Quick Answer: Is Carrot A Vegetable Or Fruit? A carrot most certainly is a vegetable, and is considered to be of the root variety due to being grown from the ground.
It was once native in the wild across Southwestern Asia and Europe, though many people grow carrots domestically these days because they taste better than their wild counterparts.
In this quick guide we shall take a look at whether a carrot is a fruit or a vegetable, and how to pick good carrots from the grocery store or market.
So, with all that in mind, let’s get to it!
What Actually Is A Carrot – A Vegetable Or A Fruit?
If you have recently thought about whether a carrot is a vegetable or a fruit, then you have stumbled across the right place to find out.
There are many hidden foods that appear as one thing but are another, for example the humble tomato.
However, what about the bright colored stick that we call the carrot? Well, unsurprisingly the carrot is in fact a vegetable.
It is known as root vegetable because it is grown within the ground.
Many years ago it could have been seen growing in the wild throughout Southwestern Asia and Europe, however many people began growing their own because they soon found out that they tasted much better.
Because the vegetable has roots, it is quite common to eat the whole thing.
For example, whilst we usually dispose of something like the roots and only eat the main fleshy thing, with a carrot it is common to eat the vegetable itself alongside its roots.
However, having said that, you can’t eat the leaves or the stems!
Carrots don’t take very long to grow, and are widely available because of this.
Not only that, they are also really easy to keep as they last a long time so long as they have little air, and are stored in a cold place like a refrigerator.
What Are The Benefits Of Eating A Carrot?
They are highly cultivated and are loved throughout the world for their sweet taste and health benefits.
As we know, vegetables are really good for you, but what does a carrot include?
Carrots include carotene (hence the name) which is useful for aiding healthy vision and general eye health, but also to promote healthier skin, a stronger immune system, and much more.
When we eat carrots, our bodies convert the carotene into vitamin A.
Whilst taking vitamin A in extremely high doses can be dangerous for our bodies, the body will only convert the amount of vitamin A it requires from the carrot.
Other benefits include vitamin C which helps to build a strong immune system to ward off illness, helps to absorb any iron from other foods, aids in the repairing of tissue, helps to form collagen.
Lastly vitamin B which impacts levels of energy, metabolism within cells, and the function of the brain.
So, as you can see, carrots are highly beneficial to our health and can contribute to a healthy and balanced diet.
Because both vitamin B and C are soluble, they need to be added into our diet every day.
Interesting Things To Understand About Carrots
Carrots are really interesting vegetables and there are a lot of things to know about them, including some very interesting facts.
You can learn a lot about carrots in this section, or just use it to impress your friends(!)
- Pre the 17th century, carrots were only available in the colors white, purple, black and red. So, how did they get the orange color? It is all thanks to the Netherlands. They cultivated carrots in bright orange to honor the House of Orange.
- A carrot contains just shy of 90% water. This means they count towards your daily hydration levels too!
- You may not have heard about the ‘Carrot Capital of the World’, but Holtville in California is where it is. They hold a festival dedicated to carrots every single year and we’re not too sure why…
- If you are off on a hike, then eating carrots beforehand can help those energy levels. Whilst one or two is enough to eat just generally, around 1 carrot can give you enough energy for one mile of walking.
- Back in 2010 around 33 million carrots were produced worldwide. That is a lot of carrots.
- Lastly, if you eat too many carrots you might suffer from what is known as carotenemia. This is where your skin starts to take on a yellow tinge. If this happens, hold off on eating carrots until all that carotene has left the body!
How Can You Tell The Difference Between A Vegetable And Fruit?
When it comes to differentiating between both vegetables and fruits, we can look at them in two different ways, as culinary and botanical.
So, if we are talking botanically, a fruit is a fruit because it has grown from a plant that has seeds. In culinary speak, it just means that a fruit needs to taste sweet.
When it comes to botanically speaking about vegetables, they are grown from the part of a plant which does not have any seeds.
That then means it is either a leath, stem, or root. When it is a culinary definition, vegetables are seen as the edible flesh that isn’t sweet.
So, in this instance the carrot is seen as the root when it comes to the plant as a whole.
They are not sweet like a fruit, and are not from the seed part of the plant either. To put it simply, It is a root vegetable!
Ways To Find Good Carrots In The Grocery Store?
You may have already noticed but you can find carrots any time throughout the year at the local grocery store.
Whilst they are super easy to come across, how do you go about choosing the best carrots to cook with?
You will want it to look healthy and be sweet. So, let’s take a look at some tips on picking good carrots:
You will want the skin of the carrot to be smooth yet solid. It means they are at their peak, yet will stay fresh for a longer time.
They should be quite sweet too.
If the carrot has become a little wilted, or feels soft and is pale, then avoid it.
They won’t taste their best, and are already beginning to rot. This will be a waste of money!
Also, choose the color of the carrot for either their health properties or how it will look on the dish.
Orange carrots have the highest amount of vitamin A, whilst purple carrots include anthocyanin, and red carrots include lycopene.
So, what are they?
Anthocyanin is known to be an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial ingredient within the carrot.
It is said to help prevent numerous cardiovascular diseases, as well as ward off obesity and certain cancers.
Lycopene is an antioxidant that has many benefits to our bodies. It is said to help protect us from the sun’s harmful rays, as well as lower some risks associated with cancer.
It is also beneficial to our heart health too.
Why Is The Color Of A Carrot Important?
It isn’t surprising that you can find carrots in a variety of different colors.
Whilst they can be mistaken for a fruit because of the bright orange color, they are, and always will be a vegetable.
The most common color of carrot is orange. However, there are plenty of other colors available too, from yellow, purple, red, black, and white.
They are often seen as premium too, and can make a great addition to a dish because of how they look.
The reason the color is important is because if it is really vibrant and bold, it means that it has grown well and is very healthy.
Adding those carrots to your dish means that they will be super delicious and tender.
Also, if you want natural coloring within food, a carrot’s color can bleed.
Whilst this is something that is annoying within a wash for clothes, it is ideal for those times when a dish might look bland.
Bleeding of the carrots colors can create an interesting looking meal!
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