Monday, November 01, 2021

Carrots in ancient world

Wild carrot is indigenous to Europe, Northern Africa, and parts of western Asia, and seeds have been found dating from Mesolithic times, approximately 10,000 years ago. Home of carrots and its numerous cousins can be tracked to dry and hot lands of Iran and Afghanistan. Earliest evidence of its use there was dated to 3000 BC.

Afghanistan was thought to be the first centre of carrot diversity, and Turkey was the second. Almost five thousand years ago, carrots were first cultivated in the Iranian Plateau (Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran) and then in the Persian Empire. Long before carrot was domesticated, wild carrot had become widespread, as seeds were found in Europe dating back nearly 5,000 years ago.

Original carrots were purple and yellow, initially described in the 10th century in Iran and northern Arabia.

Evidence for purple carrots is seen in Egypt as far back as 2000 BC. Many other colourful varieties were later found in Asia and there is also evidence of their use in Greece during the Hellenistic period.

Yellow carrots were preferred in northern Europe until the development of orange carrots in The Netherlands in the 18th century. White carrots were noted in Europe and red carrots are thought to have originated in China around this time.

Carrot (karo) was first mentioned in the third century BC by Diphilus of Siphnos. Theophrastus (371-287 BC) in Enquiry into Plants IX;15 states that ‘daukon’ grows in Arcadia and is saffron coloured.

After the fall of Rome carrots stopped being widely seen in Europe until they the Arabs reintroduced them to Europe through the Andalusia in the Middle Ages around 1100.This time the edible carrot caught on, with violet carrots being grown in Italy and used in desserts.

Throughout the Dark Ages and early Middle Ages, carrots were the main starchy vegetables for ordinary people in Europe, as they were easy to grow and store and a very welcome food to eat during the lean winter months.

By 13th century carrots travelled from Persia to Asia, reaching distant Japan. During same time, European carrot started being cultivated in gardens and fields of France and Germany.

The orange carrots known so well today only originated in the 17th century, produced by the Dutch following a cultural selection process.
Carrots in ancient world