Marissa Nieves


Orange carrots. A thing of the past?

Why are Carrots orange?

Ever wondered why Carrots are orange?

Well actually, there are many different varieties of carrots as Prof Sue Hartley outlines in one of her recent lectures and in fact not all carrots are orange at all. Some carrots are white and others are purple!

If you do a little research as to why the most popular carrots are orange, you will come across some serious discussion surrounding the Dutch cultivation of orange carrots. Some suggest that white and purple carrots were selectively bred many 100’s of years ago in an effort to create an emblem of the orange house in the fight for Dutch Independence :0

Well, in my research so far it seems that the very first cultivated carrots were yellow and white in colour in actual fact, the Dutch did selectively breed a hybrid orange carrot to create a more stable stream. However it seems the tale of cross breeding the white and purple carrots to create orange may not be true.

Scientifically, the orange colour of the carrot is due to the pigment beta-carotene (specifically carotenoids). Beta-carotene is the main pigment and contains the colour orange because of the rate at which absorption occurs in certain wavelengths of light. The yellow strand may have contained a low level of carotenoids, however the white and purple carrots did not contain the orange pigment and therefore it seems unlikely that the white and purple carrots were cross bred to create an orange species.

Carotenoids are the cause of the orange colour in many other fruit and vegetables including capsicum, pumpkin and apricots.

Better yet, carotenoids are abundant in vitamin A, a nutrient vital to human growth and development. Studies continue to show that an increase in vitamin A may benefit our vision, skin and immune system. So, along with the apple, an orange carrot a day keeps the doctor away !

Always committed to your success 🙂


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