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All the Colors of the Rainbow

May 05, 2016

Trivia to Impress Your Friends

rainbow carrotsRainbow carrots appear in a variety of colors including orange, yellow, red, white, purple, black and purple haze (purple/red and white center). Each unique color gives carrots different pigments and health benefits.

The color of yellow, orange and red carrots is the result of certain carotenoid pigments present in the root. These carotenoids can be divided into hydrocarbon pigments or carotenes and oxygenated pigments or xanthophylls.

Xanthophylls, similar to beta-carotene, give yellow carrots their golden colors. They are linked to eye health and may reduce the incidence of lung and other cancers.

Lycopene, found in red carrots, is a type of carotene also found in tomatoes. It is believed to help prevent heart disease and, in conjunction with other phytochemicals, reduce the risk of certain cancers, including prostate cancer.

Anthocyanins are pigments found in purple carrots. In the human body these pigments act as powerful antioxidants, immobilizing harmful free radicals. More on anthocyanins here.

The orange carrot is a relative newcomer on the scene. Carrots were originally either purple or white, but selection and hybridization in the 16th century brought us the vitamin-packed orange carrot we know today.

Important Facts

  • Carrots should be stored at 32-36°F with a relative humidity of 90-98%.
  • Carrots do not produce ethylene gas, but they do need to be kept away from ethylene-producing fruits and ripening rooms.
  • Carrots stay crisp longer when stored in a plastic bag.

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