All the Colors of the Rainbow – Blue Carrots

Blue CarrotsThis post is part of a new series for Bekah’s Bites. We will be sharing nutrition tips about colorful fruits and vegetables. Think about rainbow colors when you choose your produce because those bright shades not only mean better flavor, it means they contain healthy nutrients.

Carrots, Potatoes, and Corn of a different shade

Everyone is familiar with orange carrots, gold potatoes, and yellow corn but these famous vegetables come in dark blue colors as well. They carry the same nutritional benefits but their deep blue color means they have more antioxidants.

A little history…

Blue Carrots – As it turns out, carrots were indigo before the 17th century, and the orange or white varieties were considered unusual. Dutch farmers created a hybrid of the orange, white, and purple plants that resulted in the dark orange vegetables we see today.  The new carrot had a sweeter taste and was plumper thereby making it more desirable as a food choice. Still, orange on the inside, the old variety is making resurgence due to the health properties related to its darker blue coloring.

5607198402_5f2db29966_oBlue Potatoes – Sometimes formally known as Adirondack Blue, Purple Majesty or Cream of the Crop, this potato is both blue inside and out and makes a colorful, and healthy, addition to your dinner table. You may be seeing more of this dark blue variety in local supermarkets because the health benefits are similar to those of blueberries, grapes, and red cabbage.

Blue Corn – Blue corn chips have been stacked next to your favorite snack chips or in an upscale Mexican restaurant for years but this vegetable also boasts great health benefits in its plain state. Also known as Hopi maize, blue corn has a rich history in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. This variety of corn has a sweet, nutty taste, is a complete protein and it is a good source of niacin.

Other vitamins and minerals present in these vegetables include potassium, selenium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Dark blue varieties of these common vegetables also contain Vitamins A, B, and C.

Blue corn, potatoes, and carrots provide your diet with disease-fighting benefits, which are:

  • Lowering blood sugar and cholesterol
  • Reducing heart attack risk
  • Fighting certain cancers
  • Promoting eye health
  • Preventing inflammation
  • Supporting healthy digestion

3737956928_7e57e7ce34_oThough these blue foods may not be the everyday varieties you are used to, they still pack many health benefits and are worth trying. This week’s Easy Friday Lunch is a traditional vegetable soup but feel free to be adventurous and use these new blue foods to make the recipe more nutritious and a little daring.


Cooking tip

Nature does not provide us with truly blue vegetables but a few show us that blue can be seen in varying degrees: blue carrots, blue potatoes, and blue corn. Used as a natural dye, wash these veggies thoroughly or boil for a few minutes to remove some of the pigment prior to adding to soups or breads.