Carrots & the House of Orange

More than likely, you have been brought up to believe carrots have always been orange in colour. Let me disillusion you completely now. Carrots were originally purple or white!

Sometimes we get throwbacks like that my father-in-law found on his allotment in Northamptonshire, England a few days ago:

Image, 17thCenturyLady. White and orange carrots, 2012. Carrots weren’t always orange!

Quite something, isn’t it? So, why am I talking about agriculture and vegetables in a blog about history? Well, since you asked – it is about history! The Dutch, who I greatly esteem, began developing orange carrots in the late 1500s/early 1600s during the beginning of the period known as the Dutch Golden Age. There is quite a nice story which says that this was done in honour of the first William of Orange, of the House of Orange-Nassau. The emblem of the the House of Orange is orange fruit (trees and orange blossoms are used extensively throughout Orangist portraits).

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