In Europe carrots are cultivated over approximately 22 thousand hectares, with Poland being the major supplier. Although we usually associate carrots with the color orange, they can be found in a host of other colors including white, yellow, red or purple.
There are more than 100 species of carrots in the world; they can be as small as 5 cm or as long as 60 cm, ranging in diameter. Each of them has a different use in the food industry. Small and crunchy to munch as one of your five a day, big and juicy to produce juices, concentrates and purees. Common applications for carrot ingredients include juices, smoothies, soups and baby food, but they are now becoming popular for more innovative applications too. They are easily incorporated in yoghurts, and the consumer quest for unusual flavours has enabled carrots to even break into the ice cream sector.
It was the British army which started the urban legend that eating large quantities of carrots helps people see in the dark when they needed a cover up for the effective use of radar technologies in night raids. There is some truth in that old legend, as carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which in the retina is transformed into rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision. Urban legends aside, carrots do have an outstanding nutritional profile. Rich in vitamin A, K and biotin, they provide an undiscussed healthy halo to all food and drink applications.
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