A Rainbow of Carrot Flavor

  • 01 of 05

    How Do Different Colored Carrots Taste?

    A Rainbow of Carrots
    Many Color Carrots. Allison Achauer/Getty Images

    The taste difference between different carrots isn't extreme. It isn't even as wide a range as different color tomatoes. Yet there is some bit of difference. It's slight and it's subtle and it mainly shows up when you eat them raw. It's amazing how much cooking carrots evens the taste-difference playing field (see for yourself by cooking up Roasted Carrots). The subtle differences are outlined below.

     

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  • 02 of 05

    Orange Carrots

    Orange Carrots in a Basket
    Carrots at Market. Photo © Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

    Orange carrots won out as top dog in the breeding of carrots in 17th-century Holland and thus became what we think of as "normal carrots." Importantly, carrots before then came in a wide range of colors, including green (which, let's admit it, sounds just plain weird).

    Orange carrots, like their other-colored brethren, contain about 4 times the USDA recommended dose of vitamin A and lots of beta-carotene. They are just a tad earthy and quite sweet, good raw or cooked.

    Learn more about...MORE carrots here. Then check out a personal favorite carrot recipe: Spicy Potatoes, Cabbage & Carrots.

     

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  • 03 of 05

    Purple Carrots

    carrots, purple
    Purple Carrots. Photo © Photolibrary/Getty Images

    Purple carrots are dramatic and eye-catching. Sadly, many purple carrots are only purple on the outside, with center cores that are decidedly orange. When you look closely, you can usually see some orange peeking through the purple exteriors of those carrots.

    There are purple carrots that are purple through and through like the one pictured, though. If that's what you're looking for, ask the vendor or break one in half to check it out.

    Purple carrots have an intensely sweet flavor, that...MORE can sometimes even have a little peppery side note. That's especially true of the ones that are purple all way through. That peppery note, one should emphasize, is subtle and isn't always present. Don't depend on it to add spice to a dish or anything.

    Purple carrots are great to eat raw, as crudités, in salads, or use them to make ​Spicy Carrot Pickles.

     

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  • 04 of 05

    Red Carrots

    Pile of Red Carrots at Market
    Red Carrots. Photo © Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

    Red carrots don't differ in taste much from orange carrots. Their red color, though, comes from lycopene, the heralded antioxidant in tomatoes. Get lycopene's health benefits by cooking the vegetables that contain it. Try using red carrots in Creamy Carrot Soup or Gingered Carrot Soup to harness both their gorgeous color and their healthful lycopene.

     

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  • 05 of 05

    White or Golden Carrots

    Yellow Carrots
    Golden Carrots. Roy Hsu/Getty Images

    White or golden carrots are yellow or cream colored. They have a mild flavor with hardly any of the earthiness of other colors of carrots, and they're notably a bit sweeter than orange, red, or purple carrots. They work particularly well roasted or glazed (cooked in a pan with a bit of butter and sugar), or use them in soups for a lovely pale shade coupled with a surprising burst of sweetness.