You can always recognize Dutch fans at global sporting events because they are wearing orange. The color is deeply ingrained in their national identity. But did you know that the Netherlands is also responsible for orange carrots? It’s true!
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Carrots originated in central Asia, where wild carrots were first cultivated by the Persians. Those carrots were purple. There were also some yellow and white carrots, but most were purple. And that’s what people were used to when carrots were taken to the rest of the world. An orange carrot was extremely rare, and considered odd. Then Dutch agriculture discovered carrots in the late 16th century, and selectively bred them to be sweeter and more resistant to pests. They were also orange, due to greater amounts of beta-carotene. People liked the sweeter Dutch carrots, and they looked better in a stew than the purple ones. Did they make carrots orange deliberately to reflect the royal House of Orange? Was it a branding thing? Or could it be that the Netherlands’ orange identity comes from their famous carrots? It’s possible that one had nothing to do with the other, and people argue about it to this day.
(Image credit: Stephen Ausmus)