[Sca-cooks] Salty carrots

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Fri Mar 28 15:30:51 PDT 2008

> Terry Decker,
> I have reviewed what you have written to SCA this month and on Stefan's 
> pages beginning in 2001 and in 500 eggs concerning the carrot and find 
> small contradictions. These are my notes:

This covers almost eight years (beginning in 2000, rather than 2001, and 
there may be some earlier references) during which I have refined my 
sources, determined certain "authoritative" statements were questionable or 
in error, and probably includes a number of times I was working from my 
memory, which is most definitely fallible.  Do I make errors, yes.  But, I 
also correct those errors as I find better data.  Additionally, your list of 
comments appear as absolutes and do not reflect the limits I placed on the 
scope of the information I presented.

The Florilegium is a collection gathered over time and essentially left 
unchanged.  The information there is subject to error and revision, rather 
than isolating pieces of the whole, it is best to consider the knowledge 
contained there as a flow and verify any sources, inconsistencies or 
possible errors.

> carrots, pastinaca, pasternak
> Apicius first used carota.
> Athenaeus, parsnips and carrots same.
> Galen differentiates, carrot Daucus pastinaca

In Classic Latin, carrots and parsnips are both referred to as pastinaca. 
The writings of Pliny and Columella with there descriptions and linguistic 
considerations tend to demonstrate this fact.  Thus to Athenaeus, parsnips 
and carrots could be linguistically the same, but different varieties of the 
plant.  Joesph Wood Krutch states that Athenaeus first uses the the term 
carrot, but I believe that Athenaeus is using the Greek, "daucus," to 
differentiate between the plants.  My copy of Athenaeus is only a 
translation, so I can't check the accuracy of that statement.  Apicius 
definitely uses the term "carota" in three different recipes (IIRC) and that 
may be the first appearance of the word in the avialable Latin texts.

To my knowledge, Galen is the first person to do a scientific diffentiation 
and naming of parsnips and wild and cultivated carrots.

Andrews, Alfred C., "The Carrot as a Food in the Classical Era;" Classical 
Philology, Vol. 44, No. 3 (July, 1949), pp 182-196 is the best source I've 
found on the classical sources and linguistic issues.

> Forme of Cury Pasternak, either white carrot or parsnip:

To quote Krutch, "The English Herbalists inherited all the confusions 
concerning the distinctions to be made or not made between wild Carrots and 
tame, and between Carrot and Parsnip."  (Krutch, Joesph Wood, Herbal, David 
R. Godine, Boston, 1976.)

> white, origin Europe/probably Central Asia, Queen Anne's lace, wild
> carrot, Daucus carota, Swiss lake region - Are we Swiss, European or
> Central Asian?
> dark red origin Central Asia
> purple Asia/Afghanistan, probably hybridized in China brought to
> Mediterranean from Central Asia with Islamic expansion/known in Empire".
> - Are we Afghan, Chinese or what?

White carrots are probably of Mediterranean origin and were known to be in 
parts of Europe in the Neolithic.  The anthocyan carrots, the ancestors of 
the purple, red, black, etc. developed in Central Asia, probably Afganistan, 
moved East on the trade routes to China where further hybridization occurred 
and came back West into the Middle East and Europe with the Islamic 
expansion.  Modern cultivated carrots are primarily descended from the 
hybrids that came West with the Moslems.

Brandenburg, Willem A., "Possible Relationships Between Wild and Cultivated 
Carrots (Daucus Carota L.) in the Netherlands;" Kulturpflanze XXIX (1981), 
pp. 369-375 and Andrews, Alfred C., "The Carrot as a Food in the Classical 
Era;" Classical Philology, Vol. 44, No. 3 (July, 1949), pp 182-196 contain 
bibliographic summarize this information and provide bibliographic reference 
to the papers that developed it.

Queen Anne's Lace is the common name for the wild white European carrot.

My opinion is the yellow carrot may be a varietal between the white and the 
anthocyan carrots, but that is pure speculation.

> modern purple created in Texas

I believe the quote is, "Interestingly, you may find purple carrots at the 
grocery.  If you do, the

are probably not the purple carrot of Antiquity, but hybrids from a breeding

project by Leonard Pike of Texas A&M."

Pike, as I understand it, did a reverse breeding project and produced the 
modern purple carrot.

> yellow first noted Asia Minor 10^th C/10^th or 11^th C./Anatolia but not
> tracked down but referenced in a couple of places. - In what century are
> we and where? -  Andalusian writer considered yellow inferior to red.
> red and yellow carrots appear in Andalusia 12^th C/13^th C, introduced
> to England 14^th C/15^th C by Flemish/Dutch immigrants

The original reference says "10th Century in Asia Minor," which also appears 
at www.carrotmuseum.co.uk .  A second source gives Anatolia in the 10th 
Century.  A third says Turkey in the 11th Century.  None of these sources 
provided a reference to the original source, so when I couldn't find the 
original reference, I flagged this one as possible but unproven.

The Andalusian reference is Yahya ibn Muhammad ibn al-Awwam, Kitab 
al-Felahah (Book of Agriculture).

It is very difficult to accurately ascribe when the anthocyan carrots became 
spread in Europe.  Very good sources generally use 13th or 14th Century for 
France and Germany and the 16th Century for England with carrots being 
presumably brought in by Protestant refugees from the Low Countries.  I have 
a feeling these dates may be taken from a gentleman named Booth (Treasury of 
Botany), who appears to have used various herbals to develop a timeline. 
MS. Ashmole 1431 suggests that anthocyan carrots were in Europe (and 
possibly England, depending on the source of the manuscript) by the 12th 

> modern orange hybrid from crossing red and yellow 16^th C/15^th C or
> early 16^th , limited use until 17^th C / better taste and texture
> 5 orange stains identified 17^th C Deary you like to flip: "/" your
> centuries at will and we don't know if you are with the Flemish or the
> House of Orange!

I tend to error on Centuries when working from memory, especially when I see 
1500 and think 15th Century.  Also, there are differences between sources.

While I personally think the orange hybrid is earlier than usually stated, 
Banga (Western carotene carrot:  Maintypes and origins, 1963, as referenced 
in Brandenburg, 1981) places their origin in the 17th because orange and 
yellow carrots appear in Dutch paintings of that century and the orange 
cultivars are described in the 18th Century by J. H. Knoop (1752, 1759).

IIRC, the entire area was part of Burgundy until 1648, no matter the 
upstarts of Orange and the Union of Utrecht.  I will agree that the orange 
carrot was developed by the Dutch (that is to say, in the Netherlands), 
while the paintings containing them are both Dutch and Flemish, and 
anthocyan carrots were presumably introduced into England by the Flemish.

> Other carrot colors: green and black.

AFAIK, white, pale yellow, green/yellow (sometimes given as green), red 
purple, black and orange are the known colors of carrots.

> Bear could you please clarify the above?
> I know you guys don't want me to enter politics but I think this story
> is old enough to recreate it and have a good laugh. I don't remember it
> very well perhaps you can refresh my memory but the Dutch created the
> orange carrot in honor of William I of Orange, William the Silent, and
> made it the national vegetable against their King Philip II of
> Spain.Apparently the carrot had a role in promoting the independence of
> the Netherlands from Spain. I think that cool. I have heard of tea
> getting into the act and salt but this is my first case of a carrot!
> This underlines all the citations of paintings we have been looking at
> this month. The Dutch are curious. Who would have ever thought that
> their independence is based on the carrot. I always blamed salt!
> Suey

I think the Dutch were trying to create a sweeter, tastier carrot 
(successfully) and it just came out orange.  Which led to the above 
apochryphal tale.

Seems to me religion and those irritating Hapsburgs were what got this show 

Hopefully, that provides the clarification you seek.


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