Monday 19th 2009
3rd February 2009 is National Carrot Day
Eyes right for a right royal vegetable
To most of us, carrots are a common vegetable, however in past times they have been closely associated with kings and queens, so perhaps the 3rd February should be called Royal Carrot Day.
Although carrots have been eaten for thousands of years, the original varieties grown were white, red, yellow or purple. The orange carrots we know and love today, are the result of Dutch scientists cross breeding a yellow variety which came from North Africa with a red variety back in the 1500s.
Whilst the main purpose of the hybridisation was to create a sweeter more palatable root, the new variety was quickly adopted as the national vegetable of the Dutch Royal House of Orange, particularly in recognition of William of Orange (1533Ė84) and the Dutch fight for independence from Spain.
Carrots are also said to have been a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, who was supposedly given a wreath of baby carrots studded with diamonds by a courtier. Even the wild carrot, despite being no better than a weed, bears a royal name Ė Queen Anneís Lace.
If their royal connections donít cut any ice, itís as well to remember that they are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which not only helps provide protection against macular degeneration by helping to reduce the harmful effects of ultraviolet light but is also associated with reducing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Furthermore, carrots are a good source of fibre, potassium and Vitamin C, contain phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, and calcium and just as importantly, are relatively cheap and available most of the year.
Interesting carrot facts
∑The largest carrot ever grown weighed 18.99 pounds
∑The longest carrot ever recorded was nearly 17 feet long.
∑A poll conducted in 2005 showed carrots to be the UKís third favourite vegetable.
∑The Ancient Greeks names the carrot philtron, which translated means "love charm"
∑Orange carrots get their colour from beta carotene
If you're stuck
for ideas, www.Recipes4us.co.uk has a huge collection of recipes
using carrots, including the one pictured here for glazed
A high resolution photograph is available to accompany glazed carrot recipe on request or downloadable at www.recipes4us.co.uk/Press%20recipes%20with%20Pictures.htm, For those with an online presence a video is also available.
For more information contact
Florence Sandeman, Publisher, Recipes4us.co.uk
Note to Editors
Recipes4us.co.uk was launched in 2000 and is one of the UK's largest privately owned independent food websites, covering all aspects of food, from growing to cooking plus culinary related information.
Definition of Beta
Carotene : Beta-carotene is the molecule that gives carrots
their orange colour. It is part of a family of chemicals called
the carotenoids, which are found in many fruit and vegetables,
as well as some animal products such as egg yolks.
Biologically, beta-carotene is most important as the precursor
of vitamin A. It also has anti-oxidant properties.
Source: www.chm.bris.ac.uk (Bristol University)
Definition of "antioxidant" - A substance that prevents damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that often contain oxygen. They are produced when molecules are split to give products that have unpaired electrons. This process is called oxidation.
For further information, recipes or graphics please contact Florence Sandeman.
Contact: Florence Sandeman