Carrots are now orange, but it seems that
thousands of years ago they were purple. They have had many uses
from decorating ladies' hats to banquet tables and only relatively
recently have they become common place in every
The carrot belongs to the parsley
family - umbelliferae - which also includes celery, dill, cumin,
parsnips and poison hemlock.
A plant with feathery leaves, the carrot is in fact
the tap root of the plant.
A purple carrot was grown in Asia at
least 3000 years ago, but didn't arrive in Europe until much later.
The Greeks and Romans grew them but as they weren't considered to
be very healthy, they weren't grown widely.In England the wild
carrot roots were used to ward off the devil. Up until this time,
the carrot was mainly known only in the wild and was grown as a
medicinal plant.By the 12th century the carrot began to be
cultivated and used across Europe, although it was not widely used
as a food until the 16th century.
It was not until the 17th century that the
Netherlands produced an orange carrot that retained its colour
Recipes from the 18th century are for carrot tarts
and carrot puddings. Carrots have only been used as a vegetable
Before the improvement of garden varieties, they were
grown to feed cattle.Today carrots are one of the most important
vegetables we eat.
Carrots are used in the kitchen
throughout the year in many different ways. They are mostly used as
a vegetable and in salads, although they are also often used in
soups and even cakes.
Carrots have considerable medicinal and nutritive
The carrot is an excellent source of vitamin A which
ensures good night vision, healthy skin and resistance to
infection; the redder the carrot the more vitamin A it contains.
Carrots are also a good source vitamins B1, C and E, and of calcium
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Bianchini, F; Corbetta, F; et al.
The Complete Book of Fruits and Vegetables
[English Translation] (New York: Crown, 1976)
Francis, C. The Complete
Carrot [Australian Edition] (Sydney: William Collins: