Carrot

 

Botanical Name: Daucus carota
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Daucus
Species: D. carota
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common Name: Carrot

Habitat : Carrot is native to Europe and southwestern Asia. The domestic carrot has been selectively bred for its greatly enlarged and more palatable, less woody-textured edible taproot. The wild ancestors of the carrot are likely to have come from Persia (regions of which are now Iran and Afghanistan), which remain the centre of diversity of Daucus carota, the wild carrot. A naturally occurring subspecies of the wild carrot, Daucus carota subsp. sativus, has been selectively bred over the centuries to reduce bitterness, increase sweetness and minimise the woody core. This has produced the familiar garden vegetable

Description:
Daucus carota is a biennial plant that grows a rosette of leaves in the spring and summer, while building up the stout taproot that stores large amounts of sugars for the plant to flower in the second year….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Soon after germination, carrot seedlings show a distinct demarcation between the taproot and the hypocotyl. The latter is thicker and lacks lateral roots. At the upper end of the hypocotyl is the seed leaf. The first true leaf appears about 10–15 days after germination. Subsequent leaves, produced from the stem nodes, are alternating (with a single leaf attached to a node, and the leaves growing in alternate directions) and compound, and arranged in a spiral. The leaf blades are pinnate. As the plant grows, the bases of the cotyledon are pushed apart. The stem, located just above the ground, is compressed and the internodes are not distinct. When the seed stalk elongates, the tip of the stem narrows and becomes pointed, extends upward, and becomes a highly branched inflorescence. The stems grow to 60–200 cm (20–80 in) tall.

Most of the taproot consists of parenchymatous outer cortex (phloem) and an inner core (xylem). High-quality carrots have a large proportion of cortex compared to core. Although a completely xylem-free carrot is not possible, some cultivars have small and deeply pigmented cores; the taproot can appear to lack a core when the colour of the cortex and core are similar in intensity. Taproots typically have a conical shape, although cylindrical and round cultivars are available. The root diameter can range from 1 cm (0.4 in) to as much as 10 cm (4 in) at the widest part. The root length ranges from 5 to 50 cm (2.0 to 19.7 in), although most are between 10 and 25 cm (4 and 10 in)

Flower development begins when the flat apical meristem changes from producing leaves to an uplifted conical meristem capable of producing stem elongation and an inflorescence. The inflorescence is a compound umbel, and each umbel contains several umbellets. The first (primary) umbel occurs at the end of the main floral stem; smaller secondary umbels grow from the main branch, and these further branch into third, fourth, and even later-flowering umbels. A large primary umbel can contain up to 50 umbellets, each of which may have as many as 50 flowers; subsequent umbels have fewer flowers. Flowers are small and white, sometimes with a light green or yellow tint. They consist of five petals, five stamens, and an entire calyx. The anthers usually dehisce and the stamens fall off before the stigma becomes receptive to receive pollen. The anthers of the brown male sterile flowers degenerate and shrivel before anthesis. In the other type of male sterile flower, the stamens are replaced by petals, and these petals do not fall off. A nectar-containing disc is present on the upper surface of the carpels.

CLICK & SEE CARROT FLOWER

Flower development is protandrous, so the anthers release their pollen before the stigma of the same flower is receptive. The arrangement is centripetal, meaning the oldest flowers are near the edge and the youngest flowers are in the center. Flowers usually first open at the periphery of the primary umbel, followed about a week later on the secondary umbels, and then in subsequent weeks in higher-order umbels. The usual flowering period of individual umbels is 7 to 10 days, so a plant can be in the process of flowering for 30–50 days. The distinctive umbels and floral nectaries attract pollinating insects. After fertilization and as seeds develop, the outer umbellets of an umbel bend inward causing the umbel shape to change from slightly convex or fairly flat to concave, and when cupped it resembles a bird’s nest.

The fruit that develops is a schizocarp consisting of two mericarps; each mericarp is an achene or true seed. The paired mericarps are easily separated when they are dry. Premature separation (shattering) before harvest is undesirable because it can result in seed loss. Mature seeds are flattened on the commissural side that faced the septum of the ovary. The flattened side has five longitudinal ribs. The bristly hairs that protrude from some ribs are usually removed by abrasion during milling and cleaning. Seeds also contain oil ducts and canals. Seeds vary somewhat in size, ranging from less than 500 to more than 1000 seeds per gram.

The carrot is a diploid species, and has nine relatively short, uniform-length chromosomes (2n=9). The genome size is estimated to be 473 mega base pairs, which is four times larger than Arabidopsis thaliana, one-fifth the size of the maize genome, and about the same size as the rice genome.

Cultivation:
Carrots are grown from seed and take around four months to mature. They grow best in full sun but tolerate some shade. The optimum growth temperature is between 16 and 21 °C (61 and 70 °F).(click & see the seedling germination)  The ideal soil is deep, loose and well-drained, sandy or loamy and with a pH of 6.3 to 6.8. Fertiliser should be applied according to soil type and the crop requires low levels of nitrogen, moderate phosphate and high potash. Rich soils should be avoided, as these will cause the roots to become hairy and misshapen. Irrigation should be applied when needed to keep the soil moist and the crop should be thinned as necessary and kept weed free…..click & see
Edible Uses:
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports that world production of carrots and turnips (these plants are combined by the FAO for reporting purposes) for calendar year 2011 was almost 35.658 million tonnes. Almost half were grown in China. Carrots are widely used in many cuisines, especially in the preparation of salads, and carrot salads are a tradition in many regional cuisines.

Carrots can be eaten in a variety of ways. Only 3 percent of the -carotene in raw carrots is released during digestion: this can be improved to 39% by pulping, cooking and adding cooking oil. Alternatively they may be chopped and boiled, fried or steamed, and cooked in soups and stews, as well as baby and pet foods. A well-known dish is carrots julienne. Together with onion and celery, carrots are one of the primary vegetables used in a mirepoix to make various broths.

The greens are edible as a leaf vegetable, but are only occasionally eaten by humans; some sources suggest that the greens contain toxic alkaloids. When used for this purpose, they are harvested young in high-density plantings, before significant root development, and typically used stir-fried, or in salads.

In India carrots are used in a variety of ways, as salads or as vegetables added to spicy rice or dal dishes. A popular variation in north India is the Gajar Ka Halwa carrot dessert, which has carrots grated and cooked in milk until the whole mixture is solid, after which nuts and butter are added. Carrot salads are usually made with grated carrots with a seasoning of mustard seeds and green chillies popped in hot oil. Carrots can also be cut in thin strips and added to rice, can form part of a dish of mixed roast vegetables or can be blended with tamarind to make chutney.

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Since the late 1980s, baby carrots or mini-carrots (carrots that have been peeled and cut into uniform cylinders) have been a popular ready-to-eat snack food available in many supermarkets. Carrots are puréed and used as baby food, dehydrated to make chips, flakes, and powder, and thinly sliced and deep-fried, like potato chips.

The sweetness of carrots allows the vegetable to be used in some fruit-like roles. Grated carrots are used in carrot cakes, as well as carrot puddings, an English dish thought to have originated in the early 19th century. Carrots can also be used alone or with fruits in jam and preserves. Carrot juice is also widely marketed, especially as a health drink, either stand-alone or blended with fruits and other vegetables.

Neutricinal Value of Carrot:
The medicine of the future will no longer be remedial, it will be preventive; not based on drugs but on the best diet for health. Always remember carrots nourish they do not heal. If the body has the ability to heal itself, it will use the raw materials found in foods to do its own healing work. Herbs do not heal, they feed. Herbs do not force the body to maintain and repair itself. They simply support the body in these natural functions.

Meditional Uses:
Carrots nourish they do not heal. If the body has the ability to heal itself, it will use the raw materials found in foods to do its own healing work. Herbs do not heal, they feed. Herbs do not force the body to maintain and repair itself. They simply support the body in these natural functions.

Carrots are credited with many medicinal properties; they are said to cleanse the intestines and to be diuretic, remineralizing, antidiarrheal, an overall tonic and antianemic. Carrot is rich in alkaline elements which purify and revitalize the blood. They nourish the entire system and help in the maintenance of acid-alkaline balance in the body. The carrot also has a reputation as a vegetable that helps to maintain good eyesight.

Raw grated carrot can be applied as a compress to burns for a soothing effect. Its highly energizing juice has a particularly beneficial effect on the liver.

An infusion of carrot seeds (1 teaspoon per cup of boiling water) is believed to be diuretic, to stimulate the appetite, reduce colic, aid fluid retention and help alleviate menstrual cramps. The dried flowers are also used as a tea as a remedy for dropsy. Taken in wine, or boiled in wine and taken, the seeds help conception. Strangely enough the seeds made into a tea have been used for centuries as a contraceptive. Applied with honey, the leaves cleanse running sores or ulcers. Carrots are also supposed to help break wind and remove stitches in the side. Chewing a carrot immediately after food kills all the harmful germs in the mouth. It cleans the teeth, removes the food particles lodged in the crevices and prevents bleeding of the gums and tooth decay. Carrot soup is supposed to relieve diarrhoea and help with tonsillitis.

In days gone by they grated raw carrot and gave it to children to expel worms. Pulped carrot is used as a cataplasm for application to ulcers and sores. They were also supposed to improve your memory abilities and relieve nervous tension. An Old English superstition is that the small purple flower in the centre of the Wild Carrot (Queen Annes Lace) was of benefit in curing epilepsy.

Queen Annes Lace (the Wild Carrot) was also considered toxic. The leaves contain furocoumarins that may cause allergic contact dermatitis from the leaves, especially when wet. Later exposure to the sun may cause mild photodermatitis. Wild Carrot seed is also an early abortifacient, historically, sometimes used as a natural “morning after” contraceptive tea. Queen Annes Lace has long been used because of its contraceptive properties. It has since been scientifically proven that the carrot seed extract, if given orally at the correct dosage from day 4 to 6 post-coitum, effectively inhibits implantation.

As the carrot was improved it found its way into medicine chests as well as stew pots. Both Gerard and Culpeper recommend the carrot for numerous ills. Culpeper says that the carrot is influenced by Mercury, the god of wind, and that a tea made from the dried leaves should dispel wind from the bowels and relieve dropsy, kidney stones, and women’s complaints.

Experimentally hypoglycemic, a tea made from Queen Annes Lace was believed to help maintain low blood sugar levels in humans, but it had no effect on diabetes artificially induced in animals. Wild carrot tea has been recommended for bladder and kidney ailment, dropsy, gout, gravel; seeds are recommended for calculus, obstructions of the viscera (internal organs), dropsy, jaundice, scurvy. Carrots of one form or another were once served at every meal for liver derangements; now we learn that they may upset the liver.

Medicinally the Carrot was used as a diuretic, stimulant, in the treatment of dropsy, flatulence, chronic coughs, dysentery, windy colic, chronic renal diseases and a host of other uses.Eating carrots is also good for allergies, aneamia, rheumatism, tonic for the nervous system. Everyone knows they can improve eye health; But it does not stop there the delicious carrot is good for diarrhoea, constipation (very high in fibre), intestinal inflammation, cleansing the blood (a liver tonic), an immune system tonic. Carrot is traditionally recommended to weak, sickly or rickety children, to convalescents or pregnant women, its anti-aneamic properties having been famous for a long time.

Tea made the seeds can promote the onset of menstruation. It is effective on skin problems including broken veins/capillaries, burns, creeping impetigo, wrinkles and sun damage. Carrots also help in stimulating milk flow during lactation. Believe it or not the carrot is also effective against roundworms and dandruff. Pureed carrots are good for babies with diarrhoea, providing essential nutrients and natural sugars.
Uses of carrot in Alternative Medicine:
The alternative medicine believers consider the carrot (the whole plant or its seeds) to have the following properties:

*Anthelmintic (destroying or expelling worms).
*Carminative (expelling flatulence).
*Contraceptive.
*Deobstruent.
*Diuretic (promoting the discharge of urine).
*Emmenagogue (producing oils which stimulate the flow of menstrual blood).
*Galactogogue (promoting the secretion of milk).
*Ophthalmic (pertaining to the eye).
*Stimulant.
*Oedema (water retention).
Known Hazards:
Some people are allergic to carrots. In a 2010 study on the prevalence of food allergies in Europe, 3.6 percent of young adults showed some degree of sensitivity to carrots. Because the major carrot allergen, the protein Dauc c 1.0104, is cross-reactive with homologues in birch pollen (Bet v 1) and mugwort pollen (Art v 1), most carrot allergy sufferers are also allergic to pollen from these plants.

Consumtion of excessive quantities, carrots can cause the skin to turn yellow; this phenomenon, which is called Carotenemia and caused by the carotene coEating carrots is also good for allergies, aneamia, rheumatism, tonic for the nervous system. Everyone knows they can improve eye health; But it does not stop there the delicious carrot is good for diarrhoea, constipation (very high in fibre), intestinal inflammation, cleansing the blood (a liver tonic), an immune system tonic. Carrot is traditionally recommended to weak, sickly or rickety children, to convalescents or pregnant women, its anti-aneamic properties having been famous for a long time.ntained in carrots, is frequently seen in young children but is not at all dangerous.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrot
http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/nutrition3.html

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