Did you know carrots originated in modern day Afghanistan and were actually originally purple? The modern day orange carrot that we are all so used to seeing on our supermarket shelves was developed by the Dutch some time around the 16th century and was popularised because it was cheap to produce.
According to recent studies, purple carrots are actually much more nutritious than their orange cousin, and have double the level of beat-caratone and 28 times more antioxidants. Antioxidants capture harmful free radicals in the body, slow blood clotting and act as an anti-inflammatory. So next time you are at the supermarket or grocer and see purple carrots why not give them a try?
Did you know?
- The Romans believed carrots and their seeds were aphrodisiacs. As such, carrots were a common plant found in Roman gardens, however after the fall of Rome carrot cultivation in Europe stopped until around the 10th century when Arabs reintroduced them.
- We’re all familiar with the saying that eating carrots improves your night vision, but did you know where it came from? Apparently it started during World War II when the British were able to locate and shoot down German planes at night due to the invention of radar. Germans, at the time, weren’t aware of the existance of radar, so, to cover up this invention the British spread the rumour that their abilities were a result of consuming large amounts of carrots which enabled them to see in dark.
- Carrots were first grown as a medicine not a food – for their aromatic leaves and seeds. The seeds were said to prevent pregnancy.
- Carrots are a member of the umbellifer family, which includes parsley, dill, fennel, coriander and cumin.
I wanted to use this beautiful, ancient vegetable, so I decided to make a savoury Carrot and Thyme Loaf. This Carrot and Thyme Loaf is oh so easy to prepare and smells amazing when it’s baking. It would be perfect for a lazy Sunday brunch or even a picnic.
Sadly though, my enthusiasm to use the gorgeous purple carrots got the best of me and I didn’t think about how they would look when baked into this loaf. As I sliced through the loaf I could help but frown as I realised that the streaks of purple carrot looked a little like blue mould in cheese! Whoops! Aesthetics aside, this Carrot and Thyme Loaf is a lovely savoury bread. However, if the thought of purple carrot streaks through your Carrot and Thyme Loaf puts you off, simply replace it with regular carrot.
Have you tried purple carrots before?
- 2 cups of plain (all purpose) flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
- 100g of cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 purple carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 large orange carrot, peeled and grated
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, grated
- 2 teaspoons of thyme leaves
- 3 tablespoons of butter,melted
- 1 teaspoon of Fleur de sel
- 1 teaspoon of freshly cracked pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) and grease a large loaf tin.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, cheese, carrots, garlic, spring onions and stir to combine.
- In a jug combine the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter and whisk to combine. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk mixture. Mix to combine.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.