The word “carrot” may bring to mind the familiar green-and-black striped colors of a variety of popular fruits, but what does it really mean? In simple terms, a carrot is a fleshy vegetable that has small edible seeds.
Commonly, carrots are heralded as vegetable. But those juicy little red balls are officially fruits too. You’ll soon understand the difference once more.
In order for a vegetable to be classified as a vegetable, it must meet several requirements.
It must have two main characteristics:
- It must have a fairly short lifespan (less than a year)
- It must be quite common (nearly ubiquitous)
Carrots, unlike most other vegetables, are both short lived (generally less than a year) and quite common (they are a major source of fresh fruit in Eastern Europe). This combination of long life and widespread distribution qualifies carrots as vegetables.
But what does it really mean to be a vegetable?
In terms of nutritional value, there is no clear-cut answer. Carrots are certainly better than other common fruits and vegetables when it comes to vitamin C content – their higher level of natural vitamin C content makes them excellent sources of the antioxidant, particularly vitamin A. But just like other fruits and vegetables, they do not provide a high level of vitamin D. And although it is relatively well-known that citrus fruits contain significant amounts of vitamin D, it is not clear whether carrots are true citrus fruits (that is, they contain citrus pigments rather than Vitamin D). Carrots do not appear to be true fruits in the strictest definition of the word.
Although the relatively paltry amount of vitamin A is a positive for most people, it is actually an amino acid with significant physiological benefits, especially for muscle health. It is therefore not surprising that people who live their lives in relatively deficient environments, where even the simplest sources of vitamin A are few and far between, turn to carrots as a source of extra vitamin A. Even so, while this is good carrot nutrition, it is probably more important to eat a wide variety of other good foods such as fruits and vegetables as opposed to carrots.
When it comes to avoiding intoxication from drugs, at least as regards alcohol, the answer is “no”. Carrots contain a relatively small amount of tryptophan, the body’s primary chemical source of serotonin. The levels of tryptophan are particularly low in alcohol-drinking cultures where alcohol is regularly consumed – another reason why carrots might be classed as vegetables instead of fruits when people ask, is carrot juice good for you. It is a matter of proportion: if too much serotonin is present in a food, it can cause unpleasant side effects such as nausea and sleep problems.
As far as the fire goes, carrot and orange root vegetables do not contain very much. In fact, except for flat-leaf stalks, most of the carrot’s fibers end up in the human digestive tract as waste material and eventually as cellulite.
Some of the orange root vegetables, such as cabbage, have a higher level of fibers in the skin and peel, but these are not always easy to digest and therefore are not as beneficial to health as the fleshier, more nutritious roots.
Growing carrots indoors
Have you ever wanted to grow carrots indoors but never had the time or patience to do it? Carrots have a short shelf life when stored in a store, so they’re better if you can grow them yourself in a small indoor garden.
That doesn’t mean you can’t grow them outdoors, just that you’ll probably have a better result if you have them indoors.
And it’s a lot easier to do if you learn the best ways to go about it.
You must have at least eight inches deep of either gravel or soil to support your carrots as they grow. So the pots for this also need to be at least eight inches deep, with at least three to four inches of space on each side for air to circulate. Depth is very important, depending upon which variety you select, carrots usually need between eight and ten inches of depth. It’s not difficult to find pots that are deep enough for these varieties, but the first step is to decide what you want the end result to look like. If you’re after smaller white varieties like baby carrots, you’ll probably want a pot that’s between eight and twelve inches deep, while larger varieties like dwarf carrots will need deep containers that’re between fifteen and twenty four inches deep.
The next factor is drainage, so you should have at least two drainage holes cut into the bottom of your container. Most people keep their carrots in glass containers but these aren’t very practical as they’re often large and hard to clean. Tops, bottoms and even sprouts can accumulate mold, so it’s nice to be able to move your carrots around easily wash them when they do. Keep in mind that for larger varieties you’ll probably need larger containers, but you can certainly grow carrots indoors in small containers.
One of the benefits of growing carrots indoors is that you’ll never have to fight bugs. Carrots tend to attract flies and other insects, and if you grow them inside you won’t have to deal with them. These pests will be naturally repelled because of the natural sugars contained within the fruit, so you don’t have to worry about killing any off-set pests. In fact, the only time you may have to worry about them is if you have a plant disease. You may also have to clean the soil frequently, especially if you have a garden in your house.
There are many more benefits of growing carrots indoors for your vegetable, including how easy they are to maintain. All you have to worry about is ensuring there’s proper ph balance. You can buy carrots that have already been exposed to a beta-carotene light, and these will give you much better results in terms of color and flavor than carrots that have not. A good gardener with a garden can easily start growing carrots indoors without too much of a hassle – and this means you can save money as well!
When you get ready to plant your own vegetables, be sure to get your hands on some good advice about which types of carrots you should pick, how much room they need, and what kind of potting soil you’ll need. The Internet is a great source of advice if you’re not too sure about any of these things – and even lists out specific conditions to look out for when you’re planting different varieties. If you have the right conditions for your vegetables, then you can ensure that they can grow properly and easily, giving you the produce you’ve always wanted!