Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Carrots used to be purple!

Here's something quite interesting you most probably didn't know about carrots! In the many thousands of years that pre-dated the 17th century (1600's), carrots were purple!

The Dutch carrot, orange in honor
of the Netherlands House of Orange
The orange carrot we are these days so used to wasn't quite cleverly (for that time) cultivated by Dutch growers into the delicious orange-colored sweet carrot you probably love in your salad. They took mutant strains of the original (thinner and sour) purple carrot and gradually developed them into the plump, good tasting, orange variety you can find in food stores and markets around the world.  Before that time, pretty much all carrots were purple with red, white and other colored mutated versions occasionally popping up.  These were rarely ever cultivated because they lacked the purple pigment anthocyanin.

It's a common believe that the modern day orange carrot was purposely created by the Dutch by crossing the mutated yellow and red rooted mutant carrots along with those that happened to be thicker and sweeter. All this is believed to be in tribute to the House of Orange and the struggle for Dutch independence, which was going on around the same time.


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