From Blossoming Iran to Breeding Holland

  As one of the “Top Ten Healthy Vegetables in the World”, carrots are favored by people and are “regulars” on the table. Whether it is Turkish barbecue, French cuisine, Japanese cuisine, or China’s “eight major cuisines”, American fast food, Russian borscht, it is indispensable. Compared with other vegetables, carrots are smooth and round in shape, orange-red throughout, and crystal clear; in addition to their high appearance, carrots also taste good, fresh and refreshing, cooked and sweet, and fried and fried. In 1901, the then U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt promoted the “carrot and stick policy” and made carrots famous all over the world. During the Second World War, in order to encourage people to eat more carrots and enhance their night vision, the British launched the cartoon image of “Dr. Carrot”, and American Disney immediately created the image of Bugs Bunny who likes carrots. Since then, carrots have stepped out of the kitchen and into the ranks of popular culture.

World travel in Asia, Europe, America

  Plant archaeological discoveries in recent years tell people that the earliest wild carrots are distributed in many parts of the Eurasian continent, and their color is either white or light yellow. About 5,000 years ago, people living in the Iranian plateau were the first to introduce wild carrots with success, and cultivated artificial carrots in purple and yellow. These carrots traveled the world into two broad categories: Western carrots, which grow in the Middle East and Turkey, and Oriental carrots, which grow in the Himalayas.
  Although carrots are popular all over the world today, the history of human consumption of carrots may not be very long, according to research by Dr. Bangor of the Wagenings Vegetable Breeding Research Center in the Netherlands. Although some researchers claim to have found “carrots” in Virgil’s poem “Moreton” and historian Pliny’s “Natural History”, Dr. Bangor believes that Europeans during this period did not eat wild carrots , the “carrot” that Virgil and Pliny spoke of was actually “Skirret” (Zerqin). After combing through a large number of documents, Dr. Bangor believes that from Asia Minor to ancient Egypt, from ancient Greece to ancient China, in the writing of world horticulture and botany in the 3rd to 5th centuries, people did not put carrots on the table, but Use it as a herbal or aromatic. The reason why carrots did not become the vegetables of the people at that time was firstly because its varieties were not improved, and the taste was astringent and had the taste of artemisia annua; secondly, carrots were indeed effective in protecting eyes, laxatives and enhancing immunity. The ancient Chinese used carrots as medicinal materials. The Pharmacopoeia “Compendium of Materia Medica” said that carrots “roots are sweet, acrid, slightly warm and non-toxic. They are mainly used to invigorate the lower qi, invigorate the chest, stomach, stomach, and five internal organs. Beneficial.”
  In 1305, Italian botanist Pierre de Crecenzi was the first to mention carrots in his “Monograph on Agriculture”: “Carrots are red root vegetables and can be eaten raw.” Carrots also appear in Dutch literature. Dr. Bangor said: “The Amsterdam market in the 14th century could always buy a lot of red carrots, and of course one or two of each bunch were white.” The superior climate and soil conditions, coupled with the Dutch’s preference for carrots Favorite, making the Netherlands the starting point for medieval carrot travel in Europe. For example, in German, radish is called “Holl?ndische carotte”, which means Dutch carrot, which also means the Dutch gene of German carrot.
  Due to the obstruction of the English Channel, carrots for cooking did not appear in Britain until after the 16th century. In 1597, the English horticulturist John Gerrard wrote: “Carrots with long, thick rhizomes and pale yellows taste better and taste sweeter.” About the origin of English carrots, British botanist Samuel Samuel In his 1651 book The Legacy of Farming and Pastoralism, Al Habrritt wrote: “There is little or no cabbage, cauliflower, cranberries, carrots, parsnips, canola, and peas in England, and they are all From the Dutch province of Flanders.”

carrots of various colors

  At the beginning of the 17th century, with the advent of the Age of Navigation, the first European colonists introduced carrots to North America (now Virginia, USA). In the beginning, carrots were mostly used as feed for cattle and horses. In the 18th century, as orange carrots became popular, the area of ​​carrot cultivation in the United States continued to expand. In 1806, the American horticulturalist Bernard McMahon recorded: “In Philadelphia, there are several kinds of carrots in people’s fields, and the colors of different varieties of carrots are different, such as orange, white, yellow and crimson. In addition, carrots have different shapes of rhizomes, such as elongated cones, shorns, and stubby cylinders; the most popular is the orange carrot, which is very delicious.” By 1865, although not by all People love it, but carrots are already widely available in American kitchens.
The Orange Revolution and the Protagonist of Oil Painting

  In Europe, the story of orange carrots and the Dutch royal family has been circulating for a long time. At the beginning of the 16th century, the Netherlands, the “Land of the Low Countries”, became a colony of the Habsburg Dukes of Madrid, Spain. In 1568, a prince named William Orange (William, Prince of Orange) led the Dutch people to rebel against the Spanish rule and set off a vigorous national independence revolution. It was not until 1648 that the Dutch finally won the War of Independence. Although Prince William of Orange was assassinated very early and did not witness the independence of the Netherlands, his descendants and followers regarded him as the head of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is said that in order to pay tribute to the prince, Dutch farmers specially cultivated an orange carrot to commemorate the Prince of Orange. Of course, this modified orange carrot is bigger, more beautiful, and tastier, making it popular all over the world.
  With the spread of this story, “orange” and “orange carrot” once became synonymous with the Netherlands, and many people believed in the story of orange carrots and the royal family. In this regard, John Stolatsk, curator of the World Carrot Museum in Amsterdam, believes: “There is no evidence that the Dutch cultivated orange carrots to be related to the royal family.” In June 2020, an article titled “Is the orange of carrots because of the Dutch Revolution” was published in the famous magazine “Live Science”. In the article, Platt said with a lot of facts: “Although the successful breeding of orange carrots is about the same time as the Dutch Revolution, it cannot have anything to do with commemorating and respecting the Prince of Orange.”
  From a chronological point of view, the 14th century At that time, the Muslim world and the Christian world were relatively peaceful. The commerce between the Ottoman Empire in North Africa and the Libyan peninsula, the Arabian peninsula and Venice is quite busy. It was at this time that the seeds of orange carrots were brought to the European continent by Muslim merchants, which was a time longer than the Dutch Revolution in 1648. 200 years earlier. As mentioned above, although orange carrots are not related to Prince William of Orange, the Netherlands in the 16th century was indeed the European center of breeding for new varieties of carrots, including orange carrots.

  In Europe, the first botanist to record carrots was the German Unhardt Fox, who had been studying plant history in the Netherlands for a long time. In 1543, in the Dutch version of the “New Flora”, Fox recorded two kinds of carrots, one is maroon and the other is yellow, both of which have numerous roots, a bit like He Shou Wu. Later, the Belgian pharmacologist Lambert Dodons also listed carrots as a new vegetable in the “Herbal Chronicles” published in 1554. From the appearance point of view, the carrots at that time had slender main roots and complex roots, which were similar to There are still big differences in the carrots we are now commonly found in.
  In addition to written records, carrots also appeared widely in the oil paintings of Dutch painters in the 16th century, providing us with vivid color information to trace the history of carrot travel in Europe. For example, the most famous painter of the Renaissance, Raphael Sancy, once painted orange and purple carrots in his famous painting Cupid and Psyche in the Hall. After 200 years of cultivation practice and breeding, carrots have become round and good looking.
  The great painter Peter Altzen was one of the first artists to depict carrots. In this painter from Amsterdam, we can see a large number of fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish, meat, cheese and bread and other foods. Interestingly, carrots appear in many of his paintings. These carrots are orange, purple and yellow in color, and their shapes are rounded and slender, providing us with an excellent perspective for understanding carrots. . In oil paintings such as “The Rich Kitchen”, “Women at the Vegetable Market”, and “Christ in Martha and Mary’s House”, Peter Arzen always paints slender carrots in pale yellow or purple, and let this kind of Cute vegetables take center stage of the picture.

  In addition to Peter Altzen, the Dutch painter Gabriel Metqu also joined the ranks of painting carrots. In 1661, in his masterpiece “The Vegetable Market in Dordrecht”, the vegetable market under the shade of tall trees was crowded with people. carrots, which are dark purple and light yellow.
The long overdue trip to the East

  Generally speaking, Chinese vegetables and fruits with the word “Hu” in their names are mostly those who traveled to the Central Plains along the Silk Road before the Tang Dynasty, such as walnuts, courgettes, peppers, and beans; those with the word “Fan” in their names are mostly During the Song and Ming Dynasties, the coastal roads came to China from the West, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, guava, custard apple, etc.; those with the word “foreign” in their names may have crossed the ocean to China in the Qing Dynasty, such as onions, foreign Ginger, cabbage, gourd, etc. Therefore, when it comes to carrots, many people inevitably think that it is a vegetable brought back from the Western Regions by Zhang Qian. It has a history of at least 2,000 years in China. In some film and television works reflecting the story of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms, the figure of carrots appears by mistake. .
  In fact, the history of carrots traveling to China is as late as the 13th century. Compared with fruits and vegetables such as coriander, spinach, and grapes, carrots can be said to be late. The Chinese people may have eaten carrots on a large scale until after the mid-Ming Dynasty, and the orange cone-shaped carrots we are familiar with today may not appear until the mid-to-late Qing Dynasty. From a regional perspective, the earliest areas where carrots traveled to China were Xinjiang, Gansu, Henan, Shandong, Shanxi and other northern regions, and then gradually traveled to the Huaihe River and the two lakes south of the Yangtze River. The American historian Laufer specifically discusses the origin of carrots in “China Iran Edition”. He believes that the origin of carrots is somewhere in Iran, and then transplanted from Iran to China and India. The evidence is Chinese Ming Dynasty documents and ancient Indian languages. , in Hindi and Sanskrit, the word “carrot” is consistent with Old Persian.
  In ancient China, carrots were first written as “Huluopu”, and the person who recorded carrots earlier was Zhu Chi in the Ming Dynasty (the fifth son of Zhu Yuanzhang, the emperor of the Ming Dynasty, and a famous pharmacist in the Ming Dynasty). He mentioned wild carrots similar to carrots in volume three of his book “Rescue Materia Medica”: “Wild carrots grow in the wilderness, and the leaves are like domestic carrots, but they are small, and the leaves are interspersed with stems, and the tips are small. White flowers, the flowers are spread like umbrellas, and the shape of the scorpion is larger than that of Cnidium. The flower head is bigger, and the knot is bigger than Cnidium. Its root is smaller than that of carrots, and it tastes sweet.” Zhu Chi was born in Nanjing, Jiangsu, but has lived for a long time. In Kaifeng, Henan, his description shows that there were already artificially grown and edible carrots in the Kaifeng area at that time. It is a pity that Zhu Chi did not directly write the color of the carrot at that time. However, in “Rescue the Wilderness Materia Medica”, Zhu Chi left us a black and white portrait of wild carrots. Judging from the painting, the wild carrot is almost the same as our carrot today, except that the rhizome is slightly thinner.
  Jin Youzi, who was the same age as Zhu Chi, also left written records related to carrots. During his two journeys with Zhu Di, the emperor of the Ming Dynasty, in his northern expedition to Mongolia, Jin Youzi once reached the present-day Xinjiang and the Mongolian Plateau. In his book “Northern Expedition Records”, he recorded the carrots seen in the northwest of the country: “There are salupus in the Jiaohebei, the roots are about two feet long, the larger ones are inch in diameter, and the smaller ones are like tendons. The color is yellow and white. , the smell is pungent and slightly bitter, and it is also like carrot gas, which are all carrots and grapes.”

  The most complete record of carrots is Li Shizhen, a medical scientist in the Ming Dynasty. In his “Compendium of Materia Medica”, he set up a special chapter “Carrot Pu”, which not only explained the origin of the name of carrots, that is, “(Carrot) came from Hudi in Yuan Dynasty, with a slight smell. It resembles carrots, hence the name”; and described in detail the area where carrots were planted and the shape of carrots at that time, “Carrots, there are many plants in northern Shandong today, and there are also seeds in Huai and Chu. Plant them in August and grow seedlings. Such as Evil Artemisia… Roots are dug in winter months, they can be eaten raw or cooked, and used for fruits and vegetables. The roots are of two types: yellow and red, with a slight streak of artemisia, five or six inches long, in March and April, and the stem is two or three feet high. The broken white flowers are clustered like umbrellas, like cnidaria. The seeds are also like cnidium, slightly longer and hairy, brown, and like dill seeds, which can also be mixed with food.”
  Of course, “Compendium of Materia Medica” mainly looks at carrots from the perspective of medicinal properties, and Li Shizhen does not pay attention to its taste or edible value. Later, Wang Xiangjin, a native of Shandong in the Ming Dynasty, also pointed out in the “Quanfang Spectrum” that carrots were spread to the Central Plains from outside the Great Wall; he also left information on the cultivation of carrots in Shandong, such as “planting autumn red beans, autumn kidney beans, cowpeas, radishes, carrots” .
  In the early and mid-Qing Dynasty, in addition to yellow and white carrots, there were also “red” carrots in our country. In the 1897 Guangxu edition of “Shanhua County Chronicle”, Volume 16 “Territory”, carrots were written as “Fu radish”. Laufer believes that “fu” refers to “three fu”, that is, “for thirty days from mid-July to mid-August, carrot seeds are sown on one volt, and carrots are light red at two volts, and turn yellow at three volts.”
  In the early Qing Dynasty, carrots set out from China and traveled eastward to Japan. According to the “Encyclopedia of Agriculture” published in 1671 by Japanese agronomists Miyazaki Anzhen and Kaiyuan Rakuxuan, the carrot-growing areas in Japan were concentrated in the south at that time. The carrots that have just arrived in Japan are yellow and white, and the taste of white carrots is not good. In 1712, the Osaka doctor Terashima Ryoan published the Chinese version of “The Japanese and Chinese Sancai Tuhui”. The book quoted the introduction of carrots in the “Compendium of Materia Medica” and recorded that Japanese carrots have two kinds of red and yellow.
  In the past 30 years, China’s annual carrot production has accounted for more than 30% of the world’s. According to Chinese customs data, in 2019, my country exported 780,000 tons of carrots and radishes, which were exported to more than 80 countries and regions such as Europe and the United States, becoming a new starting point for the current carrot travel

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