This popular root vegetable native to Europe and southwestern Asia is healthy, stores well for a long time, and is very versatile.

There are two broad categories of carrots – eastern and western.
Western carrots emerged in the Netherlands in the 15 – 16th centuries and have been cultivated ever since. Many varieties were bred in France and elsewhere in Europe.

Today, in North America, Texas A and M University continues to breed carrot strains to satisfy the demands of farmers and consumers.

There are more than 65 varieties of carrots including Japanese imperial log, Nate’s coreless, scarlet, Nantes, little finger, red core chautenay, autumn king, early grow, kingwest, majestic red, Pakistani and tip top.

Carrots are low in calories, high in water; contain approximately five per cent sugar, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, rich in vitamins C and B6.

This popular vegetable is generally orange in colour, but white, red and purple carrot strains have been bred for variety, different taste, and texture. Some are long and slender; others are short and cylindrical, just to name a few. Of late, baby carrots have become popular in restaurants for presentation and their tenderness.


are grown in China (largest producer in the world), followed by Russia, the U S A, the United Kingdom, practically all northern European countries, and Canada.

Overgrown carrots develop a though core and should be used only for purees and stock.


are versatile and can be grated for salads, sliced and sautéed, cubed and used for soups (cream or clear), used to colour rice, noodle dishes, boiled and dressed, in pastries i.e carrot cake, muffins, and even processed to jam as is often done in Portugal.

Carrots should be clipped and stored in a cool, dry place although today most people refrigerate carrots, but cellar temperature is more appropriate for long storage.

Carrots are available fresh – in bunches or cellophane bags varying in weight. There are also baby carrots in bags, but beware of carrots shaped like baby carrots, which may be those from, overgrown ones.

Canned and frozen carrots are also available, but not recommended if fresh are in season at low cost.

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