Originally, the carrot was purple

Posted on Jan 12, 2021      172

Carrot is one of the most common vegetables around the world. Not sensitive to the climate, it is full of vitamins, and its most popular variety is characterized by orange color, by which we unmistakably distinguish carrots from other vegetables, filled the shelves of supermarkets. Many people who are used to standard carrots of orange color will be surprised to learn about the existence of other colors. Moreover, initially, this vegetable was not orange at all: purple and yellow colors prevailed.

Wild species of carrots existed tens or even hundreds of thousands of years ago, and the family of “umbrella”, to which our heroine belongs, has existed on the planet for millions of years. Countless kinds of wild carrots were different in size, taste and color: from yellow to dark purple. Characteristically, darker species of carrots grew in the Asian region, and light yellow shades were common in the Mediterranean.

For a long time, carrots remained a wild plant: it was known to man, but all the attention of our ancestors was riveted on the cultivation of cereals and a few other domesticated plants. The carrots were only reached around the 10th century A.D.: they began to be purposefully cultivated in Asia Minor.

It is interesting: the dark color of carrots is affected by a substance called anthocyanus. Anthocyanins are ubiquitous in nature and give the petals and fruits of plants red, purple and blue. Alpha and beta-carotene are responsible for the yellow color of many plants, including carrots.

After a few centuries, carrots are cultivated in European countries. Except the Mediterranean yellow carrot has always been an opaque and thin root carrot - not even a bright and large Asian carrot. Europeans did not put up with this state of affairs for a long time, and already in the 17th century, the crossing of varieties from different regions led to the emergence of familiar to us orange carrots.

This variety of root carrots combines nutrients and vitamins (anthocins, carotenoids) of Asian and Mediterranean carrots, has a large size and sweet taste. It is not surprising that orange carrots have gained popularity among customers. But in some places, there are also exotic yellow or purple carrots.