The Invention of Orange Carrots
Today I learned that carrots weren't orange until the 16th or 17th century! The first domestic carrots were purple and yellow, originating in Central Asia in the 10th century .
You can thank the Dutch for cultivating our modern orange carrots. Holland was "a leading country in carrot development" by the 1700s , and the carrot's rise in popularity was also reflected in "the sudden appearance of orange carrots in period oil paintings" like Joachim Wtewael's famous "Kitchen Scene" , which you can see here: http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/joachim-wtewael/kitchen-scene-1605
In fact, all of today's orange carrots derive from just four varieties of Dutch carrots, three of which come from the "Horn" variety named after the Dutch town Hoorn .
But why have I never seen or even heard of a purple carrot until now?! Well, it seems that purple carrots turn into more of a yucky brown color when cooked , so that could be one of the reasons the orange carrots won out. I'm going to try planting some purple carrot seeds to find out for myself, though. :)
Have you ever had a red or purple carrot? Do they taste different? And are the pigments that turn them purple actually full of all the health benefits they're claimed to have? (I tried to find out, but I didn't feel like sifting through a bunch of confusing and conflicting nutritional studies right after reading about carrots all afternoon, lol.)
Iorizzo M., Senalik D. A., Ellison S. L., Grzebelus D., Cavagnaro P. F., et al. 2013. Genetic structure and domestication of carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) (Apiaceae). American Journal of Botany
Stolarczyk, J., & J. Janick. 2011. Carrot: History and iconography. Chronica Horticulturae
How Carrots Won the Trojan War: Curious (but True) Stories of Common Vegetables
by Rebecca Rupphttp://books.google.com/books?id=tzLbdaBLFfIC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA88#v=onepage&q&f=falsePhoto by Helen Khttp://www.flickr.com/photos/helenk/6825515298/ #TIL #ScienceSunday