The Long Lost Purple Carrots

When someone says the word “carrot,” don’t you just naturally picture the long orange veggie with the green top? Carrots and the color orange are practically synonymous, but it wasn’t always this way. Carrots used to be purple, and sometimes even white. How did the change happen?

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 The orange carrot you know and love came to be in the 1500’s. But before that, in Asia and the eastern Mediterranean areas, they used to be purple! Nature created a new yellow vegetable by hybridizing the original purple kind with different wild varieties. This new version was then brought to the west, where the yellow mutants and other wild forms crossed to eventually produce the orange carrots we enjoy today.

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Also purple carrots contained up to five times more phenolics and falcarinol than orange carrots and both compounds are being investigated for their potential to protect against cardiovascular disease, inhibit the development of cancer cells in the body and reverse the negative effects of high-fat diets.

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