Carrots- what do you really know about them? They’re a favorite of rabbits, they’re orange, they grow underground and they are vision friendly. There is more to the carrot than meets the eye, so to speak. Here is some carrot information everybunny will find tasty.
The Carrot has a somewhat obscure history. It is difficult to pin down when domestication took place. The absence of carrot root remains in archaeological excavations and lack of documentary evidence do not enable agro-archaeologists to determine precisely where and when carrot domestication was initiated.
Cultivated carrots probably did not come from what is generally called the wild carrot although both kinds belong to the species Daucus carota. These first cultivated carrots were not the bright and familiar orange, but were purple and yellow. Fossil pollen over 30 million years old has been identified as belonging to the carrot family.
The cultivated carrot is believed to originate from the Iranian Plateau (modern day Afghanistan or Turkey) before the 900s.
Over the next 200 years, carrot cultivation spread to Iran, the Arabian area, Syria, and Northern Africa. A red variety joined the purple and yellow ones in the gardens. Carrot hieroglyphs have been found on Egyptian ruins and references to purple carrots have shown up in dated literature.
In the 1200’s and 1300’s carrot growing continued around the Mediterranean to Spain and Italy, spreading to France, Germany, The Netherlands, and even China. China may have gotten them along Marco Polo’s trade routes. In addition to red, yellow and purple, white carrots emerged, too.
Through the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, cultivated carrot growth spread throughout Northern Europe, England, North America, and Japan. By that time all colors, including familiar orange, were growing.
During early carrot cultivation times, they were often confused with turnips, but during the Middle Ages agriculturists bred the species separately. The modern, orange carrot emerged, most likely from the Low Countries.
The ancient Greeks and Romans studied carrot use for medicinal purposes. References and drawings appear in scientific and medical writing dating from these cultures. Herbalists of the 15th century refer to carrots being used for animal bites, urination problems, conception aids and methods of expelling embryos and after birth. Dioscorides wrote the carrot, ”being drank... is good for ye [painful discharge of urine] in potions, and for ye bitings and strokes of venomous beasts.” He recommended the seeds of Wild Carrot for the relief of urinary retention, to stimulate menstruation and to "wake up the genital virtue."
The modern carrot probably comes from Holland and in the 1700’s was still used medicinally, “Wild Carrot seed infused in ale is an esteemed diuretic, and excellent to prevent the stone and alleviate its more violent fits,” says The New English Dispensary in 1747.
Skipping to modern times, the carrot was given much press in Europe during World War II. It was popularized by a cartoon Dr. Carrot who promoted culinary delights such as curried carrot, carrot jam, carrot puddings and a homemade drink called Carrolade. Most of these "delicacies" were nothing new and items such as cakes, puddings and jam had been enjoyed throughout Europe since the Middle Ages.
Carrot consumption by RAF pilots was touted as the reason for the RAF's exceptional night-flying and target success in bombing Germany. True or not, the carrot became and has remained popular since the 1940’s.
Carrots are a great source of Vitamin A. Carrots contain 200% of the daily value of Vitamin A. They're packed with beta-carotene, which transforms into Vitamin A once it's broken down in your body. The carrots with the deepest of orange hues contain the most beta-carotene! Beta Carotene contributes to eye health.
The darker the color of a carrot, the sweeter the flavor. An average carrot is only 25 calories, making them a healthy and crunchy snack.
California is carrot central. About 85% of the U.S. carrot crop comes from Bakersfield, California.
The longest carrot recorded was 19 feet, 1 7/8 inches long, grown in the U.K. in 2007.
Home gardeners may not grow a record breaking bunny snack, but they can enjoy the sweet and crunchy taste right from the backyard.