Carrots are an easily recognizable vegetable that stands out in stores because of their bright orange color.
Virtually everyone has heard of carrots and they are available in almost every store.
Today, I will explain interesting facts about carrots that won’t have heard of.
Orange carrots only became available as late as the year 1700.
They were selectively bred from purple carrots.
Carrots can turn your skin orange, however, this is rare unless you eat an extremely high amount of
carrots and nothing else. Baby carrots are cut and shaped from full-sized carrots.
Carrots have other interesting properties, particularly the nutrients they contain, and the best way to prepare them is either cooked or raw to get the most nutrients.
Below, I will describe more interesting facts about carrots, where the carrot came from, and what makes carrots popular.
What Are 3 Facts about Carrots?
Most people eat fruits and vegetables every day without thinking too much about them, and instead choose them based on taste, and what’s in season.
There are, however, interesting facts about fruits and vegetables such as carrots that you may have heard but weren’t sure if they were true.
As well as other facts that aren’t common knowledge, here are 3 of some of the most interesting facts about carrots.
- The method of cooking carrots that gives them the most nutrients is to boil them.
- Raw carrots have a minimum of 12.5% more nutrients than any method of cooking carrots.
- Carrots are unusually high in vitamin A, which is very good for your skin health.
There are multiple ways to prepare carrots. They can be:
- Grated and added to baked food such as muffins or cakes
As you may know, some fruits and vegetables have more nutrients after being cooked.
Whereas, others are healthier when consumed raw.
Carrots in particular have more nutrients when consumed raw.
But, they only have about 12.5% fewer nutrients when cooked.
Not all methods of cooking carrots are the same.
I put together a table that shows a side-by-side comparison of the vitamins and minerals in carrots that shows how they differ based on how they’re prepared.
Check it out in this article about whether raw carrots have more sugar than cooked carrots.
Carrots are particularly high in:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
All of which are very good for your health.
They also contain small amounts of a lot of the essential vitamins and minerals.
Another interesting fact about carrots is that they contain a chemical that can turn your skin orange.
Luckily this only occurs if you consume a large amount of carrots, and don’t consume any other foods.
This would be equivalent to having an empty stomach – say after you wake up in the morning.
Or, if you fast for 6 to 12 hours. Then eat say 10 average-sized carrots on their own.
If you eat 2 to 3 carrots in a meal or add a carrot to each meal throughout the day you won’t come close to consuming enough of the beta-carotene in carrots that causes this to happen.
Baby carrots are not young carrots or a special variety of carrot
The shape and side of baby carrots is almost identical to a miniature carrot.
But, interestingly they aren’t in fact a very young carrot or a variety of carrot that doesn’t grow very large in size.
Baby carrots are made by cutting full-sized carrots into smaller pieces.
These are then shaped into a carrot shape and lightly polished to make the exterior a bit shiny like that of a full-sized carrot.
Different colors of carrots have a slightly different taste and some are better than others. Here’s a video that shows a taste test of different colored carrots, from dark purple, red, and orange:
Yellow carrots weren’t covered in the video.
But, people generally report that they are sweeter than the other colors of carrots.
I was curious if the nutrients in yellow carrots differ from the nutrients found in orange carrots.
I compiled the info in a side-by-side table to see exactly how they differ in this article about whether yellow carrots are better than orange.
How Old Is a Carrot?
The written record of what occurred in the past is fragmented so it can be difficult to know when exactly things occurred in the past with a high amount of accuracy.
Most fruits and vegetables that are popular today have been grown for some time.
Here’s how old carrots are exactly.
The carrot is about 1000 years old according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
Archaeological records, paintings, and written records show that the carrot was first grown domestically in Persia, now modern-day Iran, where it later spread to Spain and then to the rest of Europe.
Generally, fruits and vegetables are discovered in the wild. In the past, it has been shown by historians that people were hunter-gatherers.
They would simply go out into the surrounding area, and find the food they needed.
At different points in history around the world, various regions around the world began practicing farming.
This is where they would take seeds and plant them in specific places close to where they lived.
Orange carrots were found to be more tender and not as fibrous as other colors of carrots.
For this reason, they became very popular.
There is genetic variation in plants, much like people have different colored eyes and different colored hair.
Along the way, it was discovered that keeping the seeds of the plants that were particularly good to eat compared to others of the same species was a good idea.
Carrots didn’t use to be orange and were selectively bred
The Carrot Museum states the orange-colored carrots were selectively bred and common in about the year 1500.
Previous to that carrots were only black, red, white, purple, and yellow.
They state that the orange carrot is derived from the yellow variety of carrots.
Orange carrots were seen as being superior to purple carrots because unlike purple carrots they didn’t stain cookware, and also didn’t discolor the water they were boiled in.
What Is Popular about Carrots?
Carrots are one of the most widely available vegetables. But, it’s interesting that carrots are so popular. I looked at the main reasons why this is and compiled the main reasons below.
Carrots are popular because they are delicious, relatively easy to grow, are high in particular vitamins and minerals, and grow fairly quickly.
They also pair well with other vegetables and meat and are used a lot in baked goods such as muffins and cakes.
Carrots are ready to harvest in 3 to 4 months from seed.
Whereas, other root vegetables can take a bit longer.
Carrots are a type of taproot vegetable.
This is where it has one central root that grows vertically down and grows quite thick.
Other vegetables like this are parsnips, radish, and beets. Most people consider carrots – particularly orange carrots – more delicious than parsnips, and beets.
They also have a mild flavor which makes them go well with a diverse range of other fruits and vegetables.
Radishes by comparison have a very strong spicy flavor and can only be used as a garnish.
Beets such as beetroot have a strong unique flavor that overpowers other flavors, and generally don’t taste as good as carrots.
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.