(Roughly) Daily

What’s up, Doc?…

The bright orange fleshy root vegetable we know today as the carrot is a far cry from its wild ancestor, a small tough, pale fleshed acrid root plant. Probably no one would be eating carrots that were once small, very thin, red, purple, and even black taproots with a distasteful bitterness if no one had taken an interest in improving their flavour. Luckily, some motivated Dutch people took carrots under their horticultural wings and taught them how to be sweet, it’s a long story.

The Wild Carrot – Daucus Carota – is one of the many plants which belongs to the natural order Umbelliferae. It is a common plant in pastures and by roadsides and especially likes light soils where it can soon turn into a weed.

To unravel the long history of the Carrot you have to go back a very long way. Fossil pollen from the Eocene period (55 to 34 million years ago) has been identified as belonging to the Apiaceae (the carrot family). The carrot dates back about 5,000 years ago when the root was found to be growing in the area now known as Afghanistan.

– From Chapter 1 (“Origins and Development”) of Carrot History

Chapter Two cover AD 200 to 1800, and the transit of The Orange Miracle “From Medicine to Food”; Chapter Three, the evolution of the modern carrot; and Chapter Four, the role of carrots in World War Two (a role that revived its popularity)…

For all that and more, visit The Carrot Museum.

As we play with our peelers, we might wish a discrete Happy Birthday to William Penn, the pacifist Quaker founder and “Absolute Proprietor” of the Province (Colony) of Pennsylvania; he was born in London on this date in 1644.  Known as an early champion of democracy and religious freedom and for his good relations with the Lenape Indians,  Penn directed the planning and development of Philadelphia.

William Penn

Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 14, 2008 at 1:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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