Cornucopia’s Take: Unusual crops are not widely available in the industrial farming paradigm, although they often have great value in terms of increasing biodiversity, growing crops locally, and providing nutrition.
Source: Deidre Woollard
They have all the good bits of their orange counterparts, and then some.
Purple carrots aren’t simply a novelty. Purple carrots’ unique color reflects their healthy phytochemical constituents. Not only does the Purple Haze variety have the vitamin A and beta-carotene of ordinary carrots, it’s also rich in anthocyanins, the antioxidant compounds that give blueberries their distinctive color and superfood health benefits. Studies have found that these blue and purple pigments in purple carrots can improve memory, enhance vision, protect against heart attacks, act as anti-inflammatories, and even help control weight.
Purple Haze mirrors the original color of carrots cultivated in Afghanistan 5,000 years ago. It grows well in most zones but prefers soil temperatures of 59 to 68 degrees to create its spectacular purple skin. Purple Haze matures in 65 to 70 days. Pull the roots (wet the ground to make harvest easier) when the shoulders are deep purple.
In cold climates, purple carrots can be left in the ground even through winter, beneath a deep mulch of hay or straw. In warm climates, however, purple carrots left in the ground are vulnerable to insect pests, so it is best to make successional sowings and harvest carrots as they mature. Store purple carrots in the refrigerator, in a plastic bag, with the foliage trimmed off. Don’t store purple carrots near apples or pears, which give off gases that turn carrots bitter.
Purple Haze carrots are sweet and delicious raw or cooked, but they lose much of their gorgeous color when boiled. For that reason, serve them fresh from the garden whenever possible.