Diced Carrots: At a Glance
Carrots are the taproot of the carrot plant. They are commonly orange in color, though you can also find purple, black, red, white, and yellow cultivars. This ingredient is the chopped and dehydrated form of orange carrots, which go well in baked goods and on salads.
Carrots contain high levels of beta-carotene and alpha-carotene and are a good source of Vitamins K and B6. They have a unique flavor profile, combining sweet, fruity, earthy, and slightly bitter flavors.
One of the most common myths about food — that carrots cause better night vision — was devised by the British during WWII to mislead the Germans.
Cooking with Diced Carrots
Perhaps the most popular application for diced carrots in the United States is making them into carrot cake. They are also used in salads, cooked dishes, and in the traditional Gajar Ka Halwa dessert from northern India. Cooking diced carrots releases more beta-carotene and enhances their sweet, earthy flavor. Try one of these ways of cooking with diced carrots:
- Dry: When making soups or stews that require at least 15 minutes of cooking, simply add diced carrots directly to the dish (before cooking). You may need to add extra liquid while cooking to replace the liquid that raw carrots would normally contribute.
- Rehydrated: To rehydrate carrots, simply pour 2 1/4 cups of water (hot or boiling works well) over 1 cup of diced carrots, and soak for 15 to 30 minutes. One cup of diced carrots will become about 2 cups of cooked carrots. You can use rehydrated carrots in any recipe that calls for carrots, such as Gajar Ka Halwa.
- Powdered: If you’re looking to add a concentrated carrot flavor to a dish, simply use a food processor or mortar and pestle to powder your diced carrots. This powder can be used like any other spice. Experiment with this ingredient in your cooking!
The carrot’s iconic orange color comes from its high levels of beta-carotene. They are 88 percent water, which means dehydrated diced carrots have a very concentrated carrot flavor and should be used sparingly.
Diced Carrots: History and Origination
Carrots probably originated in Persia, where they were primarily cultivated for their seeds and leaves. The term “carrot” was first recorded in English around 1530 and is derived from the French carotte. In Old English, the carrot and the parsnip had the same name, and some languages still use the same word for both carrots and roots.
Carrot seeds can be traced back to as early as 3000 B.C. in what is now Switzerland and Germany. The domestic carrot originated in Central Asia, and this naturally occurring wild carrot was selectively bred over centuries to create the vegetable that we know today.
Introduced to Spain in the eighth century by the Moors, carrots made their way to West Asia, India, Europe, and eventually to China and Japan in the 14th and 18th centuries, respectively. One of the first descriptions of modern carrots appeared in the 1600s, when John Aubrey wrote of their cultivation in England. In the 17th century, carrots came to colonial America.
During WWII, the British developed propaganda about carrots, spreading rumors that they enhanced night vision. This rumor was meant to intimidate their German counterparts into thinking that the British had almost supernatural night-flying abilities. This myth spread to the domestic population, and British citizens increased their carrot consumption during WWII.
As they were in Persia, some relatives of modern carrots are still grown for their aromatic seeds and leaves.
Cultivation of Diced Carrots
The carrot is a biennial plant, which means that it takes two years for it to complete its biological life cycle. The part of the plant that becomes diced carrots is formed underground as the plant’s root. Fast-growing cultivars of the carrot will reach maturity 90 days after they are sown, though most take 120 days before they are ready to harvest.
Carrot plants grow best in full sun, but they can tolerate a limited amount of shade. They thrive in temperatures between 61 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Rocky soil is bad for cultivating carrots because it interferes with the growth of their roots. Carrots need loose, deep, well-drained soil.
Farmers who grow carrots will often plant them near scented companion plants such as onions and chives to repel carrot root flies. Carrots also thrive when they are planted near plants such as caraway, coriander, chamomile, and marigold.
Fully matured carrots are harvested, processed, cut, and dehydrated to make diced carrots. They may be dried in the sun or in artificial dryers.
About Our Diced Carrots
Our dried carrots are grown in China, where they have been grown and cultivated since the 14th century. These diced carrots have a beautiful deep-orange color. Our diced carrots are just that — carrots. Our ingredients have no additives or preservatives.