One purple carrot next to orange carrots

Surprising Health Benefits Of Purple Carrots

They have all the good bits of their orange counterparts, and then some.

April 1, 2015

Purple carrots aren't simply a novelty. Purple carrots' unique color reflects their healthy phytochemical constituents. Not only does the Purple Haze variety have the vitamin A and beta-carotene of ordinary carrots, it's also rich in anthocyanins, the antioxidant compounds that give blueberries their distinctive color and superfood health benefits. Studies have found that these blue and purple pigments in purple carrots can improve memory, enhance vision, protect against heart attacks, act as anti-inflammatories, and even help control weight.

Purple Haze mirrors the original color of carrots cultivated in Afghanistan 5,000 years ago. It grows well in most zones but prefers soil temperatures of 59 to 68 degrees to create its spectacular purple skin. Purple Haze matures in 65 to 70 days. Pull the roots (wet the ground to make harvest easier) when the shoulders are deep purple.


Related: How To Plant Carrots

In cold climates, purple carrots can be left in the ground even through winter, beneath a deep mulch of hay or straw. In warm climates, however, purple carrots left in the ground are vulnerable to insect pests, so it is best to make successional sowings and harvest carrots as they mature. Store purple carrots in the refrigerator, in a plastic bag, with the foliage trimmed off. Don't store purple carrots near apples or pears, which give off gases that turn carrots bitter.

Related: Veggies Of A Different Color

Cooking Suggestions
Purple Haze carrots are sweet and delicious raw or cooked, but they lose much of their gorgeous color when boiled. For that reason, serve them fresh from the garden whenever possible. Slice your purple carrots into medallions, mix with other colorful varieties, and serve with dill dip, or grate and toss with white cabbage and orange carrots for a colorful coleslaw. Coat whole or sliced carrots with a little olive oil, sprinkle with fresh or dried thyme, and roast until soft, which enhances their inherent sweetness. For a sweet side dish, sauté purple carrots lightly in olive oil and serve them with a maple glaze; for a savory twist, add yellow or purple onions that have been sautéed until soft.