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Purple carrots

Purple carrots are being explored as a source of such dyes is the purple carrot, ancient ancestor to the modern, orange version. Originally used as a clothing dye by Afghan royalty, the purple carrot is now being investigated as a potential source of food colorings. Researchers are at work to stabilize the purple pigment in the vegetables, which can turn brown when heated, red in acidic foods and blue in alkaline ones. The carrots are given their purple colour by anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that also gives blueberries and red grapes their color.

Carrots benefits are legendary. Bet your mother told you that eating carrots would keep your eyesight bright. While we usually associate carrots with the color orange, in fact, carrots grow in a host of other colors including white, yellow, red, or purple, the latter being the color of the original variety. The carrot is a plant with a thick, fleshy, deeply colored root, which grows underground, and feathery green leaves that emerge above ground. It is known scientifically as Daucus carota, a name that can be traced back to ancient Roman writings of the 3rd century. Carrots belong to the Umbelliferae family, named after the umbrella like flower clusters that plants in this family produce. As such, carrots are related to parsnips, fennel caraway, cumin and dill. There are over 100 different varieties that vary in size and color. Carrots can be as small as two inches or as long as three feet, ranging in diameter from one-half of an inch to over two inches. Carrot roots have a crunchy texture and a sweet and minty aromatic taste, while the greens are fresh tasting and slightly bitter.

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A. In addition, they are a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fiber and potassium. Carrots are an excellent source of antioxidant compounds, and the richest vegetable source of the pro-vitamin A carotenes. Carrots' antioxidant compounds help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer and also promote good vision, especially night vision.