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Carrot, raw

Carrots are a low-calorie vegetable with a relatively high level of carotenoids. They can be used to make either raw or cooked recipes.

Carrots are a favorite low-calorie raw food and are known for their high levels of carotenoids, which give them their characteristic color.

General information:

From Wikipedia: “The carrot (Daucus carota subsp.sativus) is a root vegetable, usually orange in colour, though purple, black, red, white, and yellow varieties exist.

Carrots are a domesticated form of the wild carrot Daucus carota, native to Europe and southwestern Asia. The plant probably originated in Persia and was originally cultivated for its leaves and seeds. ... The domestic carrot has been selectively bred for its greatly enlarged and more palatable, less woody-textured taproot.

The carrot is a biennial plant in the umbellifer family Apiaceae. It grows a rosette of leaves in the spring and summer while building up the stout taproot. Fast-growing varieties mature within three months of sowing the seed, while slower-maturing varieties are harvested in autumn and winter.”

Culinary uses:

“Nowadays, the most commonly eaten part of the plant is the taproot, although the greens are sometimes eaten as well.”

“Carrots can be eaten in a variety of ways. Only 3 percent of the β-carotene in raw carrots is released during digestion: this can be improved to 39% by pulping, cooking and adding cooking oil. Alternatively they may be chopped and boiled, fried or steamed, and cooked in soups and stews, as well as baby and pet foods. A well-known dish is carrots julienne.”

Nutritional value:

“The roots contain high quantities of alpha and beta carotene, and are a good source of vitamin K and vitamin B6.”

“The carrot gets its characteristic, bright orange colour from β-carotene and lesser amounts of α-carotene, γ-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. α- and β-carotenes are partly metabolized into vitamin A, providing more than 100% of the Daily Value (DV) per 100 g serving of carrots. Carrots are also a good source of vitamin K (13% DV) and vitamin B6 (11% DV), but otherwise have modest content of other essential nutrients (right table).

Carrots are 88% water, 4.7% sugar, 0.9% protein, 2.8% dietary fiber, 1% ash and 0.2% fat. Carrot dietary fiber comprises mostly cellulose, with smaller proportions of hemicellulose, lignin and starch. Free sugars in carrot include sucrose, glucose and fructose.

The lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids characteristic of carrots are studied for their potential roles in vision and eye health.”

Storage:

“Carrots can be stored for several months in the refrigerator or over winter in a moist, cool place. For long term storage, unwashed carrots can be placed in a bucket between layers of sand, a 50/50 mix of sand and wood shavings, or in soil. A temperature range of 32 to 40 °F (0 to 5 °C) is best.”

Production:

“Carrots are one of the ten most economically important vegetable crops in the world. In 2013, world production of carrots (combined with turnips) was 37.2 million tonnes, with China producing 45% of the world total (16.8 million tonnes, table). Other major producers were Uzbekistan and Russia (4% of world total each), the United States(3%) and Ukraine (2%).”

Cultivars:

Carrot cultivars can be grouped into two broad classes, eastern carrots and western carrots.

  • "Eastern" (a European and American continent reference) carrots were domesticated in Persia (probably in the lands of modern-day Iran and Afghanistan within West Asia) during the 10th century, or possibly earlier. Specimens of the "eastern" carrot that survive to the present day are commonly purple or yellow, and often have branched roots. The purple colour common in these carrots comes from anthocyanin pigments.
     
  • The western carrot emerged in the Netherlands in the 17th century. The orange colour results from abundant carotenes in these cultivars.

The myth about “night vision”:

“The provitamin A beta-carotene from carrots does not actually help people to see in the dark unless they suffer from a deficiency of vitamin A. This myth was propaganda used by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War ... to disguise advances in radar technology and the use of red lights on instrument panels.”