Taste the Carrot Rainbow

  • 01 of 05

    How Different Colored Carrots Taste

    A rainbow of carrots

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    The taste difference between different colored carrots like orange, purple, red, white, and yellow isn't extreme. It isn't even as wide a range as different colored tomatoes. Yet there is some bit of a change to the flavor. It's often slight and it's subtle, mainly showing up when eating carrots raw. You can also understand the taste difference in different colored carrots by cooking them up or roasting them.

  • 02 of 05

    Orange Carrots

    Orange carrots in a basket

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    Orange carrots came out on top in 17th-century Holland, becoming what we think of as "normal carrots." Many carrots before this came in a wide range of colors—even green.

    Like other colored carrots, orange carrots contain about four times the USDA-recommended dose of vitamin A and have a lot of beta-carotene. These vegetables are earthy, sweet, and good to eat either raw or cooked. You can eat carrots as a snack with a dip, in salads and coleslaw, or as part of a large entree, like spicy potatoes, cabbage, and carrots.

  • 03 of 05

    Purple Carrots

    Purple carrots

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    Although purple carrots are dramatic and eye-catching, many of them are only purple on the outside. Their center cores are decidedly orange, which can often be detected when looking at the exterior closely.

    Purple carrots have an intensely sweet flavor that can sometimes be accompanied by a peppery taste. This is more common in purple carrots that hold their color both on the exterior and interior. However, the peppery note is often subtle and isn't always present. Either way, purple carrots are great to eat raw, as crudités, in salads, or to make ​spicy carrot pickles.

  • 04 of 05

    Red Carrots

    Pile of red carrots

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    Red carrots don't differ much from orange carrots when it comes to taste. Their red color comes from lycopene, the heralded antioxidant in tomatoes. Lycopene is beneficial to your health and helps prevent cancer, contains antioxidants, keeps your eyes in good health, alleviates neuropathic pain, and is good for your brain, to name a few benefits.

    Get creative with red carrots by using the beautiful vegetable in recipes like creamy carrot soup or gingered carrot soup. You can also harness both their gorgeous color and healthful lycopene by baking them, braising them, or using them as a glaze.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    White or Golden Carrots

    Yellow carrots

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    White or golden carrots are typically a yellow or cream color. These vegetables have a mild flavor with hardly any of the earthiness that the other colors of carrots typically contain. These types of carrots are also notably sweeter than orange, red, and purple carrots. They work particularly well roasted, and can also be glazed by cooking them in a pan with a bit of butter and sugar. If you're wanting to make a stew or soup, they will add a lovely pale shade and a surprising burst of sweetness.

    One simple side dish you can make with white or golden carrots is to mix up golden carrot coins with butter, chicken broth, spices, and fresh herbs. Add this to a simple meat and potato dish for a dash of nutritional vegetables.