2% of daily requirement)|
|———- Magnesium||12 mg (3% of daily requirement)|
|———- Manganese||0.143 mg (7% of daily requirement)|
|———- Phosphorus||35 mg (5% of daily requirement)|
|———- Potassium||320 mg (7% of daily requirement)|
|———- Sodium||69 mg (5% of daily requirement)|
|———- Zinc||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 unless you have deficiency of Vitamin A, carrots’ provitamin A beta-carotene will not help you to see better in the dark.
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!
Carrot Facts: 21-25
21. Dutch people were the ones who first cultivated the orange carrot that we know today. They did that in honor of Dutch Royal Family called the House of Orange.
22. Of all vegetable crops in India that are considered to be economically important, carrot is listed among the top 10.
23. There is a physical condition called carotenemia. It is a condition where the soles and palms turn yellowish orange. This happens when someone eats large quantities of carrots.
24. Of all known vegetables except for beet, carrots are known to have highest naturally occurring sugar content. So, beet takes number 1 position while carrots take the second position in terms of sweet vegetables. No wonder carrots make a wonderful snack even when eaten raw.
25. Did you know that carrots are far more nutritious when they are cooked and eaten rather than being eaten raw? This is exactly opposite of every known vegetable in world.
The reason for this is the cell walls of carrots are very tough and it is very difficult to digest the cell walls. When cooked, these cell walls break and release the nutrients, making cooked carrot far more nutritious.
Carrot Facts: 26-30
26. Talking of dogs, carrots are perfectly safe for them. Yes, you can feed carrots to your dogs. Don’t feed chocolate though. Chocolates can kill your dog.
27. Baby carrots that are usually considered as a common and delicious snack are actually rejected carrots.
These Baby carrots are nothing but normal carrots (of normal size) that did not have uniform growth and were full of markings and deep groves.
The manufacturers take these ugly looking carrots, and shape and trim them to give them a pleasant appearance, and then sell them as baby carrots.
28. There are some people who simply cannot eat carrots not because they don’t like it, but because they are highly allergic to carrots.
In 2010 a study was conducted across Europe where it turned out that 3.6% Europeans have carrot allergies.
The number may actually be more because the study was limited with the sample number. No one knows why people are allergic to carrots.
29. It is a common notion that carrot leaves (the green leaves that are above the ground) are not edible. Well, that’s wrong! They are completely edible.
However, there may be some toxins and hence, it is advised that the leaves should be plucked when they are still young and cooked or fried thoroughly before eating to destroy all toxins.
30. Carrot seeds are so small that 2,000 seeds can accommodate in a simple teaspoon.
Carrot Facts: 31-35
31. One pound of carrot seeds will contain about 250,000 individual seeds.
32. Since carrot seeds are so tiny, they cannot be planted by putting them directly into soil. Wind will simply blow them away.
33. Just take a bunch of carrot seeds and wad them up in a clay ball and plant. Or, you can mix them with sand, or put them in paper strips and then plant them.
34. Want an easier way? Just plant them in soil and keep the soil properly moisturized to prevent evaporation and drying up. Alternatively, place planks or cardboards over the area and check every few days for signs of germination. When they germinate, simply remove the planks.
35. The longest carrot in this world was 5.839 meters long! That was a monster – really a monster.
Carrot Facts: 36-40
36. 8.61 kilograms – that’s the weight of the heaviest carrot every produced in world. It was back in 1998.
37. In case you though carrot leaves were useless, think again. Carrot leaves once ruled the 17th century England as fashion statement. Yes, people used to carry carrot leaves on their hair!
38. One person usually consumes 10,866 carrots on an average in a single year!
39. If you are traveling to places where food is scanty, make sure you carry carrots with you. A single carrot can give you enough energy to walk 1 mile.
40. Ninjin is the Japanese term for carrots. ‘Honey Underground’ is what the Celts used to call them. Ancient Greeks used to call them Karoto and Philtron.
Carrot Facts: 41-45
41. One of the foremost health benefits of carrots is that it helps to prevent cancer. Carrots are rich is what is known as carotenoids.
Carotenoids are known for preventing cell overgrowth in body and thereby provide effective defense against a wide array of cancers like breast cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer etc.
42. If you are suffering from high blood pressure, start considering carrots as your new pals. Studies have proven that carrots increase the flow of blood in heart, and reduces bad cholesterol levels.
These two factors combined, carrots essentially help in lowering blood pressure and thereby mitigate chances of heart attack as well as various cardiac ailments.
43. Macular degeneration is a serious problem related to aging. Simply put with age, eyesight decreases. Carrots help to reduce macular degeneration and hence help to maintain good eyesight.
44. If you happen to be deficient in Vitamin A, you are most likely having troubles with night vision. This is where carrots can help. Rich in β-carotene. This substance in carrot is converted into Vitamin A in our body.
Carrots are very rich in β-carotene (pronounced as beta-carotene) and hence, good for Vitamin-A deficient people. So, carrots actually help to improve night vision.
Note: If you are not suffering from Vitamin A deficiency, eating loads of carrots is not going to give you the eyesight of a cat (we mean, capable of seeing things in pitch darkness). No, β-carotene doesn’t work that way. It helps in improving the deteriorated night vision but doesn’t scale it up to super-human levels.
45. Carrots have been found to help in increasing saliva production. Saliva is vital for our oral health. It helps to prevent microbes and other foreign things that can harm our teeth and gums alike.
Eating carrots will help to prevent gum problems, halitosis and cavities. So, eat carrots to keep oral problems at bay.
Carrot Facts: 46-50
46. If you happen to be a diabetic, make carrot your best friend. Why so? This veggie is known for regulating sugar levels in blood. And… there is something called Insulin Resistance.
The higher the insulin resistance of body, the greater is the problem for diabetic patients. Carotenoids in carrots have an inverse relationship with insulin resistance.
This means, if carotenoids increase in body, the body will less insulin resistant and hence, better utilization of sugar in blood and hence, less blood sugar levels. So? That’s good for diabetics!
47. Carrots have dietary fiber content. This means, carrots can help you with digestion. This veggie has also been found to regulate gastric juice secretion and hence, regulating the whole digestive process.
In addition, carrots also in peristaltic motion stimulation, thereby helping in building a robust digestive system.
48. Carrots are very rich in Vitamin A. They also have good quantities of Vitamin B-Complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
All these vitamins are known for improving the overall immune system of our body. The stronger our immune system is, the better resistance we have against various types of ailments.
49. Do you know what antioxidants are? They are nutrients that help in prevention of cancer, helps to slow down aging, helps to prevent hear diseases and more. Carrots are really really rich in antioxidants.
Some of the commonest antioxidants that are present in carrots are α-carotene (alpha-carotene), β-carotene, lutein, caffeic acid, coumaric acid, ferulic acid, cyanidins, malvidins etc. So, eat carrots as they help to slow down aging process.
50. β-carotene is also known for protecting our skin from harmful effects of sun. Harmful sun rays can lead to premature wrinkling of skin, pigmentation, acne, blemishes, uneven skin tone etc. All these can be prevented by eating carrots.
Carrot Facts: 51-55
51. Carrots also have external healing properties. Applying on cuts and wounds help in quick healing. All you have to do is apply boiled, mashed or shredded carrots on the affected areas of your skin.
52. Vitamin A is very essential for our liver as well. This vitamin in particular helps in flushing toxins out of the liver. So, eat carrots to keep your liver healthy.
53. Fibers present in carrots are also responsible for helping in flushing out waste material from our colon. So, you can have a healthy bowel movement if you eat carrots.
54. If you are on a weight-loss diet regime, consider adding carrots to your meals. This veggie is known for increasing satiety, and hence, significantly reduce the calorie intake, thus helping in regulating weight gain.
55. If you are prone to bone related problems, carrots can come in for rescue. They have Vitamin K in them. This Vitamin has several functions, but is known for reducing bone loss and hence, chance of bone fracture are reduced significantly. It also helps in calcium transport across the body.
Carrot Facts: 56-60
56. Daucus carota is a biennial plant. What does that mean? It means that in the first year, the plant use its leaves for production of large amounts of sugar. This sugar is then transported and stored in the taproot.
57. In the second year, this stored sugar is taken from the taproot and used in providing the necessary energy for flowering.
58. After the carrot seeds germinate, a clear demarcation is visible between the stem and the taproot. The stem is actually thicker than the taproot at this stage.
59. The seed leaf is located at the upper end of the stem. Only after 10 to 15 days have passed post-germination, the first true leaf starts to appear.
60. When the subsequent leaves start appearing, the leaves will be alternate and have a spiral arrangement. They are pinnately compound leaves with the bases of the leaves sheathing the stem.
Carrot Facts: 61-65
61. When the plant starts growing, close to taproot, the seed leaves’ bases are pushed apart while the stem gradually gets compressed with internodes no longer remaining distinct.
62. The seed stalk eventually elongates for flowering. This is when stem tip narrows down and takes a pointed structure. The stem will then extend in upward direction, growing anywhere between 60 cm to 200 cm in length. The stem will eventually become highly branched inflorescence.
63. The taproot of the plant has two distinct parts – the core or the xylem and the outer cortex or the phloem. The outer cortex is pulpy.
64. Carrots that are of high quality will have greater proportion of cortex and less of the core. It is absolutely not possible that the taproot will lack a xylem altogether.
65. It may happen that the taproot will have a very small but highly pigmented core that can be easily differentiated from the phloem. On the other hand, it is also possible that the core or the xylem and the phloem are of same color, making it appear as if there’s no core at all.
Carrot Facts: 66-70
66. Taproots of Daucus carota are usually canonical and long, but some cultivars may have nearly spherical and cylindrical taproots.
Taproots may have diameter (at widest part) of 1 cm to 10 cm. The taproots can have length of 5 cm to 50 cm, but the average length is between 10 cm and 25 cm.
67. Carrots are diploid. This means they have two homologous copies of every chromosome. A pair of homologous chromosomes means that the pair has one paternal chromosome and one maternal chromosome.
68. Carrots have 9 sets of homologous chromosomes with each chromosome having uniform length and they are relatively short.
69. Scientists estimate that the genome size of carrot is 473 mega base pairs. That’s the same size as rice genome and 1/5th of maize genome.
70. As far as cultivation is concerned, most of the cultivars take around 70 to 80 for reaching maturity provided the conditions are right. Full sun is best however some shade doesn’t do harm.
Full shade will not work for carrots. The optimum temperature should be between 16°C and 21°C and the soil should be loamy or sandy, well-drained, loose and deep with pH level not exceeding 6.8.
Scientific Classification of Carrots
|Subspecies||D. c. subsp. sativus|
Major Cultivars of Carrots:
- Chantenay carrots
- Danvers carrots
- Imperator carrots
- Nantes carrots