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Apiaceae: carrot family, Food, glorious food!

Purple carrots

Carrot diversity

Image via Wikipedia

When I first decided to set up a community garden and grow my own food, I also decided that I wanted to grow heritage veggies – non-hybrid, non-GM, open-pollinated, rare and heirloom vegetables.

My first foray into the heritage variety is purple carrots. The decision is based purely on colour.  The regal purple is one of my favourite colours.  Purple carrot is believed to have originated from Persia, and is one of many varieties of fruits and vegetables that are almost lost in the era of monoculture, suburbia explosion and supermarket monopolisation.

There is no difference to planting process of purple carrots, however, I was not prepared for the taste. To describe it as amazing is an understatement. It has such an intense flavour to it with a subtle nutty taste. Each crunchy bite is bursting with flavour and goodness.

A research carried out by the University of Southern Queensland revealed that this ancient carrot is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains up to 28 times more anthocyanins – antioxidants that are responsible for the purple-red pigment in raspberries and blueberries – than there are in orange carrots.

Lindsay Brown, professor of Biomedical Sciences at the university conducted rat studies using purple carrots. To mirror unhealthy Western diet, for 16 weeks the rats were given high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. The result was damaging. The rats developed health issues including high blood pressure, obesity and glucose-intolerant – or prediabetic – and suffered heart and liver damage.

Subsequently, purple carrot juice was introduced into the diet and things went back to normal. According to Professor Brown the blood pressure went down, the collagen in the heart was back to normal, the liver histology was back to normal, the liver enzymes, the glucose tolerance, the fat pads were all back to normal.

Heritage variety purple carrots straight from the veggie patch

Flavoursome purple carrots.


About Urban permaculturist

I have an interest in sustainability; from food security to renewable energy. I am also a keen food gardener and vegetarian cook. For more information, check out my blog at:


2 thoughts on “Purple carrots

  1. Thank you for the information on purple carrots. Tell me where can I purchase the seeds?

    again thank you, Ella in Phoenix

    Posted by Ella Hayes | September 24, 2011, 10:07 am
    • Hi Ella,

      Try the following places:

      Native Seeds/ SEARCH, 2509 North Campbell Avenue, #325 Tucson, AZ 85719
      Seed Savers Exchange, 3076 North Winn Road, Decorah, IA 52101

      I don’t have their telephone numbers nor URL but I am sure it would be easy enough to google them. I got mine from my local organic fruit and veggie shop here in Melbourne.

      Good luck with your purple carrots. They are amazingly delicious.


      Posted by Urban permaculturist | September 24, 2011, 12:33 pm

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