Where do carrots come from?
Central Asia is the first place of origin of carrot cultivation. Afghanistan is considered to be the original domestication and diversity center, from where it spread to Europe, the Mediterranean and other parts of Asia.
1. Wild carrots
There are wild carrot seeds that have been found in Africa and western Asia. They can be traced back to the Mesolithic (10,000 years ago). The roots are small, spindle-shaped, white, slender, aromatic and spicy. In some countries, along with domesticated carrots, they are considered the weeds that grow in the field. Wild carrot seeds are found in Switzerland and southern Germany; they can be between 2000 and 3000 BC. To be persecuted.
Typically, wild carrots were first grown as medicinal plants, and people used aromatic leaves and seeds instead of edible roots. Even the ancient Romans used the powder ground from wild carrot seeds to make aphrodisiacs, which were said to have a special effect.
Modern research shows that carrot seeds contain female hormones, but when they have an aphrodisiac effect. They are estimated to be insufficient to make spices.
2. Modern carrots
Modern carrot cultivation was domesticated in Central Asia around 1,000 years ago. The natural subspecies of wild carrots are selectively bred to reduce bitterness, increase sweetness, and minimize the woody core to become edible carrots. Wild carrots were then white or light yellow. The first domesticated and human-grown carrots were purple or yellow.
Domestication types are divided into two subgroups, mainly (var. Altorubens) and (var. Sativus). (var. altorubens) roots are rich in anthocyanins and a small number of carotenoids. They are also purple, pink, or orange-yellow. (var. sativus) roots are rich in carotenoids and are yellow, red or white.
In the 11th century, the Byzantine Jewish scholar Simeon Seth described carrots as red and yellow. Arab merchants and Moors brought in the one found in the northern Mediterranean. Carrots were reported in Spain in the 12th century, Italy in the 13th century, and France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom in the 14th century.
Cultivated carrots appeared in China in the 14th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries, orange varieties replaced purple varieties due to human preference and choice. They began to be grown widely in Europe and formed the basis of today’s commercial carrot growing.
Asia Minor and the Mediterranean are considered to be the second centers of origin of modern carrot growing, and many modern commercial varieties belong to this group. European colonists introduced carrots to the United States in 1609 and soon became a staple food. The British brought carrots to Australia in 1788.
The evolution of modern carrots
During World War II, the status of carrots continued to improve, from animal feed and side dishes to being the main source of food. At the time, the UK government encouraged people to grow and eat carrots to alleviate food shortages. There is a story that eating carrots is what makes the Royal Air Force so successful.
After the war, John Cunningham, the British night battle ace pilot, mentioned this with laughter: “Starting in May 1941, I shot down 12 German planes at night because my plane was equipped with very secret equipment.
The instrument helped me lock the German machine precisely at night, just like I have a pair of “cat eyes”. In order to cover up the existence of the instrument, the British Air Force deliberately made up a story that we are only more effective if we eat carrots. “
A study from Johns Hopkins University
A 1998 study by Johns Hopkins University found that taking carrot supplements can reverse poor eyesight in patients with vitamin A deficiency. This also supports certain rumors in history that eating carrots may not improve your eyesight, but a lack of vitamin A intake can lead to night blindness.
In the 1960s, carrots became more standardized to meet market demands with consistent specifications and colors. In the 1970s, people started packing carrots in plastic bags to make them more attractive.
In China, yellow and red carrots are still popular varieties today. In Europe and America, the purple, light yellow and red carrots are making a comeback with the pursuit of food diversification, especially natural color diversification.
Many developed regions are now marketing “rainbow” carrots and selling different carrots together to attract customers. In what is now Afghanistan, where modern day carrots are grown, carrots of various colors are natural coloring agents used in the confectionery, fruit juice and food industries.
Properties of carrots
Carrot is a biennial herb. In the first year the leaves produce a large amount of sugar and are stored in the roots to provide energy for flowering and fruiting in the second year. The taproot is made up of phloem and xylem. High quality carrots have a lot of phloemes, cylindrical or conical, and some varieties are almost spherical in shape.
The leaves are pinnate and grow alternately, arranged in a spiral on the upper part of the root. The stem is 60-200 cm high, with several umbels, and the flowers are small and white, sometimes light green or yellow. The fruits are meristems and the seeds are in each meristem.
The most popular types of carrots
It comes from rich anthocyanins but contains low numbers of carotenoids. Purple carrots are best eaten raw for most benefits, but they can still be steamed, boiled, roasted, and juiced. In addition, it has a strong sweet taste and sometimes a spicy taste.
It contains many carotenoids that are good for the eyes when taken regularly, including those used to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Studies have shown that yellow and orange varieties can help prevent cardiovascular disease and keep the carrots fresh.
Cosmic purple comes close to the hue of the earliest cultivated strains. The anthocyanin content is not that purple and it has a spicy-sweet taste.
This variety is very popular in France and it’s crispy and sweet. It is suitable for garden planting and the soil requirements are not strict.
The red variety is very popular in Japan. It is eaten at New Year or carved in plum blossom for good luck in the year to come. Likewise, it has a silky texture and a unique sweetness.
The white variety is a unique type of carrot with more fiber and milder sweetness.
Carrots are the important vegetable that is used in every meal. They come from Central Asia, where Afghanistan originally became the center of domestication and diversity. The wild carrots were found in Africa and western Asia, and modern carrots were domesticated in Central Asia about 1,000 years ago. Typically, carrots evolved from animal feed to side dishes and then to the main source of food.