Purple Carrots

This is the first year I joined a community-supported agriculture farm share program. These programs are growing in popularity in the Bay Area community as more people want to eat healthier and support local agriculture. One of the aspects I enjoy the most about the program, besides the freshness of the produce I receive each week, is the surprise elements. Some special treats I’ve picked up this year have been some gorgeous avocados, king trumpet mushrooms and lately sweet and juicy tomatoes. I’ve procured all of these at the local grocery store in the past, however, these vegetables tasted indescribably fresher. The avocados were so buttery. A little on my salad transformed the entire dish.

I was absolutely delighted to receive purple carrots in a recent shipment.

Purple carrots?

Up until now I’ve come across orange carrots and the very rare spotting of yellow carrots. Never, have I laid eyes on purple carrots. This anomaly send me digging around to find out exactly what are purple carrots. It was through this food adventure that i found out the common modern-day orange carrot is really the result of much cultivation and in fact, carrots can come in many different colors, purple being one of the most intensely unique colors.

The many variations of carrot cultivars can be grouped into eastern and western carrots.

The orange ones I’m familiar with originated in Netherlands in the 17th century. Orange was a popular color as it symbolized the Dutch struggle for independence. The orange color comes from the the carotenes which is one of the nutrients carrots are most prized for.

The purple carrot is an example of eastern carrots and actually proceeds the western orange carrot. It is estimated that the purple carrot was domesticated in Central Asia in the 10th century. The color comes from anthocyanin pigments.

I cut off bits of one purple carrot and tasted it. From a flavor and texture perspective, it tasted just like the conventional orange carrot. From a visual appearance though the contrast of the purple and the orange center is really striking. It is a wonderful way to add visual interest to any carrot dish.

I noticed when I was cooking these carrots in my pan, some of the purple pigments did come off onto the almond-colored enamel of the Le Creuset pan. This color did wash off easily.

Purple and Orange

Loni Stark is an artist at Atelier Stark, self-professed foodie, and adventure travel seeker who has a lifelong passion for technology’s impact on business and creativity. She collaborates with Clinton Stark on video projects for Atelier Stark Films. It’s been said her laugh can be heard from San Jose all the way up to the Golden Gate Bridge. She makes no claims to super powers, although sushi is definitely her Kryptonite.