7 Curiosities about Carrots: Complete and Up-to-date Guide

In this blog we’ll show you the characteristics of carrots, their main types, their properties, their history, main exporters and importers, how they are grown, and some products made from this tuber. Don’t miss it!  

What is the carrot and what are its characteristics?    

Scientific nameDaucus carota
Common nameCarrot
Place of originCentral Asia
HabitatTemperate climates and high inter-Andean valleys
DistributionAsia, North America, Oceania, and Latin America

Characteristics of the carrot plant

The carrot plant comes from the Umbelliferae family. It is a plant with a life cycle of 2 years, but it is only grown once a year, except for seed production. In the first year, it forms a rosette of leaves that emerge from a single point at the base of double to triple-divided leaves and a root that grows downward into the soil. This root thickens as it grows and thus becomes a storage organ. In the second year, the shoot axis elongates, the leaf rosette dissolves and a branched, leafy, flowering stem develops.

The reserve substances are stored in the taproot. The taproot consists of the crown (head), the cortex (vessels or ducts that carry the processed sap), the outermost layer of tissue, the inner pith (the “woody part”), and the roots that grow anywhere on the plant. In the second year, the richly branched stem develops, carrying the inflorescences and reaching growing heights of up to 150 cm.


The flowering period begins in June. Many flowers have double umbrella-shaped inflorescence. The flowers are usually hermaphrodite and can also be sterile or partially sterile; they are cream-colored. Predominantly cross-pollinated by insects. The formation of inflorescences can also be triggered in the first year by a cold stimulus (vernalization) of 1 to 10 ºC after the juvenile stage.

Description of carrot fruit

Partial fruits are oval and elongated. Covered with fine hairs on the outside. In Central Europe, they ripen between August and September. Their weight is 0.8 to 1.8 g and their color is usually orange.

Types of carrots

Carrot varieties can be divided according to their color, for example, orange carrots have a higher beta-carotene content and a sweet flavor; white carrots have no beta-carotene and retain their sweet flavor; purple carrots are firm and crunchy in structure, are aromatic, have a sweeter flavor, contain anthocyanin and lose their external color when cooked; and yellow carrots that have moderate beta-carotene and a slightly sweet aroma.

Overall, there are 16 types or varieties of carrots which are:

  1. Bastarda
  2. Carota Lunga / Long Carrot
  3. Douceur
  4. Fodder White
  5. Yellow Long
  6. Gochsheimer Gelbe
  7. Küttiger
  8. Long Loiser
  9. Oxheart / Guerande
  10. Oxheart
  11. Purple Dragon
  12. Carrot Sarga Repa Arany
  13. Taborska Zluta / Tabor Yellow
  14. Czech long carrot
  15. Purple Chantenay
  16. Zuta Mrkva (Zumberak)

Today we focus on the first 6 as they are the main ones.


Attractive looking, orange, medium length, tasty, tender, and juicy root.

Carota Lunga / Long Carrot

It is 18-20 cm long. It has a beautiful orange color and is slightly sweet, tender, and crunchy.


A very early variety with thin, sweet, attractive dark orange, slender, cylindrical carrots with a blunt end.

Fodder white

It is a white carrot, very long, smooth, cylindrical and without a green neck. It has a good flavor.

Yellow Long

A healthy yellow carrot, up to 25 cm long, is often used in carrot soup.

Gochsheimer Yellow

Large, yellow, and tastes like a turnip. Ideal for vegetable soup.

Properties and benefits of carrots

Carrot nutritional profile

We invite you to see the carrot nutritional table per 100g, taken from Vegaffinity.

CompositionQuantity (gr)CDR(%)
MineralsQuantity (mg)CDR(%)
VitaminsQuantity (mg)CDR(%)
Vitamin A0.4448.6%
Vitamin B10.065%
Vitamin B20.064.6%
Vitamin B30.770%
Vitamin B1200%
Vitamin C3.84.2%

5 properties of carrots that you have to take advantage of

Get in shape with carrots

Containing around 40 calories and 3g of fiber per 100g, carrots are an excellent choice for any light or balanced dish and will help you maintain healthy body weight. Unfortunately, many diet plans omit carrots because (like all fruits and vegetables) they contain a certain amount of sugar. Please don’t let this fool you, as the health benefits of carrots far outweigh their disadvantages. Due to the high water and fiber content, carrots are incredibly filling and their mild sweetness can even satisfy your sweet craving and appetite.

Glowing skin

Never truer: carrots’ carotenoids can give your skin a healthy color and a lightly tanned complexion. By the way, carotenoids are antioxidants that not only ensure beautiful skin but also a healthy immune system. Now, before you lock yourself in the basement with a sack full of carrots, nothing beats a (healthy!) dose of vitamin D from real sunlight. Please make sure you have adequate sun protection.


You don’t need to consume tons of supplements to minimize your risk of developing any type of cancer. Studies show that the carotenoids and antioxidants that carrots provide you with protect your cells from oxidative stress and can hinder the growth of cancer cells. By the way, unlike dietary supplements, carrots can not give you an overdose of vitamin A, as it is in the form of beta-carotene, which the human body converts to vitamin A only in the necessary amount.

A healthy cardiovascular system

You probably already know that plenty of exercises combined with a healthy diet is the best protection against cardiovascular disease, and yet carrots play a crucial role in preventing cardiovascular disease as well. Eating a rich, colorful diet that includes large amounts of orange fruits and vegetables is particularly good for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to studies. How about some nuts or fresh fish? All of these foods are incredibly good for your heart and organs.

Ibuprofen substitute

Carrots come in all sorts of bright colors. In addition to orange, there are also red, yellow, purple, and white varieties. Each species contains a unique profile of different vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Purple carrots contain the highest amount of anthocyanins, water-soluble pigments that have a strong antioxidant effect on the human body. They help eliminate free radicals and reduce inflammation.

History and origin of carrots

The primary origin of the carrot is unknown; the wild forms of the carrot thrive in Asia and southern Europe, the earliest cultivated forms were probably found in present-day Afghanistan. Carrots are one of the oldest known vegetables. The remains of a stew with carrots were found in Swiss stilt dwellings that were built about 3000 years ago. Carrots were also a valuable medicinal vegetable in ancient times. Later they even made their way into the fashion world for a time when English bridesmaids found it particularly elegant to put carrot leaves in their hair or hats.

The ancestors of carrots were red, purple, or black. Orange carrots are a deliberate cross between the Central European garden carrot and the giant Mediterranean carrot of French farmers in the 19th century.

Findings from a wide variety of regions have shown that the carrot was eaten as early as the Neolithic period, and not moderately. This is probably also the reason for the many names that the prized vegetable has always received regionally. Whether it was the Greeks or the Romans, the carrot was also a common vegetable in all social classes here. At that time, experts assume, the coloration was whiter and from creamy to crimson. In the course of the 16th century, the breeding skills of the Dutch with their green thumbs probably gave rise to the yellow-orange coloration, which is still known and popular today.  However, the success of carrots lies not only in their great color: they are very healthy, easy to digest, and also convince children with their sweet taste.

World carrot industry

Meet the top carrot exporters and importers in the world.   

Top carrot exporters in the world in 2020

In the following chart, you can see the top 10 countries that exported the most carrots in 2020 according to FAO. On the other hand, it provides information on the export monetary volume of these countries, specifically in U.S. dollars in 2020:

Top importers of carrots in the world in 2020

The top importers of carrots according to FAO for the year 2020 are the ones you see in the following chart. Moreover, it also provides information on the monetary volume of imports from these countries, specifically in U.S. dollars in the year 2020:

How is carrot cultivated?

A series of requirements must be met in order to cultivate carrots:


Carrots grow well in loose, sandy loam soils without stones. If the soil is too heavy and clayey, ridged cultivation has proven to be effective. Bedding cultivation produces large roots, but also requires irrigation.


As a cool-weather vegetable, it is best grown at temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, as noted by the University of California Sonoma County Master Gardener Program. Carrots do not do well when temperatures exceed 86 degrees. At this temperature, foliage growth slows and carrot flavor is altered. Temperatures below 50 degrees will slow the growth rate, although carrots are slightly frost-tolerant.

Carrot planting method

Spring and summer carrots must be sown as soon as possible, once the soil has dried out. In the cold season, this can be done under a fleece from late February or early March. These carrots are harvested in May. It makes sense to sow storage carrots from mid-May through July so that they reach full size in the fall.

When are carrots sown?

Early and summer carrots have to be sown as early as possible in the cool season. This is possible as early as late February or early March. Storage carrots, which are not harvested until fall, are best sown from mid-May through July.


Carrots are planted in rows, spaced 30 to 45 centimeters apart, depending on the variety, and 2 to 5 cm between individual roots. The planting depth is 1 to 2.5 cm. Seed strips make it easier to sow uniformly and prevent later deformation. If the seeds are mixed with dry quartz sand before sowing, they will also be more evenly distributed in the furrow.

Since young seedlings may take up to 3 weeks to emerge, completing the seed row by mixing in a marker seed such as radish, dill or parsley may be beneficial. If carrot seeds are allowed to swell in moist quartz sand for 24 hours before sowing and then the sand seed mix is sown together, they will germinate a little faster.


In order to develop optimally, carrots need sufficient standing space. Therefore, it is essential to leave the roots well-sown by hand. This should be done at night, otherwise, the carrot flies will be attracted by the smell of the damaged plants. It must also be weeded regularly between the rows. After heavy rains, the soil should be loosened or mulched. Applying a thin layer of compost has proven to be a new method against weeds: for this, about two centimeters of fine, fully mature compost is applied to the seed.


A proper water supply is also important for a good crop. Until germination, water carefully with a thin stream, but regularly. When the heads of carrots protrude from the ground, mound them so that they do not turn green. Vegetables thrive best in summers with regular rainfall. If there are dry periods, carrots should be watered additionally.

Diseases and pests

The common carrot fly (Psila rosae), which lays its eggs in soil crevices next to the carrots, is feared in this regard. Their larvae start eating the roots from the bottom up, creating burrows that soon rot the carrots. They also deposit their droppings in the tunnels, causing the roots to turn brown. The pest appears in several generations: the first flies appear in May and the larvae become active in June. The second generation hatches in mid-August and can cause lasting damage to plants. As a preventive measure, you can use plant protection nets and choose a place with little wind as flies usually avoid them. When the infestation is caused by a mixed crop with leeks, bulbs or summer flowers can be reduced.  In addition, it is important to maintain a crop rotation and re-grow carrots in the same bed after at least 3 years.

Blackberry bush, a disease caused by Alternaria fungus, affects mainly late varieties. As a preventive measure, the seeds can be treated with hot water (30 minutes at 50 degrees Celsius). In addition, a location exposed to the wind can counteract infestation.

Mixed cropping and crop rotation

Carrots should be regrown in the same bed after at least 3 years, preferably 5 years. Since carrots thrive well in beds with little weeds, last year’s crops that provide good shade to the soil, such as potatoes or green manure, are ideal for this. Onions are also suitable as plant companions; their smell repels carrot flies.

Carrot harvesting

The harvest time for carrots is from May to November, depending on the variety. Early carrot varieties are harvested 3 to 4 months after planting, and late carrots only in autumn, when the leaf tips turn yellow or red.

Early carrots do not grow very large but are extremely tender. Depending on the variety, they ripen in 70 days. To harvest carrots, pull them out of the ground as needed and free the roots from soil and vegetation. They will keep in the refrigerator for several days to weeks.

Post-harvesting carrots

Carrots can be stored in the refrigerator vegetable compartment for several days or weeks. Late varieties of carrots can be stored for months in the sand at low temperatures, e.g., in a cool cellar. They can also be stored in the freezer for months. Carrot leaves should always be removed before storing to prevent carrots from drying out and rotting.

Uses and products made from carrots

The carrot is commonly consumed in the elaboration of food dishes or in its fresh form without the need to be together with other food, so, the most normal thing is that people consume it in this presentation; however, there are other types of industrial products made from this tuber, for this reason, it can be said that it is used fresh or processed. Certain products made from carrots have also been launched in the market, such as the ones we show you below.

Handmade products made from carrots

Carrot juice

Carrot juice is a substance obtained from liquefying fresh carrots. It has unexpected health benefits: it can have a positive effect on cholesterol levels, relieve skin problems and even have an anti-cancer effect.

Industrial products made from carrots

Ackerlax – vegan

This product tastes like smoked salmon cream and is carrot-based – a must-have for any breakfast! Finely ground sunflower seeds give the cream its spreadability.  Smoked carrot pieces with a special woody-herb-like mixture and a hint of Norialge are incomparably reminiscent of smoked salmon. It is simply delicious on warm toast or fresh baguette. It also goes perfectly with pasta.

Canned carrots

If you don’t have much time, you can always use cans to store them as long as you pay attention to some decisive criteria, which can also influence the quality of the vegetables. An example of such a food is canned carrots, which are available in most supermarkets. These carrots have been canned after the harvesting process so that they are preserved longer and are ready for cooking.


Halva or Halwa(h) is a specialty confectionery originating in India, Iran, Pakistan and Central Asia. This product is also known in the Near East, Southeast, Central and Eastern Europe. Although some of the ingredients vary from region to region, the basic dough generally consists of a seed puree from oil and honey, sugar or glucose syrup. The halva is refined or flavored with vanilla or ethyl vanillin, cocoa, nuts, almonds, rose flowers or pistachios.

Carrot oil

Contrary to what you may think, carrot oil is not an oil that is extracted from carrots. Instead, it is a normal seed oil, for example, based on sunflower or soybean oil, which is only enriched with carrots. Pure carrot oil is generally not commercially available.

Carrot oil is characterized by a very high vitamin A (retinol) and provitamin A content. Vitamin A supports the structure, functionality and renewal of the skin.  It can even protect against sun-related DNA damage and thus also against premature skin aging. Pro-vitamin A, on the other hand, also called beta-carotene, is the precursor of vitamin A. It also plays a role in supporting important skin functions.

Below, find a list of other products that are also made from carrots:

  • Carrot creams
  • Carrot puree
  • Carrot sweets
  • Carrot fritters
  • Carrot mayonnaise
  • Dehydrated carrot
  • Carrot drinks
  • Carrot soups
  • Carrot cakes
  • Carrot sauce


The carrot is a great food that is widely consumed for its many benefits, which include protecting your skin, and for its many uses. We hope this blog has helped you learn more about carrots and that you don’t hesitate to consume them in all their presentations to enjoy their benefits firsthand.