We all eat carrots in one way or the other. Either you add it to your lunch or as a salad; you will have eaten it several times. Carrots taste good and are easily consumed in raw form.
Many fruits and vegetables we eat today are man-made, but is carrot man-made?
Let’s return to when they were first grown and used to be in colors other than the orange we see today.
The History And Origin Of Carrots
The carrots commonly found today were first grown during the 17th century by Dutch growers who cultivated this variant in their fields. But the carrots are found in various colors, including white, red, purple, and yellow.
Carrots (Daucus carota) originally had a purple color instead of the orange that we see today. These root vegetables grow underground and used to be in the same shade as the other underground vegetables, i.e., turnips.
When the carrots were grown in Iran and Afghanistan, they were dull white in color, but later on, purple and yellow varieties were also introduced.
The orange carrot was first grown to praise the dynasty of William I and was considered a sign of power, belief, and ethos.
Is Carrot Man-Made?
As explained earlier, the Dutch used to grow carrots on a larger scale. The farmers started producing carrots with more beta carotene, naming them royal carrots.
Some experts also believe that the Dutch and Roman Empires were excellent at growing carrots during their time.
Some also say that orange carrots resulted from a combination of white-, yellow-, and purple-colored carrots.
So, yes, the orange carrots are man-made based on the history above. But no one can say it with 100% certainty about the man-made and naturally occurring varieties.
Selective Breeding Of Carrots
Like animal breeding, fruit, and vegetable breeding is also done to produce varieties with the desired characteristics, such as taste and color. This selective breeding is referred to as ‘man-made’.
You might be wondering why selective breeding is done. The answer to this is that an area’s harsh and unpredictable climate conditions demand plants and crops to be resistant to pest and insect infections. So, they should be bred in a way to withstand such conditions.
Selective breeding in plants is seen in the form of grafting and laying. Farmers and gardeners continue breeding the plants and crops for even years to achieve desired results.
Major Carrots-Producing States Of The Us
According to (USDA National Ag Statistics Service, 2020), carrots are primarily grown in California (around 85% of the total production of carrots in the US). Other than California, they are also grown in Michigan and Texas states.
Did you know? China is the largest producer of carrots and turnips in the world.
Nutrition Facts About Carrots
Carrots contain up to 95% of water and have tiny edible carb parts (10%). A medium carrot contains 41 calories and:
- 0.9g Protein
- 85 to 95% water
- 9.6g carbs
- 4.7g sugar
- 2.8g fiber
- 0.2g fat
7 Amazing Health Benefits Of Carrots
Carrots are rich in vitamins and minerals and have significant benefits for health. Some of them are mentioned below.
Rich in vitamin A
Carrots have good benefits for the skin and are rich in vitamin A. They are also considered good for your vision.
It helps lower cholesterol
Carrots also help lower cholesterol levels in the blood. It helps reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes.
Improves digestive health
Carrots are rich in fiber, so they also improve digestive health and keep everything smooth, preventing constipation and related health problems.
Boost immune system
Carrots are rich in vitamin A, strengthening the immune system and helping the body fight against infections and diseases.
They have anti-inflammatory properties that help in inflammation and lower the pain associated, such as in arthritis.
Improve brain functions and prevent cancer
Carrots contain nutrients that are beneficial for normal brain functions and memory. They also prevent cells from damage, protecting them from developing cancer.
Helps lower body weight
Carrots are low in calories and increase fullness, so decreasing calorie intake can help you manage your body weight.
Uses Of Carrots
Carrots are versatile vegetables and are eaten in many ways. Here’re the 3 common ways to add carrots to your diet.
- Eat raw carrots as a nutritious snack
Remember to wash and peel them off before, no matter how you eat carrots. You may eat them raw as a nutritious snack or in a salad. Use a sharp knife to cut the carrot’s head and root. Now use a peeler to peel its outer skin.
Cut the carrot into desired pieces and enjoy!
- Crush and add on the top of your salad
Cut the head of the carrot, peel it off, and shred it into smaller pieces. Now add it fresh to your salad and enjoy! You may also add sauces or black pepper to make it spicy.
- Cook carrots with other vegetables
Another way to consume carrots is to cook them with other vegetables. You might have tasted it many times in your lunches if you were vegetarian.
Chop the carrot and cook it with other vegetables like peas or potatoes, giving it a delicious taste.
5 Fun Facts About Carrots
- Planting the carrot in the ground makes seeds (but they require a cold period before breaking dormancy).
- Carrots weren’t originally orange in color. They used to be in other colors, as explained above.
- Carrots were first grown in Afghanistan, but now, China is the largest producer of carrots.
- Carrots are healthier to eat as cooked (contain 40% beta carotene) rather than raw carrots (contain 4% beta carotene).
- Carrots are the most popular vegetable in the world, just after potatoes.
Best Season To Grow Carrots
Carrots do not grow well during hot temperatures. So, they are best planted in spring and fall if you want to grow carrots as a fall crop, planting 10 to 12 weeks before the first frost is best.
Recommendation: Preparing raised bed works best for carrots.
Carrots are grown by planting direct seeds into deep loose soil (at more than 45 degrees Fahrenheit) free from rocks and debris. Wait for a few days, as carrot seeds take time to germinate.
Growing healthy carrots requires at least 6 to 7 hours of direct sunlight. Also, light to medium nutrients are required either from organic matter or fertilizer.
In this article, we answered the question: is carrot man-made? Yes, it is. But as mentioned above, not all carrots are man-made. There were varieties of carrots that already existed before humans started selective breeding of carrots.
The orange carrot is man-made and has become the second most popular vegetable in the world.
Regardless of the color and variety, all carrots are healthy and safe to eat. You may add them. However, you want to change your diet.
Do you have more questions related to whether is carrot man-made? Here are the answers to the frequently asked questions.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are carrots genetically modified?
Carrots are not genetically modified; all in the market are natural.
Is carrot natural or man-made?
All carrots are not man-made; orange carrots are.
Where do carrots naturally come from?
Carrots were first grown in Afghanistan but are now in all parts of the world.
What are carrots a hybrid of?
Carrots are a hybrid of white, yellow, and purple carrots.
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