Sunday, October 28, 2007

History Bites: The Purple Carrot

You all might be wondering what's up with the purple carrot illustration under the beFOODled banner. It's not merely a manifestation of the imagination of S, who is the talent behind beFOODled's illustrations.

Purple carrots were the norm when the vegetable was just starting out about 5,000 years ago in Afghanistan, its country of origin. At that time, carrots were not only purple, but also tough and thin, and would not have been appetizing according to our modern palettes!

In Ancient Rome, carrots could be white or purple, too, according to the World Carrot Museum. This website also says that Egyptian temple drawings from 2,000 B.C. depict a purple plant that could have been a carrot according to some Egyptologists.

Carrots didn't become orange until Dutch patriots domesticated them to pay homage to the colours of the royal House of Orange.

No matter their colour, carrots are very nutritious. The purple pigments are called anthocyanins and these are antioxidants that protect the body against cancer and heart disease. And the orange pigment, beta carotene, is a great source of vitamin A.

So if you are lucky to see a purple carrot, you should feel special that you have laid eyes on an ancient vegetable going back to its roots!


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