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Carrot

History

Carrots were grown for their aromatic leaves and seeds rather than their roots. They are native to Europe and south-western Asia. Wild red, black, yellow, white and purple carrots grew in Afghanistan in the 7th century. The Dutch first cultivated orange carrots. Carrots seeds reached Australia on the First Fleet in 1788 and were grown on Norfolk Island by convicts.

What are they

The carrot comes from the Daucus Carota family and is a root vegetable.  When fresh it has a crisp texture that is usually orange in colour, though purple, black, red, white, and yellow varieties exist.

How are they grown

Carrots grow best in full sun and prefer a moderate climate and regular watering. Carrots grow better from seeds but seedlings may also be used. Seeds start to germinate in three to seven days and shoots start emerging between one and three weeks after planting.

Where are they grown

All over Australia.

Variety

In Australia, carrots are not usually sold by variety. You can buy ‘baby’ carrots (usually harvested early) or ‘mature’, larger carrots.

One common type of carrot is the Dutch carrot. These are 5 to 8 cm long and sold in bunches with the leaves attached. Some of the other types of carrots include Imperitor, Nantes, Nantes-Berlicium. These are usually a reddish colour and are cylindrical to cigar-shaped. The new variety Kurodo (or Koyo) is shorter than the common type of carrot that is usually available in the supermarket.

How to know when they are ripe

When the tops of the roots obtain a diameter of 2-3.5 cm they can be considered ready for harvesting. A good watering a couple of hours prior to harvesting greatly facilitates lifting of the carrots. Young roots can be harvested in about 3 months.

Summer carrot crops can be ready for harvest in 16 weeks from sowing, while crops growing through the cooler winter months may grow for up to 24 weeks.

Seasonality

All year round.

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Carrots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weather impacts

High temperatures result in short thick roots.

Local market

Fresh and processed (frozen).

Storage

Storage life depends on storage temperature and humidity:

  • At 20°C and 60 to 70% relative humidity, carrots will keep for 2 to 3 days.
  • At 4°C and 80 to 90% relative humidity, carrots will keep for 1 to 2 months.
  • At 0°C and 90 to 95% relative humidity, carrots will keep for up to 6 months
  • The ideal conditions for best keeping quality are pre-cooling and storage at 0°C and 95 to 100% relative humidity.

Nutrition

Carrots have among the highest beta-carotene (provitamin A) level found in vegetables, which gives them the bright orange colour. B-carotene has antioxidant properties that help neutralise potentially health damaging free radicals. The deeper the carrot colour, generally the more carotene, which is broken down during digestion to vitamin A. Purple carrots contain anthocyanin, another antioxidant with health benefits.

Packaging

After harvest, the carrots are washed, brush polished, hydro-cooled, size and quality graded and packed into 10, 15 and 20 kilogram plastic bag-lined cardboard cartons or into 0.5 and 1 kilogram retail ready pre-pack bags.

Link for more information

AusVeg www.ausveg.com.au

 

References

Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/carrots/carrots-western-australia (January 2016)