– Gorge Gleaning – Purple Carrots!

– Gorge Gleaning – Purple Carrots!

In late September, several hale and hearty volunteers gathered to dig purple carrots at the Trout Lake Farm.  We dug, we laughed and we even tried a carrot or two!  All these purple carrots got us thinking, “what’s the deal with this vibrant root?”

In honor of the purple carrot gleaning, here is some history of the carrot as well as some reasons carrots are so good for you and a couple ways to use them.

Most people in the U.S. have always known the carrot as orange, but the purple carrot existed in Asia and the Mediterranean long ago.  The dark purple color comes from pigments called anthocyaninis.  The pigment colors change due to pH changes from acidic to basic.  Many of the pigments in carrots work to protect the plants cells during photosynthesis.  Purple carrots have different pigments that other carrots.

Purple carrots are higher in antioxidants than orange carrots and possess anti-inflammatory properties, which may help with arthritis.  They are also antiviral, antiseptic and antimicrobial and contain anti-carcinogens and beta- carotenes.  Purple carrots have high levels of Vitamin A, which helps to prevent clogging of the arteries and that helps to prevent strokes.

Purple carrots can be used much the same as orange carrots.  Roasting with olive oil and kosher salt is easy.  Just peel and cut carrots, mix with olive oil and sprinkle with some kosher salt.  Roast and enjoy!  Purple carrots can be canned, pickled and frozen as well. Give this recipe for Purple Carrot and Apple Soup a try.

More info on the history of nutrition of the purple carrot here.

-Jean Zylka for Gorge Grown Food Network