I am the first one admit I am a sucker for unique colored fruits and vegetables. Life is just more fun with purple Brussels sprouts, yellow snow peas, and green cauliflower. If you really want to explore the rainbow, try growing your own carrots. Several years ago I only knew of orange carrots. I figured like most people all carrots were orange. In fact, orange is one of the last colors of carrots to be developed. We believe the first carrots were black in color (see the Good Eats episode – A Taproot Orange). After years of neglect, colored carrots are making a return to stores and market across the country. Seed catalogs are full of different varieties and colors. I will mention a few varieties offered by Baker Creek at the end of the post. Let’s get into why I think you should grow different colors of carrots.
1. Eye appeal
We eat with our eyes. Food that looks pretty, it going to get our mouth salivating – which will help you better taste the food. That is why salads are so appealing, they have so many colors, especially one topped off with different colored carrots. Serve up a bowl of roasted orange carrots, next to a bowl of roasted carrots of different colors, I guarantee which one you will be more excited to eat.
2. Flavor differences
Sometimes there is no difference in the flavor of different colored vegetables. I don’t think purple asparagus tastes any different than green. I do think each color of carrots has a different flavor. You can especially tell when you use more than 1 type. Even subtle different flavors really help make a dish that much better. I am a big fan of the red carrots, and they taste amazing. They have a strong, sweet carrot flavor.
3. Health benefits
No doubt carrots are good for you. Did you know the color of the carrots plays a role into what benefits it has for you? I found an excellent website documenting the health benefits of each color. Below you will find a short summary. Check out the Carrot Museum site for full descriptions.
Orange Carrots : beta carotene, High in Vitamin A – good for our eyes
Yellow Carrots : contain xanthophylls and lutene, which are similar to beta carotene, they are also good for the eyes
Red Carrots : contain lycopene, which is also found in tomatoes, helps reduce risk of heart disease and some cancers
White Carrots : contain no pigments, might be the least helpful, yet still contain the same thing all carrots do
Purple Carrots : some varieties are orange on the inside and some are purple all the way through. The more purple the most antioxidants found
Black Carrots : contain anthocyanins, which is an anti cancer component
Carrot Seed Recommendations
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds offer several unique carrot varieties that you’ll want to try.
Pusa Asita Black Carrot
A carrot so full of anthocyanins it is nearly completely black in color. It has a much richer flavor than your traditional orange carrot. Developed by Pritam Kalia in India. He also has developed a red carrot.
Jaune Obtuse du Doubs Carrot
A bright yellow carrot that comes from France. Records mentions this carrot existing back to 1894!
Kuroda Long 8 Carrot
An orange carrot that is stubby without the tapered ends you find with most carrots.
Cosmic Purple Carrot
Purple on the outside and orange on the inside with a sweet, slightly spicy flavor.
If you decide to grow carrots this year, I hope you will go with something unique. There is such a vast variety of carrots out there, that I would love to see more people growing. We don’t want to lose any of these more rare varieties. They are a treasure.
Check out My favorite carrot recipe from my blog, Eat Like No One Else – Buttery Roasted Carrots