The color orange is said by some to be the new black, but in the carrot, the color orange is turning over a new leaf and returning to its roots with its heirloom black, golden, purple, white, red and yellow hues. Their colorful beauty is more than skin deep and their inner selves resound with flavor. Early Celtic literature refers to this root as underground honey, showing a first-hand knowledge of its delicious sweetness.
Though wild varieties are indigenous throughout Europe, North Africa and Asia, botanists believe that the ancient Persians first domesticated the carrot. Today, there is a World Carrot Museum in the United Kingdom and carrot festivals from California, Georgia and New York in the U.S. to Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand and Turkey.
Throughout our urban, suburban and rural communities, there is an increasing interest in heirloom vegetables. Oh, the cycles we spin. There were pluses to the industrial revolution and its commercial descendants, surely. But the insidious demands of speed to market, transportability and shelf life combined with the agricultural defensive needs against drought, frost and blight and mechanical pick-a-bility gradually winnowed out the individual toothsomeness as well. However, our collective taste buds seem to have united to bring these sweet heirloom roots back to our tables. There’s a self-interest I can get behind.
As is usually the case, our website has many carrot recipes, some of which might surprise you. Minimally included are: Carrot Chips, Caramelized Carrots, Black Pepper Roasted Carrots and Maple Roasted Carrots with Orange Zest. Today our recipe is for a Curried Heirloom Carrot Soup with Coconut Milk which balances the carrot’s sweetness with a zesty spice flavor.