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Black Knight Carrots
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|Weiser Family Farms||Homepage|
Black Knight carrots are small to medium in size, averaging 15-20 centimeters in length, and are slender with a conical shape, tapering towards the pointed, non-stem end. The skin is smooth, firm, and dark purple, appearing almost black. Underneath the surface, the core has variegations of ivory to yellow streaking through the center with a dense, crisp consistency. When raw, Black Knight carrots are crunchy and memorably spicy, with notes of celery and parsley.
Black Knight carrots are available in the winter and early spring.
Black Knight carrots, botanically classified as Daucus carota subs. Sativus var. atrorubens Alef., are edible, underground roots that belong to the Apiaceae family along with parsnips, celery, and parsley. Considered to be an Eastern purple carrot, Black Knight carrots are distinguished from Western purple carrots by the yellow coloring in the core of the flesh along with its origins in the Middle East, where it is predominately used. Black Knight carrots are a popular home garden variety and are favored for their unusual coloring and mildly spicy flavor.
Black Knight carrots contain high levels of anthocyanins which are potent antioxidants that are being heavily researched for their anti-inflammatory properties. The roots also contain some vitamins C and E, and plant pigments such as carotenoids, flavonoids, betalains, and chlorophylls.
Black Knight carrots are utilized primarily as a fresh eating, table carrot to showcase the ombre core. The root can be sliced and tossed into salads and grain bowls, displayed on appetizer plates, juiced or canned. Black Knight carrots can also be utilized in any recipe calling for carrots such as soups, stews, and roasts. The dark pigments of the roots remain intact with cooking, and the carrots can also be roasted or sautéed with fresh herbs for a side dish. Black Knight carrots pair well with other members of the Apiaceae family including parsnip, dill, and fennel, and also pair well with bacon, butter, radishes, hazelnuts, olive oil, cheeses such as cheddar, parmesan and pecorino, ginger, cardamom, potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, shallots, and tomatoes. Black Knight carrots have an inherently lower shelf-life than Western carrot varieties and will only keep up to two weeks when stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Never store fruit along with carrots, as fruits expel ethylene gas that is readily absorbed by carrots. The carrots exposed to the ethylene gas will turn very bitter, making them not suitable for eating.
In Turkey, black or purple carrots are commonly used in the traditional fermented beverage known as salgam, which means turnip in Turkish. Despite the name of the drink, salgam also consists of yeast, purple carrots, beets, lemons, bread, and salt. These ingredients are placed into a jar, fermented for approximately fifteen days, and then strained and consumed. Salgam is traditionally served with Adana or ground lamb kebabs and is garnished with a pickled carrot. Black carrots are also used in Turkey as a natural food dye.
Black Knight carrots are a descendant of the Eastern wild carrot, a purple-rooted carrot native to Afghanistan in the region where the Himalayan and Hindu Kush mountains meet. As the roots were domesticated, natural hybrids and mutants were developed and crossed with wild and cultivated varieties creating new cultivars varying in color, size, and flavor. Today Black Knight carrots are mainly found at local markets in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. They are also found on a small scale in home gardens and through specialty farms or grocers in the United States.
Recipes that include Black Knight Carrots. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Not Lazy. Rustic.||Baked Purple Carrot Chips|