Carrot History - Carrots

There are two carrot types, Eastern And Western carrots. Carrot history goes back thousands of years when it was small, purple and a wild carrot.

carrots in the wild

The Carrot - Wild Carrot

Carrots are probably the most important and popular root vegetable grown today; only beets are ranking number one. Back in the day, all carrots where wild and purple. Small, woody and hard to eat, a wild carrot was almost certainly never eaten raw because it was so hard and bitter tasting. Several centuries of cultivation brought about the genetic changes we see in carrots today. Slowly, over thousands of years their size and color changed from shades of purple to variations of white, orange and yellow. It wasn’t until the eighteenth century that European plant breeders perfected the seed varieties we see today.

Carrot Types

There are two carrot types; Eastern carrots and Western carrots. Eastern carrots would be considered wild carrots today because of their purple color. They are primarily grown in Eastern Europe and Russia. Western carrots are distinguished by their orange color and sweet taste, however the last 30 years has seen the introduction of many cultivars that vary in color, size and shape.

Medicinal Plant

Several hundred years ago, carrots where grown primarily for medicinal purposes. It was thought that the carrot could be used as a cure for intestinal gas, to improve eyesight, relieve colic, remove parasites and improve the health of children with rickets. At one time carrot seeds were brewed as tea and serves as a love potion.

A Modern Miracle

Today’s carrots are proclaimed to be a modern miracle by alternative health practitioners around the world. Science of the 21st century brought new revelation including the discovery of beta-carotene, a compound high in vitamin A, which has been proven to improve eye health and defend against cancer. Cooked carrots help in the treatment of diabetes.