Are carrots man-made? Let’s explore carrots

Most people think of carrots as an orange vegetable. Amazingly, there are also purple, red, black yellow and white varieties.

When we go back in history, the early ancestors of carrots (which were just viewed as plants) were originally cultivated for their leaves and seeds. The carrot which we are familiar with today, only came about in the early 17th century when Dutch growers cultivated a slightly different variant of carrot… the orange carrot!

So the reason why you’re here is that you want to know if carrots are man-made. In this article, we going to define what man-made means and also go into detail about the following queries:

  • The history and origin of carrots.

  • Whether or not carrots are man-made.

  • Why carrots are now orange.

  • Benefits of carrots.

  • Our final thoughts.

Are carrots man-made snippet image

Table of Contents

Where Do Carrots Come From?

Carrot (Daucus carota sspp. sativus), is one of the most widely grown vegetables across the world and a major source of dietary provitamin A, is drawing more interest for genetic modification. So let’s start with Queen Anne’s Lace… I can hear you thinking “what has the shoe of a famous monarch got to do with carrots being man-made”? Stick with me, all will become clear.

What is Queen Anne’s lace?

The scientific name for “Queen Anne’s Lace is Dacus “Carata”. If you were to look at the root of this plant, it would look a lot like a carrot that has been peeled.

In fact, Queen Anne’s lace is a wild “mother-like” ancestor of the domesticated carrot that we eat today.

Queen Anne’s lace is native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia but can now be found in other countries too including the USA. It’s one of our oldest crops and dates back to the 16th century and is believed to be one of the first cultivated vegetables that was bread for the purpose of human consumption.

carrot farming

The History of Carrots

So essentially white carrots are rute vegetables meaning it grows underground. Carrots used to be the same drab shade as other root veggies, take turnips and parsnips for example, they’re a dull white!

You won’t find many brightly colored veggies growing underground.

Iran and Afghanistan

Old school carrots date back to Iran and Afghanistan when they were white, but a thousand plus years ago – purple and yellow carrots were the ones that took centre stage.

William I and the uprising of the orange carrot

Fast forward to the 17th century when orange colored carrots were introduced and for this, you can thank the Dutch. In the 17th century, Dutch growers managed to cultivate a slightly different variant of carrot which was orange in color.

The reason for this is that they bred them to honor William of Orange-Nassau. Up until this point, carrots had been mostly white or purple.

As a mark of respect, the growers popularised the orange-coloured vegetables as not only a nod to William I but also as the epitome of ethos, power and beliefs. What better way to show praise to a dynasty than by colouring a vegetable after them?

But how did they become orange because they certainly didn’t paint them…

hybrid vegetable

How did carrots become orange?

Carrots were very popular in those days, and the Dutch were excellent at producing them. These farmers came up with a method for growing orange carrots that would amaze the world.

They grew carrots with more beta carotene in them, which they dubbed the royal carrot. Now, we must tell you that some experts believe the Dutch were not the first to cultivate orange carrots, and they were widespread during the Roman Empire.

Others will say that wild carrots have joined together in their white, yellow, and purple colors to produce orange babies. What is unquestionably true, however, is that the Dutch farmers ran with the orange colored carrot idea and it definitely stuck!

Are carrots man-made?

Yes, the orange ones are because of the farmers isolating carotene (the orange color) utilizing selective breeding. However this is a difficult question to answer with 100% certainty as there are many different types of carrots, and it’s hard to know which ones are natural and which ones have been manipulated with by humans.

That being said, most experts believe that carrots are, in fact, man-made – kinda. This is because they have been bred and cultivated by humans for centuries in order to create the perfect orange carrot.

For example, as we mentioned before, orange carrots were only introduced in the 17th century. Prior to this, they were mostly white or purple. So it’s safe to say that humans have had a hand in changing the color of carrots over the years.

Benefits of Carrots

Now that we know a little more about the history of carrots, let’s take a look at some of their benefits.

  • Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A: This is probably the most well-known benefit of carrots. Vitamin A is great for your eyesight and also helps to keep your skin healthy.
  • Carrots can help to lower cholesterol: The fiber in carrots can help to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. This, in turn, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Carrots can improve digestive health: The high level of fiber in carrots is also beneficial for digestive health. It helps to keep things moving along smoothly and prevents constipation.
  • Carrots can boost your immune system: Vitamin Ais also important for a strong immune system. It helps the body to fight off infection and disease.
  • Carrots are good for your skin: The beta carotene in carrots is converted into Vitamin A in the body. This vitamin is important for healthy skin, hair, and nails.
  • Carrots can help to prevent cancer: The antioxidants in carrots can help to protect cells from damage and prevent the development of cancerous tumors.
  • Carrots are anti-inflammatory: The phytonutrients in carrots have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce swelling and pain associated with conditions like arthritis.
  • Carrots can improve brain function: The nutrients in carrots have been shown to improve cognitive function and memory.
  • Carrots improve your eyesight: As we mentioned before, carrots are rich in Vitamin A. This vitamin is essential for healthy eyesight. Carrots can also reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
purple carrots

Final thoughts

Carrots were originally orange in color, but Dutch farmers were able to manipulate the original carrot vegetable through selective breeding to create the many forms we have today. This procedure also helped to improve carrots’ flavor.

Carrots naturally had purplish or whitish colorings. However, as a consequence of selective breeding on the white and purple cultivars of Wild Carrot, the modern-day orange carrot, which everybody is aware of was born… Three cheers to William 1 and his noble Dutch farmers!

yellow carrots

People Also Ask

Where did the carrots come from?

They were originally recorded in Iran and Afghanistan. The carrot is a root vegetable, usually orange in color, though purple, red, white, and yellow varieties exist. Carrots are a domesticated form of the wild carrot, Daucus carota, native to Europe and southwestern Asia.

Are broccoli and carrots man-made?

Artificial selection and hybridization have produced many of the world’s most well-liked vegetables. Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and collard greens are all examples of plants that came from the mustard plant. Carrots and cucumbers, on the other hand, received a fresh appearance through selective breeding.

Is cucumber man-made?

Cucumbers are classified as a vegetable and are also the result of human intervention. Cucumber agriculture has been practised for more than 3,000 years.

growing cucumber
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Oliver Wright

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