Text by Cheryl Teo @ Makansutra
Though we commonly associate carrots with the colour orange, these vegetables used to be yellow or even white. In fact, its original colour was actually purple!
Carrots are believed to have originated from Afghanistan some 5000 years ago and it used to be almost always purple before mutations changed its colour to yellow and white ones. Grown in the wild, these carrots had bitter roots and a pale exterior, unlike the sweeter and more colourful carrots we know today.
Orange carrots are a relatively recent phenomenon, appearing only in the 16th century.
The origins of the orange carrot are not clear. Some say Dutch farmers took mutated carrots and developed them into the modern orange version. There were also other claims that orange carrots were a natural mutation – a result of the mixing of different coloured wild carrots together.
Studies on carrots have shown that beta carotene causes the orange tint in modern-day carrots. A natural chemical pigment, it converts to vitamin A after consumption and aids healthy skin and night vision.
Don’t get too carried away though as over-consumption of carrots causes carotenosis. Though benign, it results in your skin having an orangey tint!
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