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"The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution." - Paul Cezanne.
So that's where the Occupy movement is going wrong. Not enough carrots! But it’s certainly worth taking a fresh look at this intriguing root vegetable which comes in a wide range of colours, shapes and sizes!
Of course, here in the UK, we’re all used to seeing chunks of vivid, bright orange carrot on our dinner plate, but did you know that you can also find purple, red, white and yellow varieties? In fact, the carrot only came to be orange in Holland in the 16th century, as a tribute to the royal House of Orange and the Dutch struggle for independence from the Spanish empire.
Carrots actually get their unique colour from a pigment called beta-carotene which is also found in other fruit and veg such as melons, mango and pumpkins. You’ll also find it in egg yolks (can you spot a colour pattern here?). You may also be surprised to hear that some green vegetables, such as broccoli and spinach, also contain beta-carotene. However, the green pigment chlorophyll masks the orange produced by beta-carotene. Orange broccoli or spinach anyone?
Because of the abundance of beta-carotene in carrots, they are a good source of Vitamin A, which will help maintain healthy skin and tissues, good eyesight and can help improve night vision… although it’s definitely not a good idea to eat too many carrots in order to see in the dark – you’ll most likely turn orange in the process! Carrots are also a good source of Vitamin C, dietary fibre and anti-oxidants. (Anti-oxidants are substances which may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals!)
To discover more about the history and power of carrots try the Carrot Museum's website! For yet more information and a little bit of fun stuff.