Thursday, October 8, 2009

Carrot Varieties

Below is a summary from my cousin with photos and descriptions of his experience growing various carrot varieties this year in the Pigeon Lake area in Alberta. Some options to ponder before selecting seeds for next spring! I have added some additional random information about each variety to learn more about them, shown in italics. This info was pulled from various sources on the web, some referenced. If any errors, please let me know.

Sweetness (hybrid)

Even though it is a hybrid (and not an heirloom), it is probably the best all-around carrot for taste and sweetness (hence the name). What people expect a carrot to look like.

NANTES type carrot.

Napoli (hybrid)

'Nantes' variety of carrot, can be identified by it's shape. Good all-around taste and sweetness.

This F1 Hybrid "sugar carrot" a favourite grown by author Eliot Coleman for the upscale country stores around his home in Harborside, Maine. Fantastic as an early bunching carrot due to its sizing up at least a week earlier than other varieties. [>]

Yellowstone (hybrid)

Heritage style variety with crisp carrot taste, not too sweet. Can taste a bit bitter when stored for a while - best eaten in the fall.

The first yellow, F1 Hybrid Carrot.

Royal Chantenay (open-pollinated)

Wide, tapered carrots, but without the woody core you'd expect in a carrot of this nature. Very crisp, good keeper.

DANVERS type carrot. Good for freezing and canning. Popular for juicing due to its darker colour and shape. Well suited for bunching* and winter storage. Royal Chantenay is one of the best for storing in a cellar or at cool temperatures. [>] Excellent for heavy, clay dominated, shallow soils.

*"...a bunching carrot is a carrot that can be sown early, not thinned, can be picked in a bunch, matures quickly and is best suited to eating raw, unpeeled in salads etc Sow little and often for a succession!" [>]

Nevada (hybrid)

Nice dark-orange carrot with intense carrot flavour and minimal cores (even texture).

Tops are well attached and Alternaria tolerant. [>] Alternaria is one of many potential carrot diseases.

Touchon (open-pollinated heirloom)

Another Nantes-type carrot with even cylindrical shape. Good keeper, especially for sweetness (as with most Nantes varieties). Easy to pull!

Rare old French NANTES type with roots growing 15-17 cm long deep orange colour and little core. Very sweet and juicy. Good for bunching and winter storage.

Rainbow (hybrid)

Heirloom carrots ranging from white to orange. Thin and long, similar taste and texture to Yellowstone.

A single hybrid, not a mixture of varieties, therefore the carrots are uniform in size and appearance. [>]

White Satin (hybrid)

Heritage-style carrot roots, all white...what the original carrot looked like.

DANVERS type carrot. Good sweetness. F1 hybrid.

Purple Haze (hybrid)

Long thin carrots, with purple flesh that turn orange when cooked, and your water blue! Not too sweet, but nice carrot flavour. Best eaten in the fall.

Sweetest raw. Imperator-shaped carrot. Lightly stir-fry to retain a deeper purple colour. Purple carrots possess an entirely different class of pigments—anthocyanins—which act as powerful antioxidants. [>]

Berlicummer (open-pollinated)

A good all-around carrot, but smaller in size this year due to where they were grown. A favourite.

 NANTES type carrot. High yields. [>]

Some extra advice from my cousin: "...carrots need lots and lots of water; do not add fertilizer while they are growing (unless your soil is really depleted - and of course it should be organic). [We] made the mistake of adding some almost-fresh manure to the area where the Berlicummer's were growing and they really really did not like that...the manure stole too much nitrogen out of the soil while decomposing and they didn't grow very big. Grow and learn is the moral of the story!"

Some links with more interesting info on carrots includes:

1 comment:

carrotmuseum said...

Great piece on the wide variety of carrots avaiable these days. Many do not realise how beutiful they are and how nutritionally beneficial.

Could you send me good quality version of those photos as I am sure they would look good in the World Carrot Museum.

Thanks, John -