The History of Carrots


Ava Spragins, Staff Reporter

     The first carrot ever discovered is thought to have been grown in Afghanistan in 900 AD. As time went on, the vegetable expanded throughout neighboring areas and around the 1000s, the Middle East and North Africa. Eventually, carrots spread to Spain, and around the 1300s, they were found in Northern Europe and China. Interestingly enough, around the time that carrots were discovered, the orange carrots that modern society is used to were not around. The colors of carrots included, but were not limited to, white, red, and purple. The orange carrots were only developed after a genetic mutation caused purple carrots to lose their color and change to orange. 

 Another fun fact about carrots is that they are made up of around 88% water and therefore are an excellent source of H2O. The only vegetable that consists of more sugar than carrots are beets, and around 35.6 million tons of carrots are produced each year. Carrots can also help to minimize the risk of lung cancer, strokes, and heart attacks. Carrots are a great way to gain vitamin A, but an overconsumption of carrots can lead to carotenemia, a condition which causes yellowish discoloration to the consumer’s skin. 

     Carrot leaves were utilized as fashion statements in 17th century England and worn in the English’s hair. The myth that carrots improve night vision started during WWII when the British propaganda campaign established the rumor as a way to confuse German fighter pilots and keep secret the advanced radar system they had developed. The Germans were told that British pilots’ incredible eyesight was a result of consuming carrots, instead of new and up to date technology. Carrots were also not completely accepted by all of America until after WWI, when the American soldiers that had served overseas had contact with the vegetable and did not report any bad news associated with carrots. So, as boring as one might think a simple object is, there is usually a lot of history and random fun facts behind it.