Whether it be in cakes, sticks, or juiced, carrots are a vegetable loved and eaten by many. April fourth is a day to celebrate the history of this vegetable and to spread knowledge about its variety of forms and uses. This holiday was created in 2003 and celebrated every year since then. The holiday has grown in popularity and in 2012 it was reported to have been celebrated in seven different countries. So grab a friend, grab a carrot suit, and celebrate this root vegetable in style.
History of the Carrot
Carrots come in a variety of colors besides orange. They can be red, purple, black, yellow, and white. The root is typically the only thing eaten but the seeds and leaves can be consumed as well. Carrots take three to four months to grow and have high amounts of vitamins and minerals such as carotene and Vitamin K. Modern carrots are descended from wild carrots that originated in Persia. Carrots were originally grown for their leaves and seeds rather than the root.
Evidence of carrots has been found in Southern Germany going back as far as 2000-3000 BC. Many herbs that we use today are a variation of the carrot as well. Herbs such as parsley, cilantro, and dill are still grown for their leaves like the carrot was originally. The first mention of the carrot in literature was in the first century AD when the Romans described a root vegetable they often ate. There is a record of the carrot in a Greek physician’s codex from the sixth century, in which he described how to cook carrots.
The carrot moved to Spain in the eighth century. After this, different colors of carrots began to appear. In the tenth century, carrots in India and Europe were purple. There are also records of red and yellow carrots. There are many claims that the orange carrot that we know today was created by Dutch growers to honor the Dutch flag. Finally, the carrot came to American with the colonists in the seventeenth century and the carrot was officially worldwide. In 2002 in England there was a new variation of carrots that were purple on the outside and orange on the inside.
How to Celebrate Carrot Day
The easiest way to celebrate is to eat carrots! There are hundreds of recipes for carrots including sweet and savory options. Or you can enjoy the carrot in its natural form with maybe a little ranch dressing on the side. If you’re feeling especially festive you can visit The World Carrot Museum’s website and learn more about this fascinating vegetable.