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Why are carrots orange? The Dutch & carrots.

Updated on October 6, 2011

Carrots are often a daily part of our lives. They appear on our plates in roasts, mashes, boiled or broiled. They can even be found in sweet desserts such as carrot cakes.

Of course we don't often think about the color of carrots. Most of us have grown up with the knowledge that a carrot is orange - just as a tomato is red and a banana is yellow.

Our parents tell us that eating carrots will make our eyesight better and give us all kinds of healthy vitamins only found in orange foods.

Of course, some people would like to know why exactly carrots are orange - what gives this pigmentation to the long, oval pointed vegetables that make up a big part of our lives?

This photo isn't changed in any way. Carrots really do come in a range of colors including red, white, yellow, purple and orange.
This photo isn't changed in any way. Carrots really do come in a range of colors including red, white, yellow, purple and orange.

Why are carrots orange?

We can blame the Dutch. William of Orange led a fierce battle for the independence of Holland in the 1700s. The local farmers wished to pay tribute to the person who had freed them and created an orange carrot.

This is also the reason that, despite the Dutch flag being blue white and red, the people wear orange to many important events such as sporting events.

You might be surprised to learn that carrots originally came in and are still available in, a range of bright colors including purple, red, black, white and yellow.

However these days, the most common carrot variety is the Orange Horn Carrot, descended from the Long Orange Dutch Carrot.

What do Purple, Red, Black and Yellow Carrots Taste Like?

Of course, many people are curious about how these uniquely colored carrots. Well they certainly don't taste like vegemite! Sadly, for those after a unique taste, carrots all taste about the same - although other varieties of carrots are said to be drier and often not as sweet as their orange cousins.

Photo thanks to  mararie on Flickr

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