Carotenoids give carrots their typical orange color. They also include beta-carotene, which is found in abundance in carrots. The body can convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, the vitamin is needed, among other things, for seeing through light and dark. So viewed from this perspective, it is true that carrots are “good for the eyes”. The fiber ‘pectin’, contained in carrots, swells in the gastrointestinal tract and thus gives a better feeling of satiety.
The word carrot is derived from the ancient Germanic “morphon” for “yellow root”. It originally comes from southern Europe and Asia, but is now grown in all temperate areas. The oldest evidence for the cultivation of the carrot comes from antiquity. As early as 60 AD, Dioscurides mentions its use as a medicinal plant in his codex. The carrot came to Spain and Italy via what is now Iran in the 12th century, from where it spread throughout Central Europe.
Daucus carota ssp. sativus is a biennial plant from the Umbelliferae family. The shape of the carrot changes between round, cylindrical or conical. The plants shoot axis, which develops in the second year, carries the inflorescences. It is widely ramified and can grow up to one and a half meters. The mostly hermaphrodite, cream-colored flowers are pollinated by insects.
We love yellow turnips. After tomatoes, they come second on the vegetable popularity chart. That’s why they can be bought year-round, with 75 percent of automated mass production coming from domestic cultivation. The bunch of leaves (also called young carrots) comes from Spain and Italy. Grown around the world, it plays an important role in industrially manufactured baby food. Special varieties in white, yellow, dark red or black-violet enrich the range.
The carrot should always be stored unwashed and without leaves, otherwise it will begin to wither earlier. The crunchy bunch carrots are on offer at the beginning of the season. They are quite tender and therefore have a limited shelf life. They can be kept in the refrigerator for up to four weeks, as can the late carrots. If you freeze carrots, you should clean them beforehand, peel them as needed, wash them and blanch them for three minutes. Then you can dice them or cut them into slices.
When buying, make sure that the carrots are intact and firm. In the case of bunched carrots, the strong green of the leaves is a freshness indicator. Most of the ingredients of carrots are found under the rind, which is why young carrots should be washed or brushed thoroughly instead of peeled for raw consumption. In order to fully develop the effect of the fat-soluble beta-carotene, the carrot should always be prepared with a little butter or a few drops of high-quality cooking oil. Carrots can be used in many ways: As a raw food they are a healthy snack, in salads the combination with nuts, sauerkraut and apples is particularly popular. Boiled with a little water or, best of all, steamed, the carrot is a popular vegetable side dish, and it is indispensable in many stews and soups. The yellow beets make bread and cakes particularly juicy.