Carrots taste great when roasted, cooked and pureed into soups and shaved into ribbons for tasty salads.

What’s up Doc?

Bugs Bunny first uttered that phrase in the 1941 cartoon Wild Hare. He’s speaking to the gun-wielding hunter Elmer Fudd. This phrase has become as iconic as Bugs Bunny himself and his eternal love of carrots.

Ironically, Mel Blanc, the voice of the cartoon rabbit reportedly hated carrots. Although rabbits do love carrots, they won’t eat wild carrots, and the domesticated ones aren’t so great for them.

For their small bodies, eating one carrot is like a human eating 20, and the natural sugars in carrots can cause digestive problem and diabetes. The green carrot tops are much better for them. Irony is so ironic. That’s what’s up Doc.

HISTORY OF CARROTS

Carrots, as we know them now, are a domesticated form of the wild carrot Daucuc carota, native to Southwestern Asia.

They were domesticated in ancient empires in today’s Iran and Afghanistan more than 5,000 years ago. They originally grew in black, white and purplish/red varieties.

The little root vegetable traveled widely, and many countries embraced it as a food source and for its medicinal properties.

Medieval European doctors often prescribed carrots to cure everything from animal bites to syphilis.

The word carrot was first coined in an English book of herbs in 1538, but derives from the much earlier ancient Greek word karoton. Carrots were so popular in 17th Century England, that it was considered a status symbol for women to wear the fronds in their hair.

It was also during this time, that carrots turned orange and increased in sweetness, due to the selective breeding in the Netherlands. The iconic orange carrot was said to be a gardening tribute to the ruling “House of Orange.”

It was the first Jamestown settlers that brought carrots to America in 1607. They were easily grown by early farmers (2,000 seeds fit in a single teaspoon), and thrived well in areas with cool, moderate temperatures.

They, however, did not gain the popularity that they have now, until soldiers returning home after WWI brought their appetite for the vegetable back with them. Today, we now consume almost 11,000 carrots in one lifetime.

There are more than 100 different species of carrots, and they come in white, yellow, orange, red, purple and black varieties.

CARROT MYTHS

During WWII, when British advanced radar technology was being developed, there was a propaganda campaign to keep their radar advancements a secret, and mislead their enemies about their military capabilities.

They attributed their pilot’s sharp eyesight, and even keener night vision to their increased consumption of carrots.

This myth persisted with generations of mothers who urged their children to eat their carrots so they wouldn’t need glasses.

As scientists will tell you, although carrots can, under certain conditions, help improve eyesight by the body’s ability to convert the rich amount of beta-carotene into vitamin A – which is essential for eye health – they cannot cure impairments caused by issues such as genetics, aging or diabetes.

Even so, mothers still try to feed vegetables to their children, and when it comes to babies, the sweet tasting vegetable is always a favorite. Often, if they eat enough of them, the carrots will give them the harmless condition cartonemia, that gives your skin a yellowish/orange tint.

It can also happen in adults and goes away soon after “you stop gorging on carrots,” said the rabbit. “If we are limited to a sensible amount, you should be too.”

DIETARY BENEFITS

In a sensible diet, carrots can play a healthy role.

They are high in vitamin A, K and B8, calcium, fiber, and have many medicinal properties. One carrot can give you the energy to walk one mile.

They are said to regulate blood pressure, improve digestion, protect cardiovascular health, detoxify the body and much more.

They also taste great when roasted, cooked and pureed into soups and shaved into ribbons for tasty salads.

That’s really what’s up Doc.