Carrots are a staple of most people’s diets. They are a great side to any dish or a perfect vehicle for transporting a large amount of dip into our mouths. Whether you are a fan of carrots or not you will likely still think you know everything there is to know about them, think again.
The carrots you know so well are orange but originally they were purple. The orange carrot that we know today only came to reality in the 16th century when a rare white carrot and a rare yellow carrot were mutated to form the orange one. The work was conducted in the Netherlands so many believe it was in honor of the House of Orange but in reality, it was likely because the orange carrot is much sweeter than the purple.
While today we all consume the carrot root that we know so well, in ancient history carrots were consumed very differently. Back then the leaves and seeds of a carrot were thought to have fantastic health benefits. Carrot seeds were often used as the key ingredient to cure some poison. Studies have now shown that the belief was correct and the seeds do have medicinal properties.
If you have ever heard that carrots improve your eyesight then you are falling for a trick by the British. During World War 2 the British made such advances in radar detection that they had an advantage over the Germans. In an attempt to hide it they spread a false rumor that they were feeding their pilot’s extra carrots to improve their night vision.
While the orange carrot is a modern mutation of the traditional carrot, it is not the last we will see. Scientists are currently developing a purple-skinned carrot with orange flesh. The carrot in development is set to be an excellent anti-cancer vegetable.