This is one of the most frequently asked questions on carrots on the internet. The allure of rainbow carrots is such that one can’t stop asking this question. But such are the bounties of nature that it gives us all sorts of fruits and vegetables.
Rainbow carrots are just one of the many things nature bestows on us. Carrots come in a number of colors such as red, orange, yellow, white, black and even purple. The variations in these colors are the result of breeding different varieties. It is because of this reason that different parts of the world have different types of carrots.
The best part about rainbow carrots is that they are available all year round and can be easily grown following the basics.
What Gives Color to Rainbow Carrots?
You must be wondering what factors determine the color of rainbow carrots. Carotenes are responsible for imparting color to the carrots. These are natural pigments made up of hydrocarbons and minerals that absorb and reflect lights of certain wavelengths. For instance, beta carotene is responsible for imparting yellow or orange color to carrots.
Does That Mean Rainbow Carrots Are Genetically Modified?
This does not mean that rainbow carrots are genetically modified. They are instead non-genetically modified varieties of carrots that have evolved naturally due to the presence and interplay of certain factors.
To understand this more closely, one needs to understand what are genetically modified vegetables. These are those plants and organisms that are modified with artificial traits by human beings. Scientists use genetic modification to grow and develop plants and species that have a number of desirable traits that are otherwise not present in them.
When it comes to rainbow carrots, these are grown for over 400-1,000 years and have existed since then. Many forces of nature have come together over the course of hundreds of years to give carrots their rainbow hues.
Are Rainbow Carrots Healthier?
Rainbow carrots are as healthy as usual carrots. There is nothing different about them except their color. Here are some health benefits of rainbow carrots that you must be aware of.
Carrots are a rich source of several nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B and fibers. They are also considered a good source of antioxidants and are low in calories. This is the reason carrots are consumed to shed the pounds.
Carrots contain antioxidants that have a number of health benefits. Consuming a diet rich in antioxidants can lead to protection against inflammation, diabetes and heart diseases.
A diet rich in carrots offers a shield against ailments such as cancer. Several scientific studies have shown that people who consume purple carrots have lower risks of colon and breast cancer.
Carrots, regardless of their color, are known to promote weight loss. This is because they are high in fiber that has a positive impact on the digestive system and the body’s metabolism.
How to Grow Rainbow Carrots?
Growing rainbow carrots is not as daunting as it seems. If you have an interest in farming and already grow a few veggies at home or otherwise, you should be able to grow rainbow carrots with ease.
The first thing to remember is that you should plant carrot seeds after the frost season in your region has passed.
Here are the other steps that you need to follow.
- Dig a 1-foot wide trench in the garden and set the dirt close by so that once you plant the seeds, you can cover the trench with the soil.
- Fill the trench with a solid layer of compost to give the required nutrients to the carrots.
- Break all the dirt clumps and stones and debris and only keep the soil and compost where you would be supplanting the seeds.
- Fill the trench with another layer of compost and remove all debris and stone from the trench to give the seeds room to breathe and grow.
- Smoothen the soil with a rake so that there is nothing to stop the seeds from blossoming.
- Spread the carrot seeds on the seedbed that you have prepared, taking care that you leave one to three inches of space between them.
- Once the seeds are spread on the seedbed, cover them with a thin layer of dry soil. Pat the soil with your hands to settle the soil over those seeds.
- Carefully water the seeds with a nozzle spray to keep the seedbed moist. Make sure you don’t overwater the seeds else they will wither away.
If everything that you have done is well, you should see germination within a few weeks.
Is There Any Genetically Modified Carrot?
Now that it is established that rainbow carrots are not genetically modified, one must be naturally inclined to ask if there are any genetically modified carrots? Scientists developed a genetically modified carrot that is known to be more effective than regular carrots in absorbing calcium.
How to Grow Genetically Modified Vegetables?
Genetic modification involves inserting DNA into the genome of a plant or organism to produce a new plant with considerably different characteristics.
The genome is the carrier of genes in an organism or plant that determines its characteristics and traits. For instance, in the case of plants, genetic modification can lead to changes in their shapes, size, color and even taste depending on the level to which gene mutation is being carried out by scientists and researchers.
Genetic modification can also facilitate growing a plant in an area that is not its usual habitat and can even prevent it from pest and bacteria infestation, making it more disease resistant.
It is a complex procedure that involves significant costs and expertise, which is why many times, genetic modification of all plants is not possible.
Pros of Genetically Modified Plants
Researchers can improve the traits of plants through genetic modification. For instance, genetic modification of apples can make them turn less brown when cut. This can be considered as a way of enhancing its appeal among people.
Sometimes, genetic modification can also lead to enhanced flavor and nutritional value of a particular fruit or vegetable. However, the most common usage of genetic modification is to make the plants disease resistant and prevent them from harsh weather and insects and pests.
Are There Any Health Risks of Consuming Genetically Modified Plants?
The long-term effects of genetically modified plants are still being debated, as this is a novel technology. Research is ongoing, but genetic modification may lead to certain health risks.
These include the following:
- Some people may develop allergic reactions to certain genetically modified foods.
- Some theories and research also suggest that genetic modification may also lead to the development of certain types of cancers in certain people. However, there is no conclusive evidence for this and research is ongoing.
- It can lead to outcrossing in some cases.
- Consuming GMOs can also lead to antibacterial resistance in some people.
The Final Word
Rainbow carrots are myriad colored carrots that are both healthy and edible. They have existed in nature over a period of time and have not undergone any genetic modification. You can buy them in any supermarket near you and enjoy them as usual carrots.