Most People Don’t Realise That Orange Carrots Are A Modern Invention. Carrots Naturally Come In A Range Of Colours – White And Yellow From Europe, And Purple From The Middle East Where Agriculture Originated About 11000 Years Ago. This Article Is about Unusual Carrot Varieties.
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Unusual Carrot Varieties
Below I list just a handful of the many thousands of Unusual Carrot Varieties available today. I used to live on the Fens where carrots were produced in the light Fen based soils by the thousand tons. Mos too us will grow far fewer, but they are a very productive veg crop giving a good weight of crop per square metre. But the main reason to grow them, for me, is the flavour. Nothing beats a fresh garden grown carrot in my book.
“Giant Red” Dark Orange Carrot
The first thing to know about this carrot is that it isn’t very red. It’s an Italian variety that has great vigour and flavour and very quickly produces large carrots with long pointy roots.
Giant Red is good for early crops and for main crop sowings and storage over winter.
‘Jaune Obtuse de Doubs’ Yellow Carrot
This one isn’t pointy, its obtuse, a blunt ended carrot from Doubs.
High up in the mountains of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region of France, close to the Swiss border, is Doubs. It’s a small place with just a few hundred people last century, though today it has around 3000 inhabitants. But for me its real claim to fame is its carrot. The “Jaune Obtuse de Doubs’
This is an old French traditional variety that’s easy to dig without it shaping off. And excellent for No Dig as it’s much easier to pull without digging.
Yellow carrots stay yellow when cooked and look great in salads when sliced or grated.
Time from sowing to harvest is 3-4 months. and they can be sown early under covers well.
‘Blanche a Collet Vert’ White & Green Carrot
This is a traditional white variety from Belgium. The carrots are mainly white, and the top inch or so is green, so they are actually bicolour when pulled up – very pretty both cooked and raw. They are also slightly resistant to carrot fly.
‘Dragon Purple’ Carrot
This one is sweet with a good carroty flavour. And, as the name suggest, it’s a purple carrot – just like thrones that were first domesticated in the Middle East several thousand years ago.
This was an extremely rare heirloom orange carrot, but is now widely available. Its been chosen for its quick growth, uniform roots, and particularly rich taste and is claimed to be from North Africa and to have heat tolerance and be slow to bolt.
This is a quick growing French heritage variety. from the 1700s. It’a another obtuse or blunt ended carrot, this time with a Nantes type heritage. It stores well overwinter but is also a great fresh carrot with good flavour.
This is a great old French variety, grown in the past in Eysines, which is now an outskirt of Bordeaux. It starts as a long thin, medium sweet carrot with a decent orange colour throughout. But, leave it to mature and it is a huge fat carrot with a unique conical shape. Very high yielding.
“Manchester Table” Carrot
In England we also often name veg after towns, cities and areas. We have Cheltenham beet and
here are Manchester carrots. It’s an old English variety with good crack resistance, excellent full bodied flavour and strong tall tops.
Apparently this variety became very rare and was resurrected from some remaining English sources and now available from several UK seed companies. Garden Organic sourced theirs from a donor that obtained his from Australia or NZ where is is still commercially available.
When I read about these various souring stories I often wonder if they are the same variety, and if so how much genetic drift is apparent. .
Atomic Red Carrots
Another bright red variety, this time with a sweet, tangy flavour.
Pusa Asita Black Carrots
Black carrots with a slightly earthy flavour.
Cosmic Purple Carrots
A deep purple carrot with a sweet, nutty flavour. They are a good source of anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that have been linked to various health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Purple Dragon Carrots
Another dark purple carrot but this time with a white tip. They have a sweet, earthy flavour. The darker carrots tend this way.
White Satin Carrots
After darker carrots here’s a white one. These carrots are pure white and have a slightly sweet, nutty flavour.
It’s interesting that the Romans allegedly confused carrots and parsnips. Seeing these it is hardly surprising.
Lunar White Carrots
Another white carrot variety but with a purple blush.
These carrots are canary yellow and have a sweet, slightly nutty flavour. The Yellowstone name refers to the colour and not the US national park …. as far as I know!
It’s an F1 carrot … though none of the organic seed sellers I see mention this.
These carrots are a mix of different colours, from yellow and purple to orange and red.
Carrots Carrots Everywhere .. Many Unusual Carrot Varieties
I doubt there are many countries where carrots aren’t available today, and many will be from Unusual Carrot Varieties. but of course what one person thinks an Unusual Carrot Variety others will consider as being an everyday common variety.
Whichever carrot you decide to grow .. enjoy it.
Image attribution Tomasz Sienicki [user: tsca, mail: tomasz.sienicki at gmail.com], CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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