It’s Not Just a Carrot!

Today I did a bit of research on the net and found out that before the 17th century, almost all carrots cultivated were purple.  The modern day orange carrot wasn’t cultivated until Dutch growers in the late 16th century took mutant strains of the purple carrot, including yellow and white carrots and gradually developed them into the sweet, plump, orange variety we have today.

Before this, pretty much all carrots were purple with mutated versions occasionally popping up including the yellow and white carrots. Much like the small orange poppies that keep popping up in my garden!

These carrots however were rarely cultivated and lacked the purple pigment anthocyanin, which gave carrots back in those days, their distinctive purple color.

Apparently the modern day orange carrot was developed by crossing the mutated yellow and white rooted carrots as well as varieties of wild carrots, which are quite distinct from cultivated carrots.

The reason for my research was a conversation with my sister when Tim and I visited her in Queensland in October. Her husband has the firm belief that his eating purple carrots will make him leaner, meaner and I guess healthier….too bad about the chocolates, biscuits and huge packed lunches my sister supplies him on a daily basis! My brother-in-law also believes coffee gives him back trouble where he finds it difficult to walk….well I’m not sure what to think about that one.

Anyway, my gorgeous big sister Bernice mentioned she would like to grow the purple carrots as they are so darned expensive to buy up there, being rare finds in the general fruit and veg shops of Central Queensland. So, on our return to Victoria, home of nurseries that produce all sorts of weird and wonderful plants, I set about finding some seeds for her, hence the history lesson.

I have 2 packets of purple carrot seeds (300 seeds in each) being posted to me as I write this and am feeling quite excited about producing them in my veg patch. Knowing my luck, my seeds will come to nothing, but the seeds I sent to Bernice will thrive and produce beautiful carrots of the finest purple….I just betcha! (my sister’s favourite saying).

So now I have imparted this useless information (for most), I shall now take my weary body off to bed.
To dream of the purple carrot perhaps …

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13 thoughts on “It’s Not Just a Carrot!

  1. Emily Harvale November 19, 2012 at 11:55 am Reply

    Good luck with the carrots Jo. I’m sure yours will be just as wonderful as your sister’s. 🙂 Great blog. Well done you!

    • joskehan November 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm Reply

      I’ll let you know Emily. xx

  2. sue welfare November 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm Reply

    I’ve grown the white ones and they taste fabulous – oddly way more carroty than the orange ones!

    • joskehan November 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm Reply

      Sue I read about the whites being more tasty when I found out about the purple carrots. Interesting stuff.

  3. Trevor Forest November 20, 2012 at 11:24 am Reply

    I’ve eaten [purple carrotrs, they do look odd but taste fab.

    • joskehan November 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm Reply

      Yes and full of good nutrients too so I’ve been told. xx

  4. henriettegyland November 20, 2012 at 11:29 am Reply

    Wow, that’s interesting! So, basically, if I write a historical novel, saying that the character has hair the colour of carrots, it would, in effect, be purple…. Cool!

    • joskehan November 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm Reply

      Well …yeah I guess so! Lol. xx

  5. Leonie Wise November 20, 2012 at 11:42 am Reply

    With your green thumb I’m sure your carrots will be fantastic Jo. I might give them a go myself. I have recently planted a herb garden and some spring onions. Doing well so far lol

    • joskehan November 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm Reply

      Nothing like home grown veges Leonie….thanks for dropping in. Big slurps from Chilli for you all too. xxxx

  6. fsmum November 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm Reply

    Never knew this. We really CAN learn something new everyday!

  7. Gerri Bowen November 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm Reply

    I liked your post, Jo, and thought it was interesting. Lets us know how the carrot seed planting experiment goes

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