The Colorful Array of Carrots

Purple carrots have been around since the beginning of time, but we are just starting to appreciate their beauty.

Carrots were first cultivated in Afghanistan approximately 1,100 years ago and the flesh of these carrots was purple. It wasn’t until the 16th century when the Dutch starting selecting specific carrot seeds that bred specifically for an orange colored carrot. Prior to this time carrots were broken down into two categories:

1.    Eastern/Asiatic Carrots

The taproots of these carrots had traditional purple flesh due to the anthocyanins which are naturally occurring pigments in the tissue of the plant. Yellow carrots were also part of this grouping. The foliage was typically grey-green and these varieties had a tendency to bolt quicker than newer genetics.

2.    Western Carrots

The taproots of these carrots were red, orange or white. It is thought that this group derived from the Eastern carrots through selection. The red and orange carrots are considered natural mutations of yellow carrots. Western carrots were also referred to as carotene carrots and are throught to have been first cultivated in the Netherlands during the 16th or 17th century. White carrots are the closest related to the wild carrot (Queen Anne’s Lace) in coloration.

Root Vegetables: Carrots, Beets, Parsnips

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Carrot ‘Parmex’

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Carrot 'Infinity’ F1

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Carrot ‘Purple Haze’ F1

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening

Carrot 'Bangor’ F1

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Carrot ‘Flyaway’ F1

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Carrot ‘Carson’ F1

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Beet ‘Boltardy’

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Beet ‘Pablo’ F1

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Beet ‘Chioggia Pink’

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Beet ‘Forono’

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Parsnip ‘Gladiator’ F1

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Parsnip ‘Tender and True’

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Now that we know that carrots come in a variety of different colors from purple, orange, red, yellow and white. Let’s explore all the different types of varieties available to grow from seed:

‘Kaliescope Mix’ – This seed packs comes loaded with a beautiful mix of carrots and will result in a harvest of every color that there is to offer. The mix includes ‘Atomic Red', ‘Bambino’, ‘Cosmic Purple’, ‘Lunar White’ and ‘Solar Yellow’. Can you imagine it! As you are harvested your carrots in your garden during the summer it will be as colorful as a rainbow. 

‘Rainbow Mix’ – This mix is the same as above, but just called by a different name. However, it has the five same carrot varieties as listed above in the ‘Kaliescope Mix’. 

‘Carnival Blend’ – Beautiful blend of carrots giving the gardener an assortment of colors to harvest. All of these mixes are really ideal for kids who don’t necessary like eating their vegetables. 

However, maybe you would just like to grow one color of carrots in your garden this year. Here are some other colorful varieties are loved by many gardeners:

‘Atomic Red’ – Gardeners share that it is one of the best and sweetest carrots that they have grown. This brilliant, red carrot is high in lycopene, which studies show help to prevent many forms of cancer. This variety is rated very well with gardeners who have previously grown it. 

‘Solar Yellow’ – Gorgeous, bright yellow flesh that is sweet and crisp. Really a standout carrot when it comes to foodies and gardeners alike. Brightens the bowls of salad and the conversation that will be started at dinner tables. 

‘Pusa Asita Black’ – Coming from incredible breeding work done in India. This almost black carrot is delicious roasted with other root vegetables. The dark purple color is naturally occurring pigment in carrots called anthocyanins. Grows extremely well in rocky soil and well suited for southern gardens. Recommended to let some carrots go to flower to collect seeds and share with other gardeners for planting the next year. 

‘Purple Haze’ – This variety is an All-American Seed winner and the first purple Imperator-shaped carrot to be introduced. A great variety to get kids interested in eating their veggies as the centers are orange and encased with a purple exterior. Beautifully when cut into coins and placed on top of a raw salad or as crudité. 

 ‘Snow White’ – White varieties were very common during the middle ages up until the 19th century when they started to become more and more scare. White carrots are becoming popular again among gardeners. This variety is a creamy, white carrot with a delicious, mild flavor that many gardeners state to be licorice-like. It has a shocking white color that is anyone will find to be gorgeous. 

When searching for seeds online it is best to put the cultivar or variety name in quotes followed by carrot seeds. This will help you to find all available sources to purchase the seeds. Some of these unique seeds can be found at your local garden centers, but if not there finding them online is always a very likely possibility. 

Next Up

Are There Black Carrots?

The first carrots to be recorded historically into cultivation were purple carrots. Improvements in time have led to purple carrots that look very black in color.

Are There Yellow Carrots?

Yellow carrots date back to the 900s and were the original color of carrots along with purple.

Are There Purple Carrots?

Purple carrots have been around since the beginning of time, but we are just starting to appreciate their beauty.

Are There Round Carrots?

French, Parisian carrots were the round carrots of our ancestors being introduced in the States around 1861.

Are There Red Carrots?

Red, orange and white carrots were the first colors to make it into western cuisine. It is possible that your ancestors grew and harvested these very colorful carrots before the orange variety was dominant in society.

When to Harvest Carrots

Three great ways to know when to harvest your carrot crop.

How are Baby Carrots Grown?

Baby carrots are not grown, but made.

When to Plant Carrots

Carrots are sown in the early spring to be harvested in the summer.

What Are the Different Types of Carrots?

There are four different categories of carrots – learn them here.

How to Store Fresh Carrots

There are several ways to store fresh carrots that are either from your garden or the grocery store.

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