They can be baked into cakes, cooked in butter or eaten raw. Discover more about this versatile veggie with these fun facts about carrots!
The cheery orange carrot is one of the most beloved vegetables around the world and is known for its sweet taste, versatility, and incredible health benefits.
But how much do you know about the classic root vegetable? With these fun facts about carrots we’ll discover what makes the carrot such an important superfood and why it has endured in popularity for centuries.
And how about checking out some carrot world records? The longest, the heaviest, and the country that provides 45% of the world’s carrot supply. We got so many carrot facts for you to crunch on.
We’ll also play a game of fact or fiction with a few of the most enduring carrot myths out there.
Like will eating carrots make your skin turn orange? Or does eating carrots make you see in the dark? Or are the green tops of carrots poisonous?
Where do you stand on these carrot conspiracies? Make your choices now and keep reading to find out the answers later on.
Okay, it’s time to get our hands dirty and uproot all the carrot knowledge we can muster! Let’s go!
21 Fun Facts About Carrots
1. Why are carrots orange?
Believe it or not, carrots were not usually orange when they first started to be cultivated. More common colors included yellow, white, purple, and green.
Some believe it was actually the Dutch who started to experiment with the color to try and align the carrot with the House of Orange, the Royal Family of the Netherlands that was established in 1544.
2. Is that really why carrots are orange?
A more commonly held theory about the orangeness of carrots is that unique purple carrot seeds were introduced by Islamic traders to Europe from the Ottoman Empire.
These new seeds mixed with the traditional lighter shades and produced a few orange carrots. Liking the new striking color, the orange carrot seeds were collected and planted until orange became the dominant carrot color.
3. Now for the science behind why carrots are orange
The actual orange pigment in carrots is made possible by beta-carotene. Beta carotene is a signifier for Vitamin A, which carrots are absolutely abundant in.
If you see an orange fruit or vegetable, you can be sure there’s beta-carotene in it. We’re talking cantaloupe, mango, pumpkin, carrot and sweet potato – and of course carrots.
4. What is the nutritional profile of a carrot?
A serving of 3.5 oz (100 g) of carrots packs an absolute nutritional punch! This includes over 100% of your recommended Vitamin A, 13% of your Vitamin K and 12% of your Vitamin B6.
Carrots are also relatively low on the glycemic index, meaning it’s a good food to eat for diabetics.
5. Can you eat the carrot tops?
While not very common, it is possible to eat green carrot tops. If you want to give them a try make sure you’re taking the greens from younger carrots, because as carrots mature, toxic alkaloids build up in the stems.
Try them in a stir-fry or salad! We think the carrot tops have such a bad reputation, but cooked with a bit of butter and they are delicious.
6. Plant your carrots near a companion
This is one of the cutest facts about carrots – they like to be planted next to a pungent companion.
If you’re building a garden make sure your carrots are planted next to onion, garlic, or leeks. This is perfect for a carrot’s growth because the smell repels the carrot root fly.
7. The home of the wild carrot
We love a delicious variety of heirloom carrots in a rainbow of different colors. But where do they come from?
It’s believed that the carrot originates in the Middle East, particularly in the regions of modern day Afghanistan and Iran. The area to this day has the greatest variety of wild carrot.
8. Close relatives of the carrot
Carrots belong to the family Apiaceae, a large group of flowering plants. The family is known to be aromatic, with hollow stems, and buried taproots.
Some other members of the carrot family include celery, parsley, cilantro, dill, fennel and parsnip.
9. California is the king of carrots
And carrots are no different! California produces over 80% of the USA’s carrot crop each year. Other carrot exporters in the US include Washington and Wisconsin.
10. Can carrots make you see in the dark?
Now, this is one of the carrot facts we had to discover if it was true! Sadly, it’s not.
The rumor that carrots facilitated night-vision was spread by the Royal Air Force in WWII. This little white lie was invented to explain the British success in night raids and to hide the fact that they had developed new radar technology. We bet you didn’t know that one!
11. Will eating too many carrots turn me orange?
Well, here’s another of the carrot facts we were looking to debunk, however, this one’s actually true! Consuming massive amounts of carrots can cause a condition known as carotenemia.
Carotenemia results in a yellow-orange discoloration of the skin. Not surprisingly, this condition is most common among vegetarians.
12. That’s a ton of carrots!
China is far and away the largest carrot producer in the world. In fact, carrots are the country’s top agricultural export. We’re talking about 45% of the world supply!
Other carrot exporters include Uzbekistan, United States and Ukraine. Okay, why are so many “U” countries growing the world’s carrots?
13. The perfect conditions for growing carrots
Looking to grow some carrots in your garden next year? Here are a few tips: Carrots like cool and loose soil with a pH level around 5-7.
While carrots are quite hardy and can tolerate some shade, they prefer to be planted in a sunny spot. A carrot will usually take around 90 days to grow to maturity.
14. What are some health benefits of carrots?
Maybe the saying should be, “A carrot a day keeps the doctor away.” Carrots are proven to lower risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, prevent certain cancers, improve the skin, and improve digestion. What can’t the carrot do?!
15. A few carrot world records
First up, the longest carrot. Grown by Joe Atherton of Malvern UK in 2017, the record-setting carrot measured an astonishing 20 ft 6 in (6.245 m).
Next up, the heaviest carrot. Grown by Christopher Qualley of Otsego, USA in 2017, the carrot weighed in at a whopping 22.44 lb (10.17 kg).
16. What’s healthier? Cooked or raw carrots?
Believe it or not, the carrot holds onto a lot of its nutrients when raw, so it isn’t until the carrot is cooked that it will release most of its nutritional punch.
This carrot fact goes against the belief that raw is better, but in the carrot’s case, cooking them is the way to go.
17. Do rabbits really eat carrots?
From Bugs Bunny to the Easter Bunny, it’s common to see rabbits eating carrots in popular culture and media. However, one carrot for a real rabbit is like us eating 20 carrots!
In fact, there is too much sugar content in a carrot for it to be healthy for rabbits. So if you have a pet bunny, carrots should only be given as a treat!
18. When was carrot cake invented?
The sweetness of carrots make it a delicious and diverse vegetable used in cooking sweet desserts. The most famous of all, of course, being carrot cake!
Many countries lay claim to the invention of the carrot cake including England, France, Denmark and Switzerland. It’s believed to be derived from the popular 16th century dish, carrot pudding.
19. The carrot overdose
Basil Brown, a health food guru from England went way too far in his love of carrots. Brown consumed a gallon of carrot juice everyday for 10 days, eventually dying from an overdose of Vitamin A.
Yikes! Eat your carrots in moderation, people!
20. One of the smallest garden seeds
When the tops of carrots begin to flower, this is when the seeds can be collected to plant for the next year.
You may need a magnifying glass however, as the seeds are so small that 2,000 seeds make up only a teaspoon!
21. Today we’re celebrating the carrot!
We’re not sure why, but International Carrot Day falls on April 4th. Maybe the early spring date is to celebrate the long shelf-life of the carrot or its vicinity to Easter?
Either way, make sure you get some carrots into your dinner or dessert on that day and raise a toast to one of the best veggies out there!
Who wants more fun facts?
If you’re looking for some recommendations, these are a few of our favorite fact books to buy. We use these when planning fun trivia nights with family and friends!
We really hope you enjoyed all our fun facts about carrots! Did you learn something new?
If there’s any carrot facts we missed, you can let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them to this article!