Carrots are Cool!

It’s pretty obvious that we here at Veggie U are rather fond of carrots. We love them so much that we even made one a part of our logo, for Pete’s sake! So we are very excited that, after a summer spent testing and growing, we are now ready to include carrot seeds in our stellar line up of Veggie U veggies. Now all our students can experience the wonders of growing this amazing vegetable in the root viewers that come with every Veggie U Primary Garden.

Here are some fun things to know about one of our favorite roots:

The carrot is a member of the parsley family which includes plants like celery, parsnip, fennel, dill and coriander.

Carrots have a long and storied history of being one of mankind’s favorite crunchy treats. Carrots were first grown as medicine, not food, and it is believed that the carrot was first cultivated in the area now known as Afghanistan thousands of years ago as small, forked, purple or yellow roots with a woody, bitter flavor, nothing like the carrots we know today.

In early Celtic literature, the carrot is referred to as the "honey underground." Carrots are one of the most essential foods to the Scottish and Gaelic heartland. The first Sunday before St. Michaels Day on September the 29th is called Carrot Sunday, when the soil is soft and friable and the carrots can be pulled out of the ground without digging. There is much rivalry among women over who can harvest the most and best carrots!

What makes carrots orange? It is the antioxidant beta-carotene! Beta-carotene is absorbed in the intestine and converted into vitamin A during digestion. In the 17th century, Dutch growers cultivated orange carrots as a tribute to William of Orange – who led the struggle for Dutch independence – and the color stuck, wiping out in one generation a thousand years of yellow, white and purple carrot history. But now, finally, multi-colored carrots are making a bit of a comeback and it is more and more common to see them appear at farmer's markets and even in some grocery stores. Carrots in a range of colors - like purple, yellow, and red - contain a variety of antioxidants lending them their color, such as anthocyanin in purple carrots and lycopene in red carrots.

How can you make a soup rich? Add 14 carrots to it! Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A. They also provide vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Carrots also contain fiber, vitamin K, potassium, folate, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin E and zinc. All this and they’re mighty tasty, too!