On French carrots12-06-2015
Etat des lieux général
More than 5000 years ago, carrots grew wild in the Middle East. At that time, it was a bitter and fibrous vegetable, used only for its medicinal properties. Its domestication dates from as recently as the Middle Ages, a period during which its gustatory qualities were improved through the selection of varieties. Carrots are now grown in every temperate regions of the world.
The distinctive orange color is a relatively new characteristic, developed by the Dutch in the 16th century. It was achieved by the cross-breeding of two varieties, the red and the white carrot. The orange variety soon came to dominate the market, until it became normal, although ancient varieties have recently made a reappearance.
As well as being good for eyesight, the carrot is known to have a number of medicinal benefits, particularly due to its diuretic, remineralizing, deworming, anti-diarrheic, tonic and anti-anemic properties.
With 340,000 tons produced each year, France ranks third in Europe behind Poland and the UK.
In terms of consumption, the French are the European leaders, with 9.5kg of carrots per person per year, making it the second most popular vegetable in France behind the potato.
84% of French households buy carrots at least once a week.
– The price of the carrot is fairly stable, varying between €0.82/kg and €1.36/kg.
– 71% of carrots sold are marketed in buck and are orange.
– It is estimated that cultivation in family vegetable plots produces 150,000 tons a year.
– France grows carrots on nearly 29,200 acres.
– The South West of France accounts for 51.3% of national production with a star variety – the Nantes Half Long (“demi-longue nantaise”).
26 million tons of carrots are produced each year worldwide. A third of this production comes from China, the leading global producer.
More than 500 varieties of carrots are recorded in the European common catalogue of vegetable species, but only a dozen are sold regularly. Market carrots are short or average size, cylindrical or conical and come in a range of colors with a preference for orange. French carrots from Nantes alone account for 95% of the market.
Health tip :
– To improve absorption of beta carotene, eat carrots cooked with a little fat.
– Properly chewing raw carrots helps to obtain more nutritional elements.
A vegetable disguised as a fruit
European regulations stipulate that only a fruit can be used as the basic ingredient for making jelly. In order to protect a local Portuguese specialty, carrot jelly, the legal status of carrots was changed by the European Union, meaning it is now a fruit!