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International Carrot Day

International Carrot Day is for carrot lovers around the world and is celebrated with the eating of carrots and the holding of carrot parties. It was created in 2003 to spread knowledge about the vegetable. It makes sense carrots are celebrated internationally, as they are one of the ten most economically important vegetables in the world.

Carrots are root vegetables. They are usually orange, although they may also be red, purple, black, white, or yellow. It is this colored taproot that is most commonly eaten, although the leaves and seeds can be eaten as well, and that is why the plants were originally cultivated. Modern carrots were domesticated from wild carrots, which probably originated in Persia, an area that is now Afghanistan and Iran. They were selectively bred to be larger, less woody and bitter-tasting, and sweeter.

Writings mention what were probably carrots being eaten by the Romans in the first century CE. Three different varieties of carrots were mentioned in the Greek Juliana Anicia Codex of the sixth century. Carrots arrived in Spain in the eighth century, and the modern carrot that we are familiar with today was first cultivated in Afghanistan around the tenth century. This carrot is usually purple or yellow with branched roots and is called the Eastern carrot. Cultivated carrots reached China by the fourteenth century and Japan by the eighteenth. They were brought to colonial America by Europeans in the seventeenth century. Western carrots are usually orange and began being cultivated in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century.

Carrots take three to four months to mature from seed and have high amounts of carotene, vitamin K, and vitamin B6. They can be eaten in many ways: raw (in the 1980s baby carrots began being marketed), in salads, chopped and boiled, fried, steamed, in soups and stews, and in broths. They can be made into chips, flakes, and powders; be used to make a cake, pudding, jam, and preserves; and be made into juice. They also can be used in baby and pet foods.

How to Observe International Carrot Day

Celebrate the day by eating carrots and having a carrot-themed party. There are many carrot recipes you could try, and you could liven up your party with some carrot juice and carrot cake. You could also have some carrot cake shots, although there aren't actually any carrots in them. Make sure you and your guests are wearing carrot outfits, orange suits, or at least orange clothes. You could also plan a trip to the World Carrot Museum.

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