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The History of Carrots


Carrots are a taproot, a kind of root which grows towards the ground into the soil and swells. When people think about carrots, they usually think they are a type of long, thin, orange-colored vegetable. In fact, carrots are in many different sizes and shapes: round, cylindrical, fat, very small, long or thin. And not all carrots are orange.

It’s well-known to both the Greeks and Romans that carrots are native to Afghanistan. Actually, the Greeks called the carrot "Philtron" and regarded it as a love medicine--making men more ardent and women more yielding. The Roman emperor Caligula, believing these stories, forced the whole Roman Senate to eat carrots so he could see them “rut like wild beasts."

India, China, and Japan had thought of carrots as a food crop by the 13th century. In Europe, however, they were not well known until well into the Middle Ages. Then and there, doctors considered carrots would be help cure almost all diseases, so they prescribed them from sexual maladies to snakebite--which some would argue, are biblically connected. Today’s bright orange carrots are obtained by hybridizing the original red, purple, black, yellow, and white varieties with its potent dose of beta carotene in Holland.

Since then, carrots moved to England, during Elizabethan times. Some Elizabethans ate the roots as food; others used their feathery stalks to decorate their hair, their hats, their dresses, and their coats.

The early colonists brought carrots to the New World, but they were agreed to evade planting and then turned into the ubiquitous and delicate wild flower Queen Anne's Lace. If you doubt it, pluck up a plant and surprise your nose with the rich carroty scent.

It’s believed that carrots enable one to see in the dark--or at least improve vision--enabled the British Royal Air Force to disguise its use of radar from the Germans during World War II. As the story goes , the Air Force boasted that the great accuracy of British fighter pilots at night was a consequence of them being fed extremely large quantities of carrots--and the Germans bought it because their traditional beliefs included the similar myth.

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