Yellow carrots are just one of many different carrot colors in cultivation. The difference is they are yellow instead of orange, but otherwise not that different from other varieties. Yellow carrots were one of the first carrot colors and, as a variety, they are much older than today’s orange carrots. The original carrots were cream-colored or white. Then a natural mutation occurred and some turned purple. Then another natural mutation led to a recessive gene that resulted in yellow carrots. Present day orange carrots were developed much later, around the 17th century.
What does a yellow carrot look like?
A yellow carrot is not an eccentric looking vegetable by any means. Except for the different color, a yellow carrot looks just like any other carrot. In line with the general appearance of the vegetable, a yellow carrot is slender and elongated, tapering at the end where the roots are, but can also be more cylindrical in shape. The leaves and seeds are identical to other varieties too. Younger carrots are more tender, while older carrots are woodier in texture, with a more pronounced flavor profile. Yellow carrots are yellow both inside and out. Yellow and purple carrots also exist, the variety being purple on the outside and yellow inside.
What does a yellow carrot taste like?
Do yellow carrots taste different from orange carrots? Or do they taste the same? For the most part, yellow carrots do not taste much different from orange ones. At most, they are slightly sweeter, but the difference is quite subtle, almost too subtle to detect. This being said, yellow carrots are moderately sweet, with a flavor profile and aroma characteristic of carrots. The taproot is hard, crunchy and crisp in texture and the raw carrots are aromatic, releasing a pleasant odor when you bite into them. Cooking subdues some of the flavor, rendering yellow carrots more plainly sweet and soft.
Are yellow carrots safe to eat?
You can eat yellow carrots raw, cooked, pickled or any way you want to and they are perfectly edible and safe to eat, not to mention nutritious and healthy. A yellow carrot is the exact same vegetable as an orange carrot, just a different color. It’s true, the color variation indicates minor nutritional differences and, most important, differences in antioxidant profile and content. But other than this, it’s the exact same vegetable and can be used in the same way as orange carrots, black carrots or red carrots. The color itself, while novel, does not indicate anything bad about the vegetable.
Why are some carrots yellow?
What makes some yellow carrots yellow is a high content of naturally-occurring yellow pigments. Yellow carrots get their color from organic carotenoids called xanthophylls. The predominant xanthophyll in yellow carrots is lutein, a yellow-colored antioxidant also found in yellow watermelon, egg yolk and green leafy vegetables. Yellow carrots also have small amounts of the xanthophyll called zeaxanthin and small amounts of orange-colored alpha and beta-carotene. Versus yellow carrots, orange carrots are high in carotenoids called carotenes. Beta-carotene is the predominant pigment in orange carrots, followed by alpha-carotene. Beta-carotene is also the predominant pigment in orange watermelon.
Are yellow carrots genetically modified?
You’d think yellow carrots are genetically modified because of their bright color, unusual for the vegetable. But they are not. While it may come as a surprise to some, yellow carrots are in fact non-GMO. Where do they come from? The original color of carrots was cream or white. After they were domesticated, carrots became purple and yellow and it took several centuries to get them the bright orange color they are today. This was achieved through selective breeding, essentially crossing carrots with specific traits to get a variety with particular characteristics.
Yellow carrot vs orange carrot
What is the difference between a yellow carrot and an orange carrot? Well, first of all, it’s the color: yellow carrots are yellow all over, while orange carrots are bright orange. What makes yellow carrots yellow is a high content of organic yellow pigments called xanthophylls. By comparison, what makes orange carrots orange is a high content of organic orange pigments called carotenes. Then there’s the taste: yellow carrots tend to taste just a little bit sweeter compared to orange ones, but you can always get sweet tasting orange carrots and not so sweet tasting yellow ones, depending on growing conditions.
The nutrition is pretty much the same, with the exception of the vitamin A content which is lower in yellow carrots and higher in orange ones. This is because orange carrots are high in beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, two carotenoid antioxidants with vitamin A activity. By comparison, yellow carrots are higher in xanthophyll antioxidants which do not have vitamin A activity. But even so, the xanthophyll antioxidants in yellow carrots provide benefits for eye health and vision just like the pro-vitamin A carotenoids.
This post was updated on Friday / August 28th, 2020 at 8:38 PM