- Veggie Index
- Greens, Chard
- Greens, Collard
- Greens, Kale
- Greens, Mustard
- Onions, Bulbing
- Onion, Bunching
- Peppers, sweet
- Peppers, hot
- Squash, summer
- Squash, winter
- Brussels Sprouts
The carrot is a root vegetable, usually orange in color, though purple, red, white, or yellow varieties exist. It has a crisp texture when fresh. The edible part of a carrot is a taproot. It is a domesticated form of the wild carrot Daucus carota, native to Europe and southwestern Asia. It has been bred for its greatly enlarged and more palatable, less woody-textured edible taproot, but is still the same species.
The wild ancestors of the carrot are likely to have come from Afghanistan, which remains the centre of diversity of D. carota, the wild carrot. Selective breeding over the centuries of a naturally-occurring subspecies of the wild carrot, Daucus carota subsp. sativus reducing bitterness, increasing sweetness and minimizing the woody core, has produced the familiar garden vegetable.
The carrot gets its characteristic and bright orange colour from β-carotene, which is metabolised into vitamin A in humans when bile salts are present in the intestines. Massive overconsumption of carrots can cause carotenosis, a benign condition in which the skin turns orange. Carrots are also rich in dietary fibre, antioxidants, and minerals.
Nutrition, Medicinal and Ethnobotanical Uses
In India carrots are used in a variety of ways, as salads or as vegetables added to spicy rice or daal dishes, and the most popular variation in north India is the Gaajar Kaa Halwaa carrot dessert, which has carrots grated and cooked in milk until the whole thing is solid, after which nuts and butter are added. Carrot salads are usually made with grated carrots in western parts with a seasoning of mustard seeds and green chillies popped in hot oil, while adding carrots to rice usually is in julienne shape.
Ethnomedicinally, the roots are used to treat digestive problems, intestinal parasites, and tonsillitis or constipation.
|Nutrient||Amount||% US RDA|
|Energy||173 kJ (41 kcal)||N/A|
|Thiamine (Vit. B1)||0.04 mg||(%)|
|Riboflavin (Vit. B2)||0.05 mg||(%)|
|Niacin (Vit. B3)||1.2mg||(%)|
|Vitamin B6||.1 mg||(%)|
|Folate (Vit. B9)||19 mcg||(2%)|
|Vitamin C||7 mg||(%)|
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
It is a biennial plant which grows a rosette of leaves in the spring and summer, while building up the stout taproot, which stores large amounts of sugars for the plant to flower in the second year. The flowering stem grows to about 1 meter (3 ft) tall, with an umbel of white flowers that produce a fruit called a mericarp by botanists, which is a type of schizocarp.
The carrot is a useful companion plant for gardeners. There is experimental evidence that growing it intercropped with tomatoes increases tomato production. If left to flower, it (like any umbellifer) attracts predatory wasps, that kill many garden pests.
While any carrot can be harvested before reaching its full size as a more tender “baby” carrot, some fast-maturing cultivars have been bred to produce smaller roots. The most extreme examples produce round roots about 2.5 centimeters (1 in) in diameter. These small cultivars are also more tolerant of heavy or stony soil than long-rooted cultivars such as ‘Nantes’ or ‘Imperator’. The “baby carrots” sold ready-to-eat in supermarkets are, however, often not from a smaller cultivar of carrot, but are simply full-sized carrots that have been sliced and peeled to make carrot sticks of a uniform shape and size.
Carrot flowers are pollinated primarily by bees. Seed growers use honeybees or mason bees for their pollination needs.
Carrots are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including Common Swift, Garden Dart, Ghost Moth, Large Yellow Underwing and Setaceous Hebrew Character.
Recipes and Cooking Tips
Carrots can be eaten in a variety of ways. Raw carrots should be thoroughly washed: raw vegetables may carry harmful bacteria or parasites. Only 3% of the β-carotene in raw carrots is released during digestion: this can be improved to 39% by pulping, cooking and adding cooking oil. Alternatively they may be chopped and boiled, fried or steamed, and cooked in soups and stews, as well as baby and pet foods. A well known dish is carrots julienne. Grated carrots are used in carrot cakes, as well as carrot puddings, an old English dish thought to have originated in the early 1800s. The greens are edible as a leaf vegetable, but are rarely eaten by humans. Together with onion and celery, carrots are one of the primary vegetables used in a mirepoix to make various broths.
Gluten Free Authentic Korean Chicken
Submitted by Louisa Wright
- 6 chicken breasts
- ¼ c. soy sauce
- ½ c. corn starch
- ¼ c. oil
- 1 c. chopped celery
- 25 or so snap peas (or snow peas)
- 1 c. chopped green onions and tops
- 1 c. chopped green pepper
- 1 c. carrots (parboiled)
- 1 c. mushrooms
- ½ c. cashews (optional)
- Cut chicken breasts in to 1 inch cubes and marinate in the soy sauce overnight.
- Roll pieces of chicken in cornstarch until thoroughly coated.
- Brown chicken in as little as oil as possible.
- When chicken is nice and browned, add all the vegetables and cashews if preferred.
- Stir constantly to keep from burning vegetables and cook over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender.
Serves 6. Serve immediately over rice.