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Carrot Questions and Answers

What is a carrot? - Carrot is a herbaceous root vegetable, Daucus carota subsp. sativus, in the parsley family (Apiaceae or Umbelliferae), which also includes the similar parsnip. The domesticated carrot is a cultivar of the wild carrot (Daucus carota), also known as "Queen Anne's lace," which is native to temperate parts of Europe and southwest Asia. It has been bred for its greatly enlarged and more palatable, less woody-textured edible taproot, but is still the same species.

The term carrot also applies to the long, edible, usually tapering taproot of the domesticated form. These taproots commonly are orange in colour, but may be a variety of colours depending on the cultivar, including white, red, black, yellow, or purple. They have a crisp texture when fresh.
It is a biennial plant which grows a rosette of leaves in the spring and summer, while building up the stout taproot, which stores large amounts of sugars for the plant to flower in the second year. The flowering stem grows to about 1 m tall, with an umbel of white flowers.  What affects the taste (sweetness/bitterness)? here - pdf

Click on the question and find the answer.  Growing questions start here.  All about juice here.

1. Why are Carrots Orange? 30. Why do my carrots taste soapy or bitter?
2. What are Baby carrots? 31. What is the average size of an all season carrot?
3. What is a carrot?  32. Are carrots good for your teeth?
4. How many calories in a carrot ? How much sugar 33. Carrot Allergy?
5. Will my skin turn orange if I eat too many? 34. Do Carrots have carbs?
6. Can consuming large volumes of carrot juice change grey hair back to its natural colour? 35. Why do Carrots have rings?
7. Are Carrots Better Cooked or Raw? 36. Is Carrot juice good for bodybuilding?
8. What are the main health benefits of carrots? 37. What are carotenoids?
9. How much juice do you get from one carrot? 38. Why do carrots make sugar?
10. Do carrots help fight cancer? 39. Can Dogs eat carrots?
11. How do I get rid of carrot stains on clothes? 40. Can you eat carrot flowers?
12. Why do carrots spark in the microwave? 41. Do rabbits eat carrots?
13. Can I eat the green leaves of a carrot? 42. Why are carrots sweet/how to grow them sweeter?
14. Which carrot has the most Beta Carotene? 43. How many calories in carrot pulp from juicing?
15. Where did the carrot get its name? 44. How do retain the orange color when cooking?
16. Do they help you see in the dark? 45. What pesticides can be found in carrots?
17. How do carrots make seeds? 46. Why do I see carrots in vomit?
18. What is the world record for the Longest carrot? 47. Why are my carrots slimy in the fridge?
19. What is the world record for the Heaviest Carrot? 48. Are carrots with a green core safe to eat?
20. Why does a carrot have hair? 49. Why do carrots go brown, by themselves or when cooked?
21. Does carrot juice from fresh garden carrots really taste better than carrot juice bought from the store?  
22. How Do I grow a giant carrot?  
23. What vitamins and minerals does carrot juice contain?  
24. Is carrot juice safe to drink for expecting mothers?  
25. Can long term carrot juice intake stain your teeth? Got any more? Ask a Carrot Question here
26. Which Carrot is Best for juice?  
27. Is too much carrot juice unhealthy for you?  
28. Do carrots help with a sun tan or sun burn?  
29. How long do carrots keep?  

GROWING QUESTIONS (select the reference number)

G1. How long can I store carrot seeds?

G2. I have planted carrots several times with no luck. Why won't they come up?

G3. What causes the top of my carrots to be green rather than orange?

G4. Why are my garden carrots short and stumpy instead of long and slender like those in grocery stores?

G5. What causes my home garden carrots to be tasteless, woody and often bitter instead of sweet and tender?

G6. Each year my spring-planted carrots send up a seed stalk. What am I doing wrong?

G7. What causes my carrots to be pale yellow instead of the typical orange colour?

G8. The foliage of my carrots is infected with brown lesions which cause the leaves to decay.

G9. When I dug my carrots, I found galls or swelling on the roots.

G10. The foliage on my carrots looks yellow with multiple sprouting at the crown of the root OR The roots have numerous small roots on the main root.

G11. My carrots are rotting at the soil line. On close examination, I find the top of the root covered by a white fungal mat.

G12. My carrots die rapidly during the warm months.

G13. Once I harvest my carrots and place them in the crisper, they soon deteriorate into a slimy, foul-smelling mess.

G14. What causes my carrots to be forked or double of have minor secondary roots?

G15. What affects the colour and shape of carrots?

G16. Why do carrots crack or split?

G17. Can I transplant carrots?

G18. My carrots are bitter and have green centres?

G19 How long do carrots take to grow?

G20 Why do my carrots bolt (go to flower in first season)

G21 When to pull carrot for best taste

G22 What's the difference between hybrid and non-hybrid seeds?

G23 Why are my carrot roots crooked?


1. Why are Carrots Orange?

What makes carrots orange? The plant pigment that gives carrots and other vegetables their vivid orange colour is beta-carotene. Fruits and Vegetables that are yellow/orange in colour contain beta-carotene and carrots are one of the vegetables richest in Beta-Carotene. Our bodies convert beta-carotene into Vitamin One carrot supplies enough beta-carotene to meet our daily requirement for Vitamin A.

Carrots are orange because they absorb certain wavelengths of light more efficiently than others. Beta-carotene is the main pigment and is mainly absorbs in the 400-500nm region of the visible spectrum with a peak absorption at about 450nm. Carotenoids are one of the most important groups of natural pigments. They cause the yellow/orange colours of many fruit and vegetables. Though beta-carotene is most abundant in carrots it is also found in pumpkins, apricots and nectarines. Dark green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are another good source. In these the orange colour is masked by the green colour of chlorophyll. This can be seen in leaves; in autumn, when the leaves die, the chlorophyll breaks down, and the yellow/red colours of the more stable carotenoids can be seen.

In fact, one carrot has 220% of the Vitamin A we need every day! Carrots are also a source of fibre, potassium and Vitamin C Believe it or not, it has more then twice as much Vitamin A, more than 3 times as much Protein, and more than 5 times as much Calcium as carrot root (carrot root = the carrot itself).

Are there different colours of carrots? There are 5 main carrots colours in existence today – red, yellow, white, purple, black and orange. The first carrots were white, purple and yellow - not orange. The Dutch developed orange carrots in the 1600s. All modern day orange carrots are directly descended from these Dutch-bred carrots. More info about carrot colours is shown at the Museum here.

2. What are Baby carrots?

Some producers do grow true "baby carrots" that is a carrot grown to the "baby stage", which is to say long before the root reaches its mature size. These immature roots are preferred by some people out of the belief that they are superior either in texture, nutrition or taste. Certain cultivars of carrots have been bred to be used at the "baby" stage.

One such cultivar is 'Amsterdam Forcing'. You can spot these because they do like real miniature carrots, and are always very expensive. If you look closely they retain the skin/peel like a normal size carrot. By a long way the majority of "baby" carrots you see in the stores are whittled down from larger carrots. Usually a long thin carrot variety is cut into several pieces and then rolled and tumbled in special machinery to produce a thin, "baby" carrot. Which apparently is what people want? It is also an ideal way of using the "imperfect" shaped carrots which the supermarkets will not sell. There is still an awful lot of waste produced from the process, which mainly goes for animal fodder, sometimes for juicing.

These pencil sharpened carrots are less nutritious than full length carrots, containing about 70% of the beta carotene of a normal carrot. Partly because they are harvested early and partly because a lot of the goodness is in the skin. More here.

There is spurious email going around about the alleged harmful effect of the addition of chlorine to baby cut carrots, to increase shelf life. Read more here. and learn the truth!

Strictly "baby" means immature, pulled from the ground before they reach full size. Originally that was the case, nowadays they have developed miniature strains which are mature when small in stature!

Real baby carrots (miniature version of full size) are what they are, about 3 or 4 inches in length.

Baby "style" cut carrots (those whittled down from larger carrots) started off by the "inventor" as being approx 2 inches in the 1980's, and have remained so, more or less, ever since.

USDA use weight to base its standards for nutrition etc - a small baby carrot is deemed 10 grams, a medium one 15 grams.

 

3. What is a carrot?

The carrot is a root vegetable, typically orange or white in colour with a woody texture. The edible part of a carrot is a taproot This root vegetable, descended from the wild carrot (Queen Anne\'s Lace) which grows widely in fields and roadsides of northern temperate climates in both Europe and North America.

Both the root and the leafy stems of this vegetable are edible, highly nutritious and delicious. This member of the parsley family has lacy green foliage and long, slender, edible orange roots. Carrots have been renowned for over 2,000 years for their health-giving properties and high vitamin A content. It is a versatile vegetable which can be eaten raw or cooked. , rich in carotene which is the precursor of vitamin

First domesticated in Afghanistan. Early varieties had anthocyanin pigments in them giving the carrot a red, purple or black colour. A yellow variety without anthocyanin arose in the 16th century and became popular. In the 17th century in Holland the familiar orange variety rich in carotene was produced.

4. How many calories in a carrot

Calories - An average 6 inch carrot contains about 40 calories.

A 9 ounce serving of carrot juice has 112 calories.

Sugar - An average raw carrot of about 7 inches long (17.78cm) (70g in weight) has approximately 3.5g of sugar. That's about 5%.

Source - USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23 (2010)

It might vary slightly depending on variety.

 

5. Will my skin turn orange if I eat too many?

Probably! - Like many foods eaten in excess, carrots can produce unhealthy results too. Carotene, the pigment that gives carrots and other yellow fruits and vegetables their colour, can cause yellowing of the skin when consumed in excessive quantities. This usually shows first in the palms of the hands and souls of the feet. Though the yellowing of the skin from indulging in a heavy dose of carrots is seldom serious and will disappear in a few days, continued carrot gorging can cause medical problems.

In 1974 one unfortunate English health advocate named Basil Brown consumed 10 gallons of carrot juice and took 10,000 times the recommended RDA of vitamin A in a period of 10 days. Those 10 days were the unfortunate man's undoing--his skin turned bright yellow and he died of severe liver damage. Read more here.

6. Can consuming large volumes of carrot juice change grey hair back to its natural colour?

It has been known that people have noticed less grey hair after months of regular carrot juice intake. There have also been some reported stories of people claiming all their grey hair disappeared. Whether these reports are true is impossible to verify. There does seem to be enough consensus out there that would indicate that it does have some effect with some people although I'm not aware of any official research done on the subject.

 

7. Are Carrots Better Cooked or Raw?

 The antioxidant value of carrots increases by about 34% when cooked. Why? Because raw carrots have tough cellular walls, the body is able to convert less than 25 percent of carrots' beta-carotene into vitamin Cooking partially dissolves the cellulose-thickened cell walls, fleeing up nutrients. So long as the cooked carrots are served as part of a meal that provides some fat, the body can absorb more than half of the carotene. Also, carrots are usually cut into pieces before boiling or steaming.

As a result, half the proteins and soluble carbohydrates are lost in the water. So it is advisable to cook carrots whole, and then slice them up. The only exception is juicing where the process breaks down the fibrous nature of the carrots. You get 4% of beta carotene from a raw carrot, 90% from the same carrot, juiced.

8. What are the main health benefits of carrots?

Good for eyesight, Protects your heart,Prevents constipation

Combats cancer,Promotes weight loss,Guards against Asthma

Prevent wrinkles,Resist infection,Keep skin youthful

9. How much juice do you get from one carrot?

Approx 70ml from an average 6 inch carrot.

10. Do carrots help fight cancer?

A carrot a day raw or juiced today appears to reduce the risk of all cancers by nearly half, at twice that dose, carrots lower cholesterol levels by and average of 11%. A team of researchers, from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England and Denmark, found the natural pesticide falcarinol reduced the risk of cancer developing in rats by one third. Although experts have recommended that people eat carrots for their anti-cancer properties, it has not been known exactly what component of the vegetable has this effect.

The study results, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, are significant as they could contribute to healthy eating advice for consumers and recommendations for growers and may eventually aid the development of anti-cancer drugs. Falcarinol protects carrots from fungal diseases, such as liquorice rot that causes black spots on the roots during storage. The scientists investigated the compound after a previous published study suggested it could prevent the development of cancer. Read more here

11. How do I get rid of carrot stains on clothes?

Clothes - Try a cup of white vinegar in a bucket of warm water. Leave the clothes in overnight and wash as normal. Then dry outside so the sun bleaches it .The stain should go. Counter top - heat a small amount of vinegar. Sprinkle the area with baking soda and gently pour the vinegar on. Leave for a few minutes then rinse. Or you could use a very small amount of bleach and rub it into the stain and rinse thoroughly.

12. Why do carrots spark in the microwave?

Several factors make frozen carrots susceptible to the effect described (although other vegetables do this). First, while microwaves are extremely good at heating liquid water, ice is almost totally transparent to them, so it is actually quite difficult to get ice to melt in a domestic microwave oven. The "defrost" option on a microwave oven relies on intermittent heating of a small amount of liquid water present on the food, and heat conduction from these areas into frozen material. By putting frozen material into the microwave oven with continuous energy input, no time is given for thermal conductivity effects, and therefore a colossal heating effect occurs on a very localised surface area.

13. Can I eat the green leaves of a carrot?

 Yes! - They are highly nutritious, rich in protein, minerals and vitamins and oxalates. The tops of the carrots are loaded with potassium which can make them slightly bitter. Carrot tops are high in dihydroisocoumarins, which can have blood thinning effects.

14. Which carrot has the most Beta Carotene?

Orange Ones! Phytochemicals, the naturally occurring substances in plants thought to promote disease-fighting properties, are also the pigments that give plants their distinctive colour.” Orange carrots contain the most beta carotene, purple carrots contain anthocyanin, red carrots contain lycopene, and yellow carrots contain xanthophylis. However, the pigments don’t penetrate deeply through the skin of the carrot, so peeling the carrots removes the particular nutritional benefit.

15. Where did the carrot get its name?

The word carrot comes from the Old French carotte. It is thought that this word comes from the Greek karoton through the Latin carota It has been known since ancient times and is believed to have originated in Afghanistan and adjacent areas. There is also a school of thought which says that it is derived from ancient Greek for a yellow root, slender leaved parsnip, so called because it was thought to impart a pleasant smell "Carum", or from karuon "a sweet taste.   (Carum is a genus of about 20 species of flowering plants in the family Apiaceae, native to temperate regions of the Old World, now known to be carraway.)

16. Do they help you see in the dark?

Yes And No! - they do help you see in the dark, but can only improve your night vision if you are deficient in Vitamin A When you eat carrots, the beta-carotene is transformed into retinol or vitamin Carrots are high in Vitamin A, and a deficiency in this nutrient can cause some difficulty seeing in dim light. Vitamin A is essential for the formation of the chemical retinal, whose presence in the retina is necessary for vision. Our eyes have two kinds of light sensitive cells: the rods and the cones. The rods are the cells we rely on to see in dim light.

They are sensitive to Vitamin A deficiency, because it can cause a shortage of retinal. The retina is the light-sensing part of the eye that holds the rods and cones, which contain enzymes that absorb light and allow us to see. When light strikes the retinal molecule, it changes its shape. This activates a cascade of chemical reactions that informs the brain that light has entered the eye. When the levels of light sensitive molecules are low, due to Vitamin A deficiency, there will not be enough retinal to detect the light at night. During the day there is enough light to produce vision, despite low levels of retinal.

So it's only night vision that can be improved by eating carrots. The rods provide black and white vision and respond in dim light while the cones provide colour vision and respond to bright light. Vitamin A helps the retina tell black from white and provides for colour vision. It also helps us see in dim light or at night. When you go into a darkened theatre after being out in the bright light, your eyes are able to adapt because of the vitamin A that you have stored in your body. So really the answer is they do help you see in the dark, but can only improve your night vision if you are deficient in Vitamin A.

17. How do carrots make seeds?

Carrots are biennial plants and only flower every two years. In the first year the plant produces the edible root and a leafy top. If a carrot plant is left in the ground for another year, it flowers and seeds are produced. Sexual reproduction in carrots is therefore not different from other flowering plants. Pollen is produced and transferred to the female part of the flower, the stigma

The pollen grain then delivers the sperm cells within it to the ovary via a long tube where fertilisation takes place. The seeds are tiny - a teaspoon can hold almost 2000! The birds-nest-shaped fruit cluster of carrot has a remarkable mechanism for seed dispersal. The stalks are hygroscopic, so that when conditions are dry and suitable for seed dispersal they bend outward, exposing the fruits to wind and animals; when conditions are wet, they bend inwards, forming the familiar bird’s nest structure, which protects the seeds.

When the tops die back, the plant uses the stored food to grow new foliage and the flower stalk the following spring -- and it's that extra food that makes the root such a tasty treat. Read more here.

18. What is the record for the Longest carrot? 

The Longest Carrot was grown by Joe Atherton Mansfield UK in 2007 at a staggering 19 feet 2inches). (see more here)

Tips on how to grow a long carrot here.

19. What is the record for the Heaviest Carrot?

According to the Guinness Book of Records 2003 John created the Carrot record, a whopping 18.985 pounds (8.61 kg) in 1998, a world record for a single root mass. (see more here)

20. Why does a carrot have hair?

The hairs are easier to see if you pull a carrot directly from the ground. But if you leave a store-bought carrot wrapped in a plastic bag in a warm, moist spot, the fine hairs most likely will start to grow again. The tiny, fine hairs that cover most of the carrot help the plant absorb water and minerals from the surrounding soil. Plants usually have one of two kinds of roots. All roots, no matter what kind, hold plants in the soil, absorb water and minerals, and store excess food for the plants where animals are less likely to find it.

Gardeners are often dismayed when they harvest hairy or misshapen carrots. Imperfect carrots, or carrots with multiple roots – many of them twisted around each other – may come from several causes, including spacing, soil type, fertility, pests and disease.

Your carrots could be overcrowded. Next time, try thinning them to an inch apart after the leaves reach about three inches high.

Did you plant them in clay soil? If you have heavy clay soil, the clay sometimes forces the roots to grow crooked. Amend clay soil in next year’s carrot patch with well-broken down leaves, well-rotted compost. Carrots do well in light (sandy), fluffy soil that is not too full of amendments. Root-knot nematodes may cause deformed carrots. You can either verify this with a soil test and then you might have to solarize (treat soil with the sun’s heat using plastic sheeting in the summer), or rotate your carrots to another area next time.

Did you fertilize right before you planted your carrots? Excess nitrogen (over fertilization) can cause carrots to form multiple roots or get “hairy.” If you add manure-laden compost to your soil, do so in the fall, then let it overwinter before planting carrots in the spring.

Carrot roots will also become hairy in waterlogged ground.

Did you leave your carrots in the ground too long? Carrots are biennials. The first growing season, they grow a taproot. Next they put out secondary roots off the taproot, and then put up the flowering stem the second year. If you planted your carrots last fall, then overwintered them in the ground, they might be sending out whitish secondary roots by now and maybe a stem. Some varieties are more prone to bolting than others.

21. Does carrot juice from fresh garden carrots really taste better than carrot juice bought from the store?

Yes - there is a definite taste difference between juice squeezed from home grown vegetables, versus juice from store brought bottles. Fresh home grown produce retains much more moisture than store bought product. There are no preservatives or additives or processing.

22. How Do I grow a giant carrot?

 You should always "dig in" any giant vegetable plot deep with lots of organic matter, take extra care over feeding, watering and pest control and, if showing, harvest at the very last moment for freshness. Fill a 6in-wide 4 foot long drainpipe with clean fine sand. (Always be optimistic). Make a hole in the sand with a long pole and fill it with good peaty potting compost. Sow three seeds in the compost and thin to the best one when they have germinated. Water from the top for the first two months and thereafter from the bottom to encourage the roots to seek out moisture. At harvest time wash out as much sand as possible using a hosepipe before very gently pulling up the carrot. If you pull too hard you may damage the long tapering root. It's important you buy one of the "long" varieties, and that the seeds are fresh. The "Jumbo" variety is the one which hold the World Record for longest. Other good long ones are Japanese Imperial long (claim to grow up to 24 inches!) Also Gold Pak, Autumn King or Red Giant.

Read more tips on how to grow a long carrot here.

23. What vitamins and minerals does carrot juice contain?

Carrot juice is extremely rich in vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals include sodium, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, sulphur, and many more.

24. Is carrot juice safe to drink for expecting mothers?

Carrot juice is a great vitamin and mineral source for expectant mothers. High vitamin A intake is essential for both bone and tissue development of the mother and unborn child. It is also very important in maintaining a healthy immune system to shield the body from infections.

25. Can long term carrot juice intake stain your teeth?

Carrot juice, grape juice, and beet juice can darken your teeth over time. But tea, coffee, and a variety of foods most of us eat daily also contribute to natural tooth stains. Carrot juice isn't going to darken your teeth to any extreme, and is hardly something to worry about for carrot juice drinkers. A healthy diet and regular trips to the dentist are your best bet for maintaining a healthy smile. The vitamin A in carrot juice also helps contribute to strong healthy bones and teeth.

26. Which Carrot is Best for juice?

Best carrot for juicing or eating raw? - almost any but a variety called Neptune is an excellent long season 'Flakee' type carrot with large conical roots up to 12in/30cm long, with an intense orange colour and are particularly sweet for their type.

27. Can drinking too much carrot juice be unhealthy for you?

Although drinking large volumes of carrot juice is not unhealthy for you, carrot juice does contain natural sugar. Diabetics should consult with a physician regarding what volume intake of carrot juice is suitable for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.

28. Do Carrots help with a sun tan or sun burn?

The high beta-carotene content of carrots boosts the skin's natural protection against the sun's rays. Beta-carotene belongs to a group of natural chemicals known as caretonoid, which provide defence against free radicals. These are damaging molecules which are produced by the body in increasing numbers when exposed to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Once beta carotene is in the body, it is split by cells in the intestine to form Vitamin A, a nutrient which provides defence against free radicals and which also stimulates the skin's capacity to repair itself more quickly and effectively after sun damage.

Beta-carotene helps create the red, orange and yellow colours found in many vegetables, fruits and flowers. In the body it supports the production of melanin, which darkens the skin in response to sunlight. The body uses beta-carotene from the diet to protect skin cells from the damaging UV rays that cause sunburn and skin cancer. Studies show that adding beta-carotene to people's diets darkens
skin pigmentation (colouring) and reduces the number of sunburnt cells. Along with sunscreen and wearing a hat, this could help protect us from the adverse effects of sun exposure.

A German study suggested that we need 15 to 30 mg of beta-carotene per day over 3 months to optimize skin protection. That equates to two large portions of lightly cooked carrots per day. It is of course healthier (and safer!) and more effective to get your beta-carotene from natural food sources than to rely on artificial supplements. Beta carotene (from carrots) is better absorbed by the body when cooked, rather than raw.

Eating carrots is, of course, no substitute for taking all sensible precautions against sunburn, and you must remember to use sun protection cream..
Finally, eat too many carrots and your skin will get a nice orange glow without any sun - it's sort of overdose, officially called carotenemia. I would recommend you eat a couple of carrots a day for a couple of weeks before you hit the sun seriously.

29. How long do carrots keep?

About 10 days depending on the conditions - read more here.

30. Why do my carrots taste soapy?

Two ingredients determine a carrot's flavour: sugars and terpenoids (volatile compounds that impart the carrot flavour). Some varieties are naturally high in terpenoids, which make the carrots taste bitter or soapy. Because terpenoids develop earlier than sugars, a carrot that is harvested too young might taste bitter - read more here.  Read more about the tastes of carrots. (pdf)

31. What is the average height and width of an all season carrot?

It all depends on the variety and market requirements. Usually in the supermarkets in the UK the "standard" carrots are around 75g each and about 7 inches long, perhaps 1 3/4 inch diameter at the crown.

But it's only because that is what people expect, or at least what the supermarkets think we expect.

Then there are golf ball size carrots, baby carrots, finger size carrots and extra long carrots. All different sizes and weights.

32. Are Carrots good for your teeth?

Carrots are good for your teeth and gums. In addition to helping combat plaque and tartar, carrots are a good source of vitamins A and C and Calcium. In fact it is one of the best natural sources of calcium. This element is an essential one for good teeth, bones and skin. Carrots have inherent antiseptic qualities which can aid oral health.

Carrot help rid your mouth of food particles but their rough, fibrous texture actually scrubs away as you chew, slightly brightening your smile. Chewing a carrot immediately after food kills all the harmful germs in the mouth. It cleans the teeth, removes the food particles lodged in the crevices and can help prevent bleeding of the gums and tooth decay.

33. Carrot Allergy

There are cases of carrot allergy. some people are allergic to raw carrots but not cooked ones. More in the Museum.

34. How many carbs in carrots?

When raw there are:

•approx 2 carbs per ounce or 28g of baby carrot
•approx 2. 7 carbs per ounce, or 28g, of mature carrot
•approx 10.6 carbs in 1 cup of grated carrot
•approx 12.3 carbs in one cup of chopped carrot
•approx 5.9 carbs in 1 medium size (2.2 oz or 62g) carrot.

When cooked (boiled or steamed) there are:

•approx 2 carbs per ounce of carrot
•approx 6 carbs in a ½ cup of sliced, carrot
•approx 12 carbs in 1 cup of sliced carrot
•approx 3. 8 carbs in one (1.6 oz, 46g) cooked carrot
•approx 1 carb in 1 tablespoon of cooked carrot.

Since carrots are root vegetables, people on low-carb diets often stay away from them. However carrots in moderate amounts are recommended for these reasons: 1) carrots are among the lowest-carb root vegetables (and lower in carbs than many low-sugar fruits, such as strawberries), and 2) they are just packed with nutrients, including the valuable carotenoids. Even just a sprinkling of grated carrots on a salad can provide a real nutrient boost.

Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A and alpha and beta carotene. You can get a whole day's supply of vitamin A from ¼ cup of grated carrot, which is a little over an ounce of carrots. Carrots are also a very good source of vitamin K and a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and have a fair source of other micronutrients.

35. Why do carrots have rings?

They are growth rings - it is because the carrot is a dicot root with their xylem in the center of the root and phloem outside the xylem. The carrot, like beetroot, forms successive cambia, and multiple rings of vascular bundles.

See here for further information and diagram here - http://www.emc.maricopa.edu/faculty/farabee/biobk/BioBookPLANTANATII.html Areas within the plant that are capable of growth (cell division) are called meristems. Primary Growth Primary growth occurs only at the shoot and root tips in areas called apical meristems. Primary growth is responsible for elongating the plant. In areas that contain only primary growth, stem thickness increases by cell enlargement, not by the production of new cells.

Secondary Growth Lateral meristems produce new cells that make the stems and roots thicker. This type of growth is called secondary growth. Secondary growth occurs only during the second and subsequent years and only in woody species.

There are two kinds of lateral meristems, the vascular cambium and the cork cambium. These lateral meristems form as rings within the plant body as the stem increases in thickness.

36. Is Carrot juice good for bodybuilding?

Yes carrot juice would be good for bodybuilding as it is low in sugar and high in vitamins. I am no expert but would think that if you made a smoothie of carrot juice, bananas and spinach that would be a great all round drink, giving many nutritional benefits. Carrot juice alone has a strong flavour so this mixture would also help. Perhaps add apples too.

By the way the best juices for relief of muscle pain from weight lifting are either pineapple or cherry.

You may care to read this website - http://muscle4hardgainers.com/top-reasons-why-you-should-drink-smoothies-everyday/

Remember juiced carrots are better than raw whole carrots!

37. What are…carotenoids?

Carotenoids were first discovered in 1831 when they were isolated in carrots. By 1837 another researcher realized the yellow pigments in autumn leaves were related. This kicked off a flurry of research that extends into a wide variety of fields including chemistry, biochemistry, biology, medicine, and physics to name a few.

Without carotenoids plants would be destroyed soon after sunrise: Their strong antioxidant qualities provide plants with protection against the free radical molecules produced when plants are exposed to sunlight.

Based on the results of numerous studies, it’s becoming more and more clear that carotenoids function similarly to the B-complex of vitamins in that they’re more powerful together than they are alone. Which is why a rich diet with a full array of carotenoids may provide more health benefits than isolating and supplementing with any one individually.

Lots more information in the page dedicated to beta-carotene in the World Carrot Museum - here.

38. Why do carrots make sugar?

Carrots make natural sugar to make energy for the plant to reproduce. A carrot is biennial and therefore when the root is left in the ground for a further year it produces a long stalk and a mass of flower and then seeds.  All this needs energy.
 
Carrots send sugar to their storage organs (the root). This is easy to do as it is sent in a dissolved form and will therefore travel easily along conducting vessels.
For storage purposes the sugar is converted into starch; being non-soluble it is convenient to store in this way. When the plant requires the energy in the  form of sugar it uses an enzyme to do the conversion. The sweetness of carrots and related plants depends on the proportion of sugar still present.  Read more about the tastes of carrots. (pdf)

 

39. Can Dogs eat carrots?

Lots of people wonder if it’s safe to feed their dog certain things, such as carrots. Well, rest assured, carrots are just fine to feed your dog. In fact, some dogs love carrots. You can feed them as a safe and yummy treat. You can use them in homemade dog food. You can add them to your dog’s meals if you feed him a raw food diet. Carrots are find for dogs!
Are Carrots Good for Dogs?
The answer seems to be yes. Carrots have lots of beta-carotene which can provide your dog with vitamin A. In turn, this may help your dog’s vision. (They say it works for rabbits.) There is some suggestion that eating more beta-carotene may help protect again senile cataracts in humans so it’s possible that it could help in dogs, too.

Carrots are good for the liver and they can help the skin in humans. Perhaps it’s possible they can do the same for dogs?

Carrots are a great anti-oxidant and they help fight the aging process in humans. Maybe they can do the same for dogs?

Carrots are wonderful for your teeth and dogs love to munch on them, almost the same way the chew on bones. Eating raw carrots can help your dog keep its teeth cleaner.

Lots of premium dog foods include carrots in their ingredients, so they aren’t a secret. Whether they are a healthy filler for dogs or a delicious part of your dog’s diet, dogs do enjoy eating carrots.

If your dog needs to lose weight you can also add carrots to the diet to help it feel fuller without adding a lot of calories. You can really give your dog lots of carrots and it won’t gain weight. The same is true for green beans (without the sodium). These healthy vegetables are great for your dog.

Of course, dogs get the most out of vegetables if they are pureed so if you really want your dog to get a lot of nutritional benefit from eating carrots you should try pureeing carrots and adding them to its food. He can get the most from them in terms of vitamins then. However, it will lose out on their chewable qualities.

 

40. Can you eat carrot flowers - YES AT YOUR OWN RISK

Your best bet is to read up on survival or self sufficiency foods, a good source from people who have tried and lived to tell the tale!

As I recall from reading such a survival book, wild carrot flowers (and many others ) are edible. The big caveat is, and I cannot emphasise this too much - be absolutely sure it is Wild Carrot as it is very similar to poison hemlock (which killed Socrates!).

Deep fried carrot flower is supposed to be a delicacy - http://www.altnature.com/gallery/Wild_Carrot.htm
So on that basis domestic carrot flowers should be edible too.

My friend from Whats Cooking America has a useful guide for you - http://whatscookingamerica.net/EdibleFlowers/EdibleFlowersMain.htm
And another guide for you - http://www.herbsarespecial.com.au/self-sufficiency/edible-flowers-in-your-garden.html

41. Do Rabbits eat carrots?

The answer is no, wild rabbits don't eat (wild) carrots. Rabbits are herbivorous, and their main diet is composed of various plant leaves and
stems eaten on the surface. They don't dig for food. It wouldn't be efficient, given the poor nutritional value of wild carrot roots. According to the Smithsonian Vertebrate Zoology Department  wild rabbits do not normally dig up carrots. In a cultivated garden they will enjoy the green tops of the carrots, and generally stick to similar tender greens, leaves and twigs. Since they do not hibernate, their winter forage consists mainly of twigs and tender bark on young trees. Rabbits are also coprophagic; that is, they will ingest their own soft droppings in order to recover undigested nutrients, and maintain optimum levels of beneficial intestinal flora.

Carrots are not good for rabbits - Many pet owners interpret the character's favourite food too literally and risk giving their rabbits tooth decay and other health problems, says the RSPCA. The charity said owners were mistakenly using carrots and other salad foodstuffs for rabbits' staple meals, adding that just 8 per cent of owners knew what to feed them. Eleven per cent of pet rabbits suffer from tooth decay and 11 per cent have digestive problems, according to research at the University of Bristol commissioned by the charity.

"Bugs Bunny was wrong," said Rachel Roxburgh, an animal scientist for the charity. "We want all pet rabbits to be eating hay as their main food. People also think their rabbits should eat carrots because that's what Bugs Bunny does. "But he's a cartoon, real rabbits don't talk, and they shouldn't be eating carrots too often either."

The charity has launched a campaign called Hay Fever to encourage owners to feed rabbits correctly. Rabbits do not naturally eat root vegetables, cereals or fruit, and iceberg lettuce can be dangerous. Carrots and apples are high in sugar and should be an occasional treat. The charity recommends giving rabbits good quality hay in daily bundles of about the rabbit's own size and allowing them to graze on growing grass, but not lawn clippings. They should also be given regular handfuls of washed dark greens, such as cabbage, kale and broccoli and small daily portions of commercial pellets or nuggets.
 

42. Why are carrots sweet/how to grow them sweeter?

All carrots (like many vegetables) contain naturally occurring sugars.Carrots contain both carbohydrates and sugar. The word carbohydrate is an umbrella term for single or multiple sugar molecules. Single sugar molecules are known as monosaccharides and include glucose, fructose and galactose. Carrots do contain carbohydrates, because they contain the naturally occurring, simple sugars fructose and glucose.The carbohydrates and sugars found naturally in fruits and vegetables are considered a healthier source than those from refined and processed sources.

When you eat your carbs and sugars from a vegetable, they are accompanied by vitamins, minerals and fiber. When a substantial amount of fiber accompanies the digestion of sugars and carbs, the effect of the sugar on your blood glucose is reduced. Carrots tend to be sweeter if grown in cooler periods and climates, and gain more sugars as they mature in cool conditions. But the best way to get really sweet carrots is to grow the varieties bred for extra sweetness, like Sugarsnax.

If you look in a good seed catalogue you will see plenty of sweet varieties - eg Thompson & Morgan Yes, it is about timing and they should be left in the ground to reach maturity - check the seed packet. They can become bitter and woody if left too long, it's all about maturity and timing. There are lot of variables in growing carrots, for example too much nitrogen can make for hairy and tough carrots, whereas potassium helps promote sweetness. To get more potassium into your soil, spread wood ashes around your soil and dig them in.

43. How many calories in pulp from juicing?

I think it is difficult to estimate but probably a very high proportion is in the juice. Juice is very sweet, pulp is not, the calories lie in the sugars which suggests the juice has a much higher proportion.

According to this article, 100 mg of carrot pulp provides: * 11.7 mg of iron * 293.8 mg of phosphorus * 291.2 mg of calcium * 32g of insoluble fiber and 13g of soluble fiber * 6.2 g of protein http://www.nutriweb.org.my/publications/mjn0016_3/Jamuna265(edSP).rec(i)397-408(pr)RV8.pdf

There also a sort of scientific way here - http://www.ehow.com/how_5155227_count-calories-juicing.html

I would simply weigh the carrots before juicing then weigh the juice and pulp and divide up the result in proportion or the total calories in the carrots.

Confusing, but I hope this helps.

 

44. How do retain the orange color when cooking?

The orange colour in carrots is the carotene, which is a fat soluble element, so if possible cook carrots without any fat.
 
Blanching carrots can slows or stop the enzyme action which can cause loss of flavour, colour and texture. 
 
Sadly you will always lose some colour through boiling carrots in a pan of water, but you could use the water in stock/soup.
 
I find the best way to cook carrots is in the microwave, a process which uses only a tad of water and therefore less colour loss (and retains more nutritional value).
 
The method I use is here: http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/nutrition.html#microwave

You can also add a pinch of salt and soda to the boiling water.  NOTE the Carrot Museum does not recommend adding salt for the sake of color. Many people have too much salt in their diet already.

45. 26 Pesticide Residues were Found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program - read more here

46. Why do I see carrots in vomit?

It seems there are always carrots in vomit.  The crazy thing is, that they seem to be in there even when no carrots have been consumed  Answer - Remember that clearly everything which comes out of your mouth will have been consumed by you. It is a myth that carrots are not digested and remain in the stomach longer than other foodstuffs.

As I understand it, the 'diced carrot' you seen in vomit is one of the bile pigments (bilirubin) which is secreted into the gut just beyond the stomach. Some people think that the "diced carrots" commonly found in vomit are actually parts of the stomach wall lining. Vomiting is such a violent process that bits of it come off. I do not believe this is strictly true!.

47. Why are my carrots slimy in the fridge?

They are going off due to poor storage conditions, post harvest. If you eat them you run the risk of food poisoning (usually from ecoli or salmonella bacteria). It happens to baby carrots more than normal carrots because of the additional processing involved.  Baby cut carrots are made from longer carrots. The skin is taken off and then longer carrots are cut into smaller "baby" carrots.  The skin (as in humans!) is there for a reason, a protective layer. These baby carrots are then washed in a chlorine solution before a final wash in potable water.  This process is an attempt to ward off early degradation of the baby carrots. 

Most carrots are kept and processed in near freezing conditions and once they leave the packing plants experience warmer temperatures which encourage bacterial growth.   Storage conditions in supermarkets is far from ideal, in many cases. In the case of slimy carrots (baby or otherwise) one has to err on the side of caution and throw them away.

48. Are carrots with a green core safe to eat?

Yes they should be ok, probably bitter. They are either still immature or had a nutrient deficiency or change in environmental conditions (sun/rain), during their growth period. Carrots contain pigments that are sensitive to changes in pH balance.

Possibly the crown has been exposed to the sun. The exposed part receives sunlight and develops chlorophyll, causing the top of the carrot and core to turn green. The green parts have a bitter taste. Chlorophyll is not poisonous.

It's different with potatoes which have green parts, that is still chorophyl but the action which cause the green also produces a colourless alkaloid called solanine. The amount of solanine increases with the length of exposure and the intensity of light. That is the poisonous part of "green" potatoes. It does not occur in carrots.

49. Why do carrots go brown, by themselves or when cooked?

When fresh fruits and vegetables are peeled or cut open, the enzyme called polyphenol oxidase (also called tyrosinase) contained in the cells is exposed to and reacts with the oxygen in the air. The reaction that occurs, which is called oxidation, is what turns the fruits and vegetables brown. Even uncut vegetables eventually turn brown as they degrade.

When heated inthe absence of water - This is the "Maillard Reaction" (also known as browning) a type of non-enzymatic browning which involves the reaction of simple sugars (carbonyl groups) and amino acids (free amino groups).

GROWING QUESTIONS

G1. How long can I store carrot seeds?

In a cool dry place for up to 3 years.

G2. I have planted carrots several times with no luck. Why won't they come up?

Do not plant them too deep. Sow the seeds on top of the bed and gently rake them in, covering the seed only about 1/4 inch. Germination will increase as soil temperatures decrease. Keep your planting area moist. Don't crust or harden the soil on top of the bed with direct sprays of water. It takes about 3 weeks for carrot seed to germinate and emerge from the soil. Do not plant carrot seeds deeper than 1/4 inch.

Carrots can have several problems with germination - sometimes all at the same time. First, the seed doesn't keep well in storage, even if that's only for one year.  Check the dates on the packets. Seed stored in a refrigerator has a slightly better germination rate, but the safest tactic is always to plant fresh seed. Unfortunately the germination rate of carrots isn't great anyway compared to the rate of most other vegetables. It's best to plant twice as much carrot seed as you need. Also carrots germinate very slowly. This means that birds and anything else that eats carrot seed can clear it out before it gets around to sprouting. Birds are the most efficient carrot seed eaters. They will actually sit nearby, watch you planting it and scratch it up soon as you're gone. Row covers are a good protection against birds and also against slugs which love munching on carrot seedlings. Just make sure you don't have a slug or two already hiding in the soil under the row cover.

G3. What causes the top of my carrots to be green rather than orange?

Greening of the top of the carrot is caused by sunlight. Heavy rain can wash away the soil from carrot roots exposing them to the sun. An off-flavour is often associated with this green colour. The green colour is the chlorophyll pigment.  Mound the soil around the shoulders of the carrot roots to prevent exposure to the sun.

G4. Why are my garden carrots short and stumpy instead of long and slender like those in grocery stores?

The problem is probably variety selection. The Nantes or Chantenay varieties, which are genetically short and thick, are recommended for home gardening. Those sold at grocery stores are the Imperator type and inherently long and slender. Carrot length can be affected by excessive moisture during growth.

G5. What causes my home garden carrots to be tasteless, woody and often bitter instead of sweet and tender?

Big and old carrots are often described as “woody” - they are in fact just that, containing a larger than normal amount of lignum, the substance that makes wood, wood. As a general rule the larger the core the more woody they taste. 

These problems are associated with growing and environmental conditions during the maturing period. Carrots grow best and develop highest sugars when temperatures are between 40 degrees and 80 degrees F. Carrots are cold hardy, but should be planted so they mature before temperatures drop below 20 degrees F. as damage or death can occur. Moisture stress is also reported to cause small, woody, and poorly flavoured roots.

G6. Each year my spring-planted carrots send up a seed stalk. What am I doing wrong?

Carrots are biennial, growing from seed to flower-producing plants over two years. Carrots or many other biennial crops, such as cabbage, will produce seed stalks the first year if young plants are subjected to cold weather. Carrots which produce seed stalks often lack flavour, are woody and have poor texture.

G7. What causes my carrots to be pale yellow instead of the typical orange colour?

Although there are varietal differences in root colour, this problem could be caused by environmental conditions.

Carrots maturing under warm temperatures or high moisture conditions lack good root colour. These carrots also have poor flavour and texture. Plant carrots so they mature under relatively cool temperatures that average less than 80 degrees F. Avoid excessive soil moisture.

G8. The foliage of my carrots is infected with brown lesions which cause the leaves to decay.

This is a leaf blight of carrots and is caused by two fungi. This can be controlled by spraying with chlorothalonil. Begin at the first sign of the disease and repeat at 10- to 14-day intervals. Extended periods of high humidity caused by dews and intermittent rain contribute to the development of leaf blight of carrots. If not controlled, leaf blight can reduce the yield. Discontinue when weather conditions change.

G9. When I dug my carrots, I found galls or swelling on the roots.

These are root knot nematodes. Root knot is a species of nematode which causes galls or swellings on plant roots. It restricts the uptake of nutrients from the root system to the foliage, resulting in a yellow and stunted plant. Root knot lives in the soil and can survive on a number of weed and vegetable crops. It is best controlled by planting a solid stand (close enough for root systems to overlap) of marigolds three months before the first killing frost of fall and/or planting cereal rye (Elbon) for a winter cover crop. Cereal rye should be shred and tilled into the soil 30 days before planting a spring crop.

G10. The foliage on my carrots looks yellow with multiple sprouting at the crown of the root OR The roots have numerous small roots on the main root.

This is aster yellows, a virus disease of carrots which is carried by leaf hoppers. There is no control for the disease other than a good insect program coupled with removal of the diseased plants once the disease symptoms begin.

G11. My carrots are rotting at the soil line. On close examination, I find the top of the root covered by a white fungal mat.

This is southern blight of carrots. It is a soil-borne disease and can be controlled by combining a good foliage fungicide program, deep burial of organic material so undecomposed leaf tissue is not in the upper zone of the garden soil and rotation.

G12. My carrots die rapidly during the warm months.

This is cotton root rot and is caused by a soil-borne fungus. It attacks carrot roots causing rapid death of the carrot. On close examination of the root system, you will find it to be completely decayed. The only control for this is rotation. Plant carrots so they will mature in cool months. Cotton root rot requires a hot soil to develop and grow at its rapid stage. Planting carrots in the fall and winter months to mature before the soil warms up will reduce losses from this fungus.

G13. Once I harvest my carrots and place them in the crisper, they soon deteriorate into a slimy, foul-smelling mess.

Most often this is associated with bacterial soft rot which enters the carrot at harvest time through cuts and breaks. To control this, wash carrots thoroughly. Broken or damaged carrots should be consumed immediately. After washing, place them in a crisper and keep them at a cool temperature.

G14. What causes my carrots to be forked or double or have minor secondary roots?

Damage to the growing tip of a young carrot. Common causes include soil insects and nematodes which feed on the growing tip resulting in branching of the carrot root. Carrots need a loose, friable soil to develop a good shape. Forking is caused by anything that impedes root growth. This includes nematodes, stones, or heavy, compacted soil. Causes include soil insects and nematodes which feed on the growing tip resulting in branching of the carrot root.

Gardeners are often dismayed when they harvest hairy or misshapen carrots. Imperfect carrots, or carrots with multiple roots – many of them twisted around each other – may come from several causes, including spacing, soil type, fertility, pests and disease.

Your carrots could be overcrowded. Next time, try thinning them to an inch apart after the leaves reach about three inches high.

Did you plant them in clay soil? If you have heavy clay soil, the clay sometimes forces the roots to grow crooked. Amend clay soil in next year’s carrot patch with well-broken down leaves, well-rotted compost. Carrots do well in light (sandy), fluffy soil that is not too full of amendments. Root-knot nematodes may cause deformed carrots. You can either verify this with a soil test and then you might have to solarize (treat soil with the sun’s heat using plastic sheeting in the summer), or rotate your carrots to another area next time.

Did you fertilize right before you planted your carrots? Excess nitrogen (over fertilization) can cause carrots to form multiple roots or get “hairy.” If you add manure-laden compost to your soil, do so in the fall, then let it overwinter before planting carrots in the spring.

Carrot roots will also become hairy in waterlogged ground.

Did you leave your carrots in the ground too long? Carrots are biennials. The first growing season, they grow a taproot. Next they put out secondary roots off the taproot, and then put up the flowering stem the second year. If you planted your carrots last fall, then overwintered them in the ground, they might be sending out whitish secondary roots by now and maybe a stem. Some varieties are more prone to bolting than others.

G15. What affects the colour and shape of carrots?

Even within a variety a carrot's colour and shape can vary according to the type of soil and commencement temperature. Lower temperatures give yellowier carrots and reduced size and shape.

G16. Why do carrots crack or split?

If the carrots are coming out of the ground already split it is because of how they have been watered inappropriately during the growing period.

Carrots are very sensitive to soil moisture levels. Carrots require an evenly-distributed and plentiful soil moisture supply throughout the growing season. When the soil isn't moist enough, the main root develops many small feeder roots so it can soak up any available moisture more efficiently.

At the same time, it forms extra tissue to carry the water, so it becomes tough. On the other hand, if there's too much soil moisture, carrots sometimes split along their whole length. This happens more often when they are close to maturity.
The key to assuring even, sufficient moisture to carrots and other plants is soil that's rich in organic matter, which enables it to hold moisture, yet drain well. Improve your soil by adding chopped leaves, peat moss or compost, if you can get some. Try to keep the soil evenly moist during periods of irregular rainfall by watering regularly and deeply so that the soil does not dry out.

Use mulch to prevent evaporation and run-off of moisture from the soil.  Too much watering and the roots become hairy. If they crack after you have purchased them it is because they have been allowed to dry out. Best keep them in an unsealed cello bag in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator. They contain a lot of moisture when bought but can dry out remarkably quickly. Also remove any greens as quickly as possible as these sap moisture from the carrot.

G17. Can I transplant carrots?

Carrots are difficult to transplant, it is erratic. They can look healthy and strong as a seedling popping out of the ground but rarely progress. It's above 80% failure rate for seedlings. Transplanted carrots may even grow a top but usually fail to make a useful root.  They do not like their roots to be moved, those rare ones which do progress usually give twisted or forked roots. Where people fail is in trying to transplant seedlings from thinnings out, they usually fail.

The key is to transplant the whole plant and surrounding earth, so if you plant in a small pot the whole contents are moved, carefully into a bigger pot with a pre made hole for the transplant. Similarly from the ground, dig well below the carrot plant and take the whole lump elsewhere. Most success is achieved if you plant into a cardboard tube first, then take the whole tube out to re-pot.

If you wish to proceed my suggestion is pull them up carefully when the greens are about one inch in length and transplant them immediately into a hole which has been pre-watered. Otherwise let them grow longer, pull up and eat what you find, a baby carrot!

(The giant growers and record holders all start they prize efforts in smaller pots before transplanting to a big tub.)

G18. My carrots are bitter and have green centres?

Carrots are a cool-season crop. They are sweetest when daytime temperatures are between 60 and 70 degrees and nights are in the 50s. As the temperatures rise, quality is reduced. These vegetables also prefer a loose sandy-loam soil. Soil that is high in clay may be part of your problem.
As the plant and top growth mature, the carrot also grows in size and tries to expand. In heavier soils, the roots push upward instead of downward. The exposed part receives sunlight and develops chlorophyll, causing the top of the carrot and core to turn green. The green parts have a bitter taste. Soil that holds moisture for prolonged periods will also cause problems, including poor colouration.

G19. How long do carrots take to grow?

On average carrot seeds take up to 21 days to start to sprout, and reach maturity about 3 to 6 weeks later - all depending on what carrot variety it is and the growing conditions. They take anything between 55 and 75 days in total to reach maturity (full size).

G20. Why do my carrots bolt (go to flower in first season)

Bolting is triggered either by a cold spell (vernalisation) or by changes in day-length (photoperiod). Unsettled weather conditions early in the season can trigger flowers in the first year. This usually occurs after a prolonged cold spell but cold nights, hot days and late frosts may also contribute to vernalisation

Successional sowings will help to achieve a constant harvestable supply if the season is changeable.
Carrots are cool-weather plants. Growing them in really warm weather results in a woody texture and poor flavour and colour. Growing through the hot summer sometimes results in carrots that have bolted .

Some varieties are bred to be bolt-resistant. For example FI Primo or Valor F1, also I have found the golf ball varieties Parmex or Paris Market rarely bolt. There are a couple of rarer varieties - Redland and Topweight - which are also bolt resistant.

For some reason white carrots seem to do better. My purple and blacks do it more often!

G21. When to pull carrot for best taste

Carrots contain sugars and bitter terpenoids. The sugars develop after the terpenoids. If the carrots are harvested too early, the sugars do not have the necessary time to sweeten the carrots.

A lot depends on the growing conditions (if you grow your own) - the flavour is best if they mature when days are warm and sunny and nights are cool and still. The plant is photosynthesizing like crazy in the daytime and putting a lot of sugars down into the root, then a cool night comes and the carrot 'rests' instead of burning up that sugar. Where the night time temps stay in the 60s or warmer, the plants respire more at night and use up the accumulated sugars. So for the sweetest roots, time your carrot crop to mature at a time of year with warm days and chilly nights. and no matter what the conditions, harvest late in the day rather than in the early morning. (Early October in the UK, south of Scotland!)

Carrots often sweeten up a little if there is a light frost before they are pulled from the ground. So try putting the carrots from the store in the coldest part of the refrigerator for a couple of days, before eating.

After they have reached their mature size, hold off for a while before you start to dig. while carrots are often harvested anytime after the roots begin to colour up, they don't get the good flavour that we all want until a good deal later...even when the root sizes up and starts accumulating reserves, sugar is not the first to arrive. first come a class of compounds called terpenoids. Roots harvested after these compounds have been stored but before sugars have begun to accumulate taste harsh and bitter. It is only when the sugars have built up that we get the full flavour of a first-class carrot, which can take an additional week or two depending on soil moisture and the weather. ..once the sugars peak, it's all downhill for carrots for flavour and texture. Overgrown roots can become tough and woody. so when carrots hit their flavour peak, it's time to dig for the gold.

G 22. What's the difference between hybrid and non-hybrid seeds?

Growing plants can be complicated enough, but some technical terms can make growing plants even more confusing. The terms hybrid seeds and non hybrid seeds are two of these terms. These terms are especially confusing due to a rather heated political debate that is occurring around these terms. Read on to learn more about what are hybrid seeds and non hybrid seeds.

What Are Hybrid Seeds?

Hybrid seeds are produced by companies through careful pollination of two specific varieties. Normally, this highly selective plant breeding is done to bring together two traits in each of the chosen varieties so that the resulting seed has both of the traits.

So, for example, one tomato plant may be very drought tolerant and another tomato plant produces vigorously, the two plants might be cross pollinated to produce a drought tolerant tomato plant that produces a lot of tomatoes.

Plants grown from hybrid seeds typically do not produce seeds that can be used to grow the same type of plants, and can even produce seeds that will not grow at all.

Though the term “hybrid seeds” is often used in relation to vegetables, any kind of plant that produces seeds can be bred into a hybrid variety.

What Are Non Hybrid Seeds?

Non hybrid seeds are also called open pollinated seeds or heirloom seeds. Non hybrid seeds come from plants that are naturally pollinated. Some of these varieties have been around for centuries.

Non hybrid seeds will produce plants whose seeds will produce more plants that look the same as the parent plant.

Should I Use Hybrid Seeds Or Non Hybrid Seeds?

Despite the debate on the internet as to whether you should use hybrid seeds or not, this is actually a personal question for a gardener. Both hybrid seeds and non hybrid seeds have their pros and cons.

The positives for hybrid seeds are that they tend to perform better in your garden in terms of more fruits and vegetables produced, more plants surviving disease and pests and more flowers. For a gardener, this can mean an increased return for all the time spent in caring for a garden.

The negatives for hybrid seeds are that they tend to be more expensive to buy due to the specialized pollination process and the seeds you collect from them will not grow the same plant next year and, in some cases, have been bred so that no plant at all can grow from the seeds of a hybrid plant.

The positives for non hybrid seeds is that they come in a wonderful variety. For example, with tomato plants, there are literally thousands of non hybrid varieties that you can try and each have their own look and flavour. Because of the cost and time involved in producing hybrid seeds, there are only a few dozen varieties so your choices are limited.

With non-hybrid seeds, you can also collect seeds from the plant and use them again next year to grow the same variety of plant.

The negatives for non hybrid seeds is that they are not as well rounded as hybrid seeds. Many non hybrid seeds are much more susceptible to disease and pests than their hybrid counterparts. They also tend not to produce nearly as much as hybrid seeds do.

Which is right for you depends on what you would like out of your garden. Consider carefully which type of seed is best for you.

G23 Why are my carrot roots crooked?

The soil in which you plant your carrots has to be well dug before planting, to a depth deeper than you expect your carrots to grow. there should be no stones or clay in the soil, and it should be free draining, a touch sandy is ideal. That is the reason why carrots, of any colour do not grow straight, because of an obstruction in the ground.  The roots try to find the easiest path downwards, so will twist and turn to avoid physical. resistance,
 
Carrots which have been transplanted often also grow crooked, or not at all.
 
Also carrots planted too close together will produce crooked roots, as they compete for the same space, underground.  When the carrot tops are about 2 inches high, you should thin then out to 4 inches apart, minimum.

 

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