Rainbow carrots? You must have heard it because now it has been trending on all the cooking channels and probably has been seen in the supermarkets. It goes without saying, but the reason for calling these “RAINBOW” is because of their unique and deep hues, including purple, red, white, and golden-ish bright yellow. Yes, they look very much different from a typical red carrot.
But, how exactly did they come into the market so suddenly and now they can be found in every cuisine? What are rainbow carrots?
Let’s dive into the details to know about the history!
Rainbow Carrots – A Peek Into Their History
We all know, carrots are one of the oldest vegetables to be eaten. Thousands of years ago, Afghanistan was the first place where carrots were cultivated and sold. Adding to your surprise, the very first batch of carrots was not grown in red but purple and yellow colors. Later, other colors were included in the list, such as red, white, and black.
In the start, the carrots were consumed as a therapeutic herb and aphrodisiac to treat ailments. But it took no time to become one of the most favorite and commonly eaten vegetables. The orange color carrots were grown by the Dutch somewhere in the 1600s after they cross-bred the yellow and red ones.
Primary Pigments And The Health Benefits
Rainbow carrots are a trendy feast for the eyes as every color looks stunning. Well, their color is not the reason for their popularity, it is unbelievable rainbow carrots nutrition. Every carrot seems to be loaded with essential nutrients depending on its color and composition, making each rainbow carrot beneficial for health. One common thing is: Each carrot, regardless of the color, is packed with a diverse range of antioxidants.
The most highlighted ingredients present in each carrot, along with their undeniable benefits, are listed below.
Orange carrot is known to have the highest amount of beta and alpha-carotene. These are the pigments necessary for promoting vitamin A production inside the body. These are important for healthy eyes to keep a healthy vision. Orange carrots come loaded with 4-time the USDA-suggested dose of Vit A. In taste, they feel earthy and sweet. You can eat them raw as well as cooked. It is best served in salads and goes well with cabbage and potatoes.
The most fantastic color among all the carrots is purple, as per the surveys. Depending on the breed, they can be purple from inside, too, or simply orange. Purple carrot is enriched with anthocyanin, beta, and alpha-carotene pigments that support vitamin A production and help prevent heart diseases. The purple one is for a healthy heart!
Among all, purple carrots are the sweetest. Sometimes, it is perfectly balanced with a peppery taste that seems extremely subtle. If you like spicy pickles, you must try making carrot pickles with purple carrots.
Red and orange carrots are somewhat similar in flavor. Red carrot is high in lycopene and beta-carotene in more significant amounts, letting it play a vital role in lowering the risk of particular cancers. The lycopene-rich red carrots are best used to alleviate neuropathic pain. For a healthy brain, get some red carrots in your refrigerator!
The red carrots are the best for soups and stocks as it gives a unique color and healthful lycopene. Besides, red carrots can be baked, too.
Yellow and white carrots
Yellow carrots are found bursting with xanthophylls and lutein that are directly linked with effective cancer prevention. These are also better for maintaining healthy eyes.
White-golden carrots generally appear yellow or cream-colored to the naked eye. White has maximum fiber to offer, and we all know how significant fiber is in promoting healthy digestion. It is best for the GIT and keeps the gut in a healthy state.
What Is The Science Behind The Colors Of The Rainbow Carrots?
You must be thinking, how do carrots develop such different and unique colors? The answer is PIGMENTS! For instance, carotenes give orange color, whereas anthocyanins make the carrot yellow or purple. And, yes, it is also true that carrots can be different from the inside and outside. Other important factors that influence the color of the carrots are:
- The way carrots are grown
- The time of year the seed is planted
- Climate conditions
- Soil condition
- The amount of sunlight and water the seed receives during cultivation
Taste of the Different Colors of Carrots
Do they taste different? YES, they do!
Most people think they only differ in color, but that is not true. Not a single color tastes the same. Well, you will not feel a drastic change in flavor, but every color holds a slight and subtle difference, especially when eaten raw. If you add carrots to any dish, it will only give you a mild flavor. So, don’t worry about keeping the amount under check.
Do You Peel Rainbow Carrots?
One of the most frequently asked questions is: Do we have to peel the rainbow carrots before pan-roasting, boiling, or broiling?
It depends on your liking as carrots can be eaten peeled and unpeeled. But, if you are not peeling, make sure they are washed properly as they are usually full of dust. Personally, we think you must leave the skin on as it gives the carrot a sweetened flavor and, yes, the cleaner look, too.
Rainbow Carrots and cooking
If you are planning to bring the rainbow to the table, you should roast them well with spices and fresh herbs. Apart from roasting, you better glaze them in a pan with a splash of unsweetened butter and preferably brown sugar. With their sweetness, it can bring a burst of balanced sugariness to your stews and soups. Add rainbow carrots to a simple meat or potato dish, and it will double the nutritional value.
The best part? It will make your children enjoy vegetables as they will be attracted to their unusual colors and subtle flavor. In simple words, adding carrots can make your simple dish tastier and more enjoyable. Steamed rainbow carrots are also one of the most appreciated cuisines for their softness and tempting taste.
Roasted Honey Rainbow Carrots
Have some colorful carrots in your refrigerator? It is the best way to turn them into something marvelous. All you need is 10 minutes to prepare, put them into the oven, and VIOLA! Giving the perfect blend of sweetness and tanginess, it tastes more delicious than you can imagine.
- Wash organic rainbow carrots (12 oz.) thoroughly and let them dry.
- Heat the grill and add 1 Tbsp. olive oil.
- Toss the carrots in oil.
- Lastly, add 1 Tsp. honey
- Let it glaze!
- Serve garnished with fresh arugula
Pan-Roasted Rainbow Carrots
A dish that takes not more than 5 minutes for preparation and gets all cooked in 20 minutes can become your go-to favorite. This is not an easy but elegant side dish that brings the colorful rainbow to your table. When sprinkled with whole fennel seeds, it gets more eye-captivating.
- Preheat an oven to 375°F
- Take 2 Tbs. Extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, and 1 tsp. whole fennel seeds in a large bowl and mix well
- Toss the carrots along with seasoning them with salt and freshly ground pepper (as per your taste)
- Take a large sauté pan and spread the carrots
- Place the pan in the oven
- Let them roast until the carrots are tender that will take not more than 20-25 minutes
- Take out the carrots into a serving platter and drizzle 1 Tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
- Always serve warm!
Here are some more recipes that you must try to enjoy the most out of the rainbow carrots!