Thursday, November 30, 2006

Purple carrots?

Did you know that carrots weren’t always orange? Back in the day (wa-a-a-y back, in Roman times and well before), carrots were purple. It wasn’t until the 16th century, when Dutch growers bred carrots in honor of the House of Orange, that the carrot got its familiar color.

Flash forward to this century, and we find that there is a push to breed carrots (and lots of other vegetables, too) in anything other than their familiar color. There are red carrots and yellow carrots and white carrots and, making their comeback, purple carrots. Purple carrots called Maroons were developed a couple of years ago at the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M. The Maroon carrots not only have the health benefits that come from their purple pigment (anthocyanins), but they were also bred to be extra high in beta-carotene.

Maroon carrots are available in some markets, but if you can’t find them locally, you can order them from a specialty produce company called Melissa's. Their mail order department (800-588-0151) can take your order or tell you what stores in your area carry maroons.

No comments:

Post a Comment