The Carrot Plant
This is Episode #14. Today, we are venturing forward into another plant feature. Often my plant features have included plants that are lesser known as edibles, but today the plant feature is a vegetable that the majority of people will recognize and that many commonly partake of. Carrots. We’ve snacked on them, dipped them, steamed them, chopped them, and juiced them…but do we REALLY know all that they are capable of? So, stick around as we delve into the beautiful, delicious and oh so nutritious carrot plant.
In this Episode you’ll learn:
- Our modern garden grown carrots were derived from the wild carrot.
- The word Carrot was first recorded in English around 1530, and derived from the French word “carotte” which comes from latin , “root” and “ker” meaning horn, because it was a similar shape to a horn.
Beneficial to nature:
- Carrots are a very hardy root vegetable.
- When they should be planted and harvested.
- What type of soil they should be planted in, and what sorts of plants they should be planted by. (Leeks, Tomatoes, Beans, Parsley and Peas)
- Fairly resistant to disease and garden pests.
RECOMMENDED VARIETIES Via the Farmers Almanac Growing Guide.
- The scientific name is Daucus Carota, and are most distinguishable by their flowering plant, which is part of the Apiaceae family. Some common names include Birds nest, Bishops Lace, and Queen Anne’s Lace.
- Both wild carrots and cultivated carrots have a deep tap root and airy/lacy leaves. Like domestic carrots, the wild carrot roots can be eaten. However, according to carrotmuseum.co.uk,
they are only edible when very young. After that, they are too tough and woody. The flowers are also edible. Flower clusters can be french fried for a carrot-flavoured, quite attractive dish.
Beware: Wild carrots or specifically, Queen Anne’s lace have often been mistaken for wild hemlock or water hemlock, which are poisonous and even deadly to the human body.
Queen Anne’s Lace
When paying close attention there are plenty of differences between the two types of plants, such as the leaves, flowers and stems, but the most notable difference is the smell. Hemlock has a very bad smell, while will carrots smell surprisingly, like carrots. But suffice it to say that hemlock is very poisonous, so unless you are unmistakably sure you are consuming or working with wild carrot, the best action is to avoid the risk.
* As an aside, while I was researching this, I came across a famous usage of the poisonous hemlock plant. Socrates in 399 BC was said to have been put to death by consuming poisonous hemlock, which paralyzes several organs within the body within 1-2 hours of consumption. One of the main organs that is rendered useless, is the respiratory system.
As for Carrot’s benefits to mankind,
- Antioxidants: Large amounts of antioxidants can fight off free-radical damage in the body which slows down cellular aging. These antioxidants also make them a superfood for your skin! IN fact, beta carotene has been shown to protect your skin from sun damage.
- Cancer: Carrots can also be added to the list for foods that fight Cancer because of a compound called falcarinol which may stimulate your bodies cancer-fighting abilities. Specifically they have shown success in dealing with, Lung Cancer, Luekemia, Colorectal Cancer. According to Dr. Mercola,
Antioxidants in carrots, including beta-carotene, may play a role in cancer prevention. Research has shown that smokers who eat carrots more than once a week have a lower risk of lung cancer, while a beta-carotene-rich diet may also protect against prostate cancer. Research published in the European Journal of Nutrition also found a significantly decreased risk of prostate cancer associated with the intake of carrots. The consumption of beta-carotene is also associated with a lower risk of colon cancer while carrot juice extract may kill leukemia cells and inhibit their progression. Further, a meta-analysis found that eating carrots may reduce your risk of gastric cancer by up to 26 percent.
- Vision: The antioxidant beta-carotene gives carrots their bright orange color. Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, as it is absorbed in the intestine and converted into vitamin A during digestion. One study done, determined that woman who consume more than 2 servings of carrots per week can lower their risk of glaucoma. In addition, they may help in preventing cataracts, because of the presence of lutein in carrots.
- Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure. Help to regulate both.
- Heart Disease. Research suggests that a diet full of rich/brightly colored fruits and veggies lowers risk of Coronary Heart Disease by 32%. IN fact, the study specifically named carrots as one of the example vegetables that a person with potential heart complications should be consuming. The study also claims that carrots can help to prevent heart attacks in women, especially.
- Brain Health: They are great for your brain health. They have been shown to help with memory and can even aid in cognitive functions among the elderly.
- Anti-Inflammatory: Surprise! Another nutritious plant helps with inflammation. The research behind this study, compared carrot properties to leading over the counter pharmaceuticals (like aspirin, ibuprofen and Celebrex) and found comparable changes in inflammation.
- Oral Health: They are great for your oral health. Eating raw carrots at the end of a meal increases saliva and therefore helps to cleanse the mouth and reduce the risk of cavity causing bacteria.
- Liver & Detoxification: Carrots have been shown to help against the effects of environmental toxins. The research was done in 1995, and a specific chemical, carbon tetrachloride damage on the liver was measured and those livers that received a carrot extract, were not only protected but the cellular damage was repaired. So, while carrots can protect against this specific chemical, it is estimated that the same cellular protection and repair could occur amidst other environmental attacks.
- Wild Carrot has been shown to have benefits with urinary tract issues, and other bladder and urinary pathway issues, such as kidney stones, water retention, and gout (or excess uric acid in the urin) Because it is an natural diuretic and has a smoothing effect with the digestive tract, it can also help alleviate dysentery, and extreme diarrhea. Because of its benefits for the bladder and digestive tract, it can help relieve indigestion, and some women have used it to help with pain in their uterus and even to encourage smooth menstraul cycles.
Recipes/How to Use:
Carrots can be used in a variety of different ways!
Raw: Wash and take a bite.
Wash, Cut and Consume.
Wash, Peel, Cut and Consume.
Juiced: I like to use this juicer, or this juicer, and straight carrot juice is delicious. If you want your carrot juice a little bit sweeter, then add a couple green apples (about 1 per 8 oz glass). And if you want an extra boost of energy, flavor and detoxification, add some ginger to your carrot apple juice! YUM!!
Cooked: Cook on the stove with a little bit of water, until soft and then add coconut oil and salt. Super simple!
My Favorite Carrot Soups/Stews: Smoked Lentils & Carrots (Seriously one of our favorites!)
Another super yummy, Carrot Curry Soup
Carrot Top Soup Broth: Recipe Here.
Carrot Top Pesto: Recipe Here
http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/history.html (History of the Carrot)
https://www.almanac.com/plant/carrots (How to grow, Various Varieties, etc)
https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/the-truth-about-baby-carrots/ (How Baby Carrots are made. )
https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/102/5/1142/4564405 (Cancer and Carrots studies)
https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-887/wild-carrot (Wild Carrot Usages)
http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/wild.html (Wild Carrot Info)
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/02/15/health-benefits-carrots.aspx (Dr Mercola’s tips for Benefits from Carrots. )
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2322737 (Carrots and Heart Disease)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18355790 (Glaucoma and Carrots)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7500638 (Liver & Carrots)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13680840 (Carrots as Anti-inflammatory)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20550741 (Carrots and the brain)
http://www.ravensroots.com/blog/2015/6/26/poison-hemlock-id (difference between Hemlock and Queen Anne’s Lace)
If you have some or find some wild carrots on your property or while you are foraging, please take a picture and tag permaculture princess and hashtag #PermaculturePrincessPodcast & #plantfeatures