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Purple carrot

January 15, 2021
healthy benefits of purple carrot

Did you know that before the 17th century almost all carrots were deep purple? Although the market is currently dominated by the orange carrot, the purple carrot is regaining popularity as consumers learn a little more about its health benefits. Keep reading below to know its origin , main characteristics , properties and forms of consumption , among other interesting information about this peculiar tuber.

What is the purple carrot?

The purple carrot (Daucus carota subsp. Sativus) is a type of carrot native to Afghanistan, where it was first cultivated more than 1,000 years ago. From there it spread to the rest of the world by the hand of Arab merchants, becoming popular throughout Europe and Asia. Contrary to what many believe, there is evidence that the purple carrot was the original carrot , and that the orange varieties only originated later, when the cultivation took hold in other regions.

More details on this topic in: What is the origin of the carrot?

The unique color of purple carrots is due to their high anthocyanin content, in the same way that it occurs in blueberries, blackberries, beets and purple sweet potatoes . Anthocyanins are flavonoid pigments that give many fruits and vegetables not only that vibrant hue, but also excellent health properties.

Although the exterior is a deep purple, almost black hue, the center of the root is usually yellow or orange. Some of the more popular purple varieties are:

  • Purple Haze
  • Indigo
  • Garnet
  • Purple Dragon
  • Cosmic purple
  • Dutch purple

General characteristics of the purple carrot

  • It belongs to the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family (the carrot is the most important species within this group).
  • The tuber of the purple carrot is usually thick, medium in size and has a rounded or conical tip (depending on the variety).
  • The color of its skin and external flesh is intense purple, very dark, but in some varieties this intensity is almost completely lost in the central part of the root.
  • The taste of the purple carrot is very similar to its counterparts; it has a mix of spicy and sweet undertones, and its texture is just as crunchy.
  • Its cultivation is usually done by sowing seeds.
  • Like other types of carrots, purple is rich in vitamins, minerals, and healthy compounds. It has even been observed that its antioxidant power is superior to that of the orange carrot.

Nutritional properties

When analyzing the nutritional profile of purple carrots, we see that they also contain vitamin C, K, A, E, B vitamins, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, iodine, dietary fiber, and antioxidant compounds. In fact, they have an exceptional content of lutein, beta-carotene and phenolic compounds, such as anthocyanins (unique to purple fruits and vegetables). The purple carrot has more phenols than any other variety , with the exception of black carrots.1

Regarding the caloric intake, it is considered a very low-calorie food , with only 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates per cup.

7 healthy benefits of purple carrot

Due to the high content of antioxidants and dietary fiber that we find in this carrot, its consumption has been linked to numerous health benefits , ranging from weight loss, prevention of chronic diseases and control of inflammatory processes, to care of vision and stimulation of the circulatory system.

Scientific research has found evidence that the consumption of purple carrot can help:

1. Lose weight

Being a low-carb, low-fat, and high-fiber vegetable, it’s great for people who want to lose weight. Specifically, its fiber content helps fight appetite, creates a longer-lasting feeling of fullness and promotes the proper functioning of the digestive system. All of this promotes fat burning naturally and speeds up metabolism.

2. Control diabetes

The moderate consumption of purple carrot, especially as a substitute for other less appropriate carbohydrates (potato, rice), can be a good ally when you have diabetes. Its low glycemic index, together with its high fiber content, helps prevent blood glucose and insulin spikes.2 In addition, it has been observed that anthocyanins also play a role in controlling blood sugar levels, increasing insulin sensitivity, decreasing inflammatory molecules and increasing the production of glucose transporters in the muscle3.

3. Prevent cardiovascular disease

Again, thanks to the high levels of dietary fiber and antioxidant compounds, regular consumption of purple carrots helps protect the integrity of the cardiovascular system. 4 The main benefits in this regard are a reduction in total cholesterol levels, a reduction in the risk of developing atherosclerosis, as well as suffering from heart attacks and strokes. The vitamin C in these carrots also helps to strengthen the arteries and blood vessel walls.5

4. Reduce inflammation

Scientific research has shown that anthocyanins have the ability to alleviate different inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, gout, headaches, and even hemorrhoids. 6

5. Improve vision

Although purple carrots contain less beta-carotene than the orange and yellow varieties, they still contain a significant amount of lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are known to help reduce oxidative stress on the retina, prevent macular degeneration, and lower the risk of cataracts.7

6. Improve blood circulation

Some nutrients in the purple carrot play an important role within the circulatory system, for example iron (it is part of hemoglobin, whose main function is to carry oxygen to the muscles and tissues of the body) and vitamin C (it prevents breakdown and blockages within the circulatory system, ensuring that all metabolic processes function properly) 8.

7. Treat chronic diseases

The antioxidant effect of its main compounds helps neutralize oxidative damage caused by free radicals, this being one of the causes of cell mutation that leads to cancer and other forms of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer disease. 9

Recommended Item: 13+ Proven Healthy Properties of Carrot (Raw, Cooked)

How are purple carrots eaten?

This variety can be consumed in the same way as any other carrot: in soups, creams, stews, salads, stir-fry vegetables, desserts, baked or as a raw snack. It is sometimes used as a coloring or vegetable sweetener in the world of pastry, but these are less frequent culinary uses. The best thing about using purple carrot instead of the common carrot is that, in addition to providing almost the same nutrients, it also creates a more striking visual effect in each recipe.

It may interest you: What is the best way to consume carrots?

2 easy and tasty recipes with purple carrot

Homemade pickled purple carrot and onions : a good companion for grilled meats, hamburgers, tacos, and even for a cheese board or charcuterie.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound purple carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices (1/2 – 1 cm)
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. First place the carrots, onions, and garlic in a large bowl; set aside for the moment.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan to high heat and combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pepper; let it boil for a few minutes.
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it over the vegetables, covering completely. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Once cool, transfer the pickle to the glass jars or containers and cover tightly for storage. It can be enjoyed after a few hours, but the flavors will get stronger as time goes on.
  5. This purple carrot and onion pickle can be stored refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Purple Carrot Stew with Shallots – This dish can be the perfect addition to any special dinner; provides good flavor and color.

Ingredients

  • 10 purple carrots, preferably organic
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (more if needed)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 8-10 small fresh sage leaves
  • ½ cup of Port wine
  • Aged balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Wash the carrots and cut them into diagonal slices; set them aside.
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, add the oil, shallots and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until or until the edges are lightly browned.
  3. Then add the purple carrot slices and the sage leaves. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
  4. Sauté for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  5. Lower the heat, add the Port wine, cover the pan and cook for 20 more minutes or until the carrots are completely tender.
  6. Finally transfer the stew to the serving plate and drizzle with a touch of balsamic vinegar.

Tips for selecting, storing and buying purple carrots

  • Although the purple carrot is not as common as the others, it is usually available in certain places. Some places where you can buy are specialized stores, import stores and online stores.
  • When buying , be sure to choose firm, shiny tubers , avoiding roots that look rubbery and old.
  • To store them and keep them fresh for a longer time, it is advisable to follow the same instructions as in the case of the orange carrot. They can be placed in a plastic bag (with slight slits) in the vegetable drawer inside the fridge, or they can be frozen. Never store purple carrots with other ethylene producing fruits / vegetables; this gives them a bitter taste and makes them inedible.
  • It should always be handled with care, as it tends to stain hands, clothing, and kitchen counters purple.
  • Besides raw tubers, the other two most common options on the market are snacks and purple carrot seeds . To buy the best seed, look for a seller who offers seeds with a high percentage of purity (99.9%), a high percentage of germination (at least 80%) and that come from a non-genetically modified (Non-GMO) crop, preferably from organic origin.

Side effects and contraindications

While consuming purple carrots is generally safe for most people , there are some considerations to keep in mind. Like any other type of carrot, this variety is contraindicated in allergy sufferers; Those who have a known allergy to this tuber should avoid it, as otherwise they may experience side effects such as bloating, rashes, and stomach problems.10

Due to its high content of fiber, potassium, and beta-carotene, excessive consumption of purple carrots can cause skin discoloration, allergic reactions, flatulence, and blood pressure problems in healthy people.

See more information in: Contraindications of Carrot

How is its cultivation?

The purple carrot can be easily grown at home, either in your garden or in pots. Here are some of the basic recommendations to keep in mind:11

  • Grow station . Although they can be grown year-round, carrots grow best during the mild temperatures of spring and fall; If the weather gets too hot, the plant can develop faulty roots and an unpleasant taste.
  • Soil (most important aspect). It should be sown in loose soil and free of stones, rocks or roots. It is recommended to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 inches and mix with a layer of compost.
  • Sowing . Sow the purple carrot seeds ¼ inch deep, leaving 2 inches apart. If you have multiple rows, leave 6 to 10 inches apart. Another alternative is to spread the seeds on the wet surface and cover them with a layer of substrate (1 cm thick).
  • Irrigation . The soil must be kept moist so that the seeds can germinate, but it is not advisable to overdo it; too much watering can result in plants with broad foliage but small roots. A good idea to reduce evaporation and maintain moisture is to cover the seeds with a wooden board until germination occurs. The soil surface should never be dry before the seedlings germinate.
  • Germinating . It usually occurs between 10 and 25 days after sowing the seeds. Fertilize the carrots when the tops reach 3-4 inches tall, repeating when they reach 6-8 inches tall. Use a fertilizer with a 5-10-10 or 1-2-2 nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio; It is not good to over fertilize because this can cause forked roots.
  • Ripening and harvest . The purple carrot usually ripens after 70 days, and even earlier. It is best to remove them when they are 3 to 7 inches long; the smaller they are, the sweeter they taste. Remember to loosen the soil around the tubers with a digging fork before harvesting.

References:

  1. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/food.200300373/full
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24133614
  4. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejm199605023341802
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5000725/
  6. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf073494t
  7. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/bioavailability-of-carotene-c-from-purple-carrots-is-the-same-as-typical-orange-carrots-while-highc-carrots-increase-c-stores-in-mongolian-gerbilsmeriones-unguiculatus/EB3C039370C2E8B095F1026880F829B3
  8. http://journal.ashspublications.org/content/129/4/523.short
  9. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf050570o
  10. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20355095
  11. http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/edibles/vegetables/carrots.html

My name is Louise Hammond, and I am the creator of this website, a place to find information about tubers, bulbs and medicinal roots. In Dreamsship.com I show the properties, benefits, characteristics, photos and images, ways of growing and how to make delicious meals from starchy vegetables.