Yes, it’s true that cultivated carrots used to regularly be purple, and on that note, we open up “5 More Things You May Not Know About Carrots” with a little history as to why that was the case:
1. Carrots are orange for political reasons.
Prior to the 17th century, there was a thousand year history of yellow, white and purple carrots. It is alleged that in the 17th century, Dutch growers cultivated orange carrots as a tribute to William of Orange, who led the struggle for Dutch independence. (Note: some contend that there is no documented evidence to confirm the this but there is absolute truth to the various colors of the carrot)
2. Carrots were first grown as a medicine not a food.
It’s easy to see why. Carrots are rich in beta carotene (a powerful antioxidant which helps in maintaining healthy skin), alkaline elements (purifies and revitalizes the blood), and potassium. They also help fight tooth decay and aid digestion, among many other things. Yay, carrots!
3. The average person eats about 12 pounds of carrots each year.
If you do math (and you don’t need to, because we already have), the average person will consume 10,866 carrots in a lifetime. Don’t try to be a show off and eat 10,867 - show some other vegetables a little bit of love.
4. Carrots were the first vegetable to be canned commercially.
In 1810, an Englishman named Peter Durand was granted a patent for the idea of preserving food in “vessels of… tin or other metals or fit materials.” Durand’s concept was to create containers out of tin - which were eventually used to store food (like carrots) in them.
5. Wild rabbits do not eat carrots.
Or at least, they shouldn’t. Carrots are high in sugar, and rabbits don’t naturally eat root vegetables and fruit. Rabbits can subsist on a diet of mainly hay, grass and some leafy greens. The association we have of rabbits and carrots likely comes from Bugs Bunny. Speaking of which…
BONUS FACT: Mel Blanc, the famous voice of Bugs Bunny, reportedly did not like carrots.