Carrot Questions and Answers

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Common Carrot Questions and Answers

The most common question:

Why a Carrot Museum? – Answer: Just like mountaineers when asked why they climbed a mountain – because it’s there – the World Carrot Museum was created because it wasn’t there. I wanted to create a website, then looked for a subject which would educate, amuse and inform. I love bizarre museums and when I looked there was no museum about carrots, so I decided to make one. The rest is history.

It is first virtual museum in the world entirely devoted to the history, evolution, science, sociology and art of Carrots. The mission is to educate, inform and amuse visitors through the discovery, collection, preservation, interpretation and exhibition of objects relating to the Carrot. This site provides lots of interesting and useful information about the humble carrot.

What is a carrot? - Answer: 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 below here.  All about juice here.

Or Ask a Carrot Question 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? (weight, height, length)
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 to retain the orange colour 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? 50. Why do carrots taste sweeter in winter?
22. How Do I grow a giant carrot? 51. Do carrots weigh more after they are cooked?
23. What vitamins and minerals does carrot juice contain? 52. Does grating, cutting or slicing carrots affect flavour?
24. Is carrot juice safe to drink for expecting mothers? 53. Can the skin absorb Vitamin A through topical application?
25. Can long term carrot juice intake stain your teeth? 54. Can I freeze the carrots?
26. Which Carrot is Best for juice? 55. What affects the colour and shape of carrots?
27. Is too much carrot juice unhealthy for you? 56. What are the potential disadvantages of eating carrots?
28. Do carrots help with a sun tan or sun burn? 57. Can you eat carrot seeds?
29. How long do carrots keep? 58. Can I eat nematode infected carrots?
59. How do carrots absorb water? 60. Carrot can help with period pain
61. Are carrots fresh in the shops? 62. Why are some carrots more crunchy than others?
63. Why do my carrots turn black after purchase? 64. Can carrots restore hair? Also hair colour
65. Are carrots genetically modified? 66. Is a white cored carrot safe to eat?
67. Why are carrots sometimes cracked when purchased.  

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?

G24 Why is the core in my Nantes type carrots yellow and not orange?

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 6 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 1500s. 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 some waste produced from the process, which mainly goes for animal fodder, sometimes for juicing or carrot powder.

Baby carrots are first cut the carrots into two- inch segments. After inspection and grading for defects and size, the carrots are peeled and polished. This mechanical process uses no chemicals, food additives or preservatives.

The carrots are then washed in water that is treated with a small amount of chlorine, then soaked and rinsed with potable water before being packaged. Baby carrots, like bagged salad mixes and other “ready to eat” fresh vegetables, are rinsed in this diluted chlorine solution to inhibit bacterial growth that naturally occurs in water. Carrots are then hydro-cooled to 34 degrees. Just prior to packaging, they are injected less than half-an-ounce of water into the bag to help keep the carrots moist.(source Grimmways)

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.

How many carrots does it take for your skin to take on an orange tint? It all depends on both the person and the level of beta carotene in the carrots they are consuming, but on average it's thought that one must consume about 20 milligrams per day (or, three large carrots) for carotenemia to set in.

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.

There are lots of old wives tales about this, and usually you find there is some truth in these tales, and it might well work for some people..

However I only go on empirical evidence and I have never seen any scientific report proving this claim. Hair turning grey is down to age and genetics, not diet.


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" was first recorded in English around 1530 and was borrowed from Middle French carotte, itself from Late Latin carōta, from Greek καρωτόν karōton, originally from the Indo-European root *ker- (horn), due to its horn-like shape. In Old English, carrots (typically white at the time) were not clearly distinguished from parsnips, the two being collectively called moru or more (from Proto-Indo-European *mork- "edible root", German for carrot is Möhre). Various languages still use the same word for "carrot" as they do for "root"; e.g. in Dutch it is wortel.

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