I was in the check-out lane at the grocery unloading organic produce at the register. A good-looking guy in his mid-thirties waiting behind me glanced at the three glorious bunches of carrots I plucked from my cart. He broke into a wide grin and began to laugh, “I didn’t know carrots came like that!”
He had never seen carrots with their tops still on!
This spontaneous explosion of beautiful wonder in this man’s face put a smile on my own and melted my heart. At the same time I couldn’t help but be a little sad. How did we come to be so disconnected with our food here in the United States that we don’t even know what a real carrot looks like anymore?
The feathery greens of carrots were at one time considered beautiful enough to adorn Victorian ladies hats. Also, you can slice off the uppermost inch of the carrot root with the top still attached and put it in a vase filled shallowly with water. This may be used to adorn a mantel or table, as they also used to do in Victorian times. There is a great debate on whether you can eat the greens or not. Click here for the best information that I have found on this topic online from the World Carrot Museum!
In Asian traditions which heal with food, the tops are bitter, and make an excellent wintertime food. Along with salty foods, bitter helps to bring one in and centered. This insular quality is perfect for winter, when we need to become more withdrawn and conserve our energies. Bitter is yin and has a cooling effect, which may seem at odds with winter, but this coolness pushes the heat more inward and actually helps us to feel less cold. Bitter helps to drain dampness and tones the kidneys. Kidneys are all about water and water brings us full circle. Water is the element of winter. The tops may be added to carrot juice or to soups, adding many minerals.
Cooking carrots (root) can make them more bioavailable for the body to access their nutrients rather than eating them raw. Carrots have been shown to have a decrease in many different types of cancer (cited in many sources). There was research done with 1,300 elderly patients who consumed more than a serving a day of carrots. They were able to decrease their risk of heart attack by 60%. Eating carrots can help with digestive parasites due to an essential oil that destroys certain worms. And yes, carrots really do help with your eye sight, particularly with cataracts and night vision. Carrots and bananas are the two foods that I can tell instantly if they are not organic because they make my mouth itch. If you are using carrots for healing, BUY ORGANIC!
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Later in the day, I came upon my incredibly patient and sexy friend, D.T., who was busy prepping some beautiful little heirlooms. I was so taken by their colorful swirls, I ended up halting the production line for several minutes trying to take pictures. Here are a few of the photos. I understand if many of you haven’t seen a purple or a white carrot before. Carrots were actually originally black and purple and were only later cultivated into the lighter colors. Aren’t they pretty?
Thank you, D.T.!!! You are a tolerant love!!!
I encourage you to look at the photos larger than the thumbnails–they will look a lot better. I just find these mini-carrots so beautiful!