Shake off the dirt and wear your best orange on this International Carrot Day, on April 4. You’ll never catch us without a pack of carrots in the crisper and that’s because this vegetable is not only highly affordable with a long shelf life, but is also exceedingly beneficial for our health. Whether they’re brightening our winter soups or complimenting the cream cheese icing in our cakes, carrots are always a welcome guest on any plate.
History of International Carrot Day
The first annual celebration of this vibrant root occurred in the year 2003 with the pure intention of celebrating the staple salad ingredient. As of now, celebrations have been reported to occur in France, Italy, Sweden, Russia, Australia, Japan, and the U.K. It seems that carrots are a rather hearty plant that can grow in many diverse conditions, though they typically come into harvest in the summer and fall seasons of their growth sites.
California is responsible for 85% of the carrots that U.S. citizens purchase in grocery stores across the country. While the taproot is traditionally the star of the culinary show, carrot greens — the part that grows out of the soil and toward the sun — are equally edible. Many countries use this portion of the plant to mix in with their salad greens.
Carrots are among the few vegetables that are harvested primarily for their roots, rather than their sprouts. Joining them are potatoes, turnips, radishes, and beets. The traditional carrot’s hue is a deep orange with yellow undertones, but there are many different variations in color harvested worldwide, including purple, red, and pale yellow iterations.
Due to the carrot’s longevity when stored in the refrigerator, it often makes appearances in dishes for all seasons, from spring to autumn to winter. Carrots are also among the vegetables that can be eaten raw and fresh, with only a little scrub under cool water as preparation. When raw, the crunch of a carrot can be heard from many feet away. Carrots can be served as a sweet treat in carrot cake, or as a savory accompaniment to meats such as salmon and chicken.
International Carrot Day timeline
Farmers in Afghanistan begin to propagate the ancestor to today’s modern carrot.
Carrots make their first trip across the Atlantic Ocean to arrive in North America in their orange and white varieties.
During World War II, many citizens begin to learn different methods for preparing the carrots grown in their home gardens.
The baby carrot is developed as a method for selling crops with superficial abnormalities such as lumps, knots, or additional growths.
International Carrot Day FAQs
If I eat lots of carrots, will I really turn orange?
The longstanding myth that a person who eats too many carrots will turn orange is actually true! While it would take a massive habit to achieve these results, some carrot fanatics have actually begun turning a yellowish orange on their palms and the soles of their feet. This condition is called carotenemia and is not dangerous.
Can carrots really help people see in the dark?
Unfortunately, this beloved root cannot offer us that particular superpower. During World War II, the British Air Force claimed that carrots were responsible for their accurate target work against the Germans in order to conceal the fact that they were using new radar technologies to locate enemy camps.
Are carrots dirty since they come out of the dirt?
Carrots are 100% safe to eat, but they can have a little dirt on them at the time of purchase due to their earthy origins. It’s always recommended to give your carrots a good scrub, and perhaps even a once-over peel, before consuming.
How to Celebrate International Carrot Day
Do a taste test!
After visiting your local grocery or farmer’s market to gather some different carrot varieties, bring your haul home and prepare for a blind taste test. Cut and prepare each variety, from purple to white to orange and once, they’re complete, blindfold your family members and serve the veggies up! Without the visual input to spoil things, your taste testers can describe the different flavor nuances of each colored root.
Start a garden patch!
Did you know you could propagate your own carrot plants just by using the scraps from your regular grocery store purchase? When you’re ready to use your carrots, cut the tops of them off and set them aside. Place the stump-cut side down in a shallow glass dish and fill with about one inch of water. Set the dish in a sunny windowsill and top the water off each day — you’re growing your own sprouts!
Enjoy a cozy soup
If this holiday, which occurs in early spring, is still nippy where you live, then take advantage of the opportunity to throw together a cozy, warm soup starring this orange veggie front and center. We like to start our soups by sautéing onion, garlic, and celery in a deep pot and then adding carrots cut in thin discs before covering with delicious chicken or vegetable stock. Pull on some knit socks and a cozy blanket and enjoy this warm, healthy treat in honor of our favorite beta-carotene contributor!
5 Fresh Facts About Farmers’ Markets That’ll Put A Rumble In Your Tummy
The flavors are far more intense
At a farmers’ market, almost all produce has been harvested at peak ripeness, sometimes even within the last 24 hours before you purchase it.
Mother Earth is the manager
When you shop at a farmers’ market, you’ll only be able to purchase what is already in season — by molding your weekly menu to Mother Earth’s bounty, you’ll be reducing carbon emissions and helping the planet.
The finds can’t be beat
Local farmers, who are the life of your farmers’ markets, can help introduce you to new fruits and vegetables that you may never have heard of before.
It’s not just about the plants
Depending on your geographical location, you can also purchase farm-fresh eggs, fresh milk, and even cheeses and meats from your local market — as an added bonus, most of the animals responsible for producing these products are treated far more humanely on these small family farms than they are in corporate factories.
Community connection is a top priority
Your most cherished local restaurants probably visit the farmers’ markets religiously — while you’re there, you’ll meet lots of creative and community-oriented members of your neighborhood and feel far more connected than you would by just walking into a grocery chain.
Why we love International Carrot Day
Carrots are a fridge staple
When it comes to finding enthusiasm in the kitchen, we can often overlook the simple staples that have carried us through a lifetime. International Carrot Day reminds us about this ubiquitous and universally loved vegetable that is likely in each of our refrigerator drawers.
Beta-carotene strengthens our vision
The primary vitamin in carrots is beta-carotene, which transforms into vitamin A once processed through the human digestive system. Vitamin A is known for strengthening the eyes as well as the bones, teeth, and skin.
Money isn’t an issue
Carrots are among the cheapest vegetables available for purchase in the U.S. They make clean-eating more accessible to citizens of all socioeconomic backgrounds, which means no one is excluded from celebrating along with us!
International Carrot Day dates