What is Carrots?

Scientific classification Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Daucus
Species:D carota
Binomial name:Daucus carota

The carrot,originally from the Indo-European root ker- (horn), due to its horn-like shape) is a root vegetable, usually orange in colour, though purple, red, white, and yellow varieties exist. It has a crisp texture when fresh. The most commonly eaten part of acarrot is a taproot, although the greens are edible as well. It is a domesticated form of the wild carrot Daucus carota, native to Europe and southwestern Asia. The domestic carrot has been selectively bred for its greatly enlarged and more palatable, less woody-textured edible taproot.

Carrots can be eaten in a variety of ways. Only 3% of the carotene in raw carrots is released during digestion: this can be improved to 39% by pulping, cooking and adding cooking oil .Alternatively they may be chopped and boiled, fried or steamed, and cooked in soups and stews, as well as baby and pet foods. A well known dish is carrots julienne. Grated carrots are used in carrot cakes, as well as carrot puddings, an old English dish thought to have originated in the early 19th century. The greens are edible as a leaf vegetable, but are rarely eaten by humans. Together with onion and celery, carrots are one of the primary vegetables used in a mirepoix to make various broths.

In India carrots are used in a variety of ways, as salads or as vegetables added to spicy rice or daal dishes, and the most popular variation in north India is the Gaajar Kaa Halwaa carrot dessert, which has carrots grated and cooked in milk until the whole thing is solid, after which nuts and butter are added. Carrot salads are usually made with grated carrots in western parts with a seasoning of mustard seeds and green chillies popped in hot oil, while adding carrots to rice usually is in julienne shape. The variety of carrot found in north India is rare everywhere except in Central Asia and other contiguous regions, and is now growing in popularity in larger cosmopolitan cities in South India.

The north Indian carrot is pink-red comparable to plum or raspberry or deep red apple in colour (without a touch of yellow or blue) while most other carrot varieties in world are from orange to yellow in colour, comparable to hallowe'en pumpkins. Ever since the late 1980s, baby carrots or mini-carrots (carrots that have been peeled and cut into uniform cylinders) have been a popular ready-to-eat snack food available in many supermarkets.

The carrot gets its characteristic and bright orange colour from -carotene, which is metabolised into vitamin A in humans when bile salts are present in the intestines, Massive overconsumption of carrots can cause carotenosis, a benign condition in which the skin turns orange. Carrots are also rich in dietary fibre, antioxidants, and minerals. Lack of Vitamin A can cause poor vision, including night vision, and vision can be restored by adding Vitamin A back into the diet

This food is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6 and Manganese.

Click here to see the nutritional values of Carrots

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