My 4 Favorite Carrot Varieties

While carrots take a long time to grow, the flavors and colors you get from heirloom varieties beat what you can find at the store any day.

by Kevin Fogle
PHOTO: Kevin Fogle

Have you been mulling over what cultivar of carrots to grow in 2016? The following varieties are a few of my favorite carrots to eat and grow.

1. Little Finger Carrots

As the name suggests, Little Finger carrots are small, only reaching 3 to 5 inches long. The story goes that this small French heirloom was developed for easy pickling. This tender heirloom is solid orange and perfect for canning or eating raw. Don’t expect every Little Finger carrot to be perfect like the store bought varieties, as this variety has a tendency to fork in unexpected ways—a perfect carrot for all Game of Thrones fans.

2. Amarillo Yellow Carrots

The Amarillo Yellow isn’t just any old yellow carrots—this variety is bright neon yellow inside and out. Not just for show, these tender carrots are also quite tasty. They have a sweet, mild, earthy flavor that are great right out of the garden or baked in yellow carrot cakes. Amarillo Yellow carrots reach 7 to 8 inches in length and tend to be well-shaped with some occasional forking.

3. Red Cored Chantenay Carrots

The French heirloom Red Cored Chantenay is a stump-root type of carrot that features a broad shouldered top and a rounded blunt tip. The skin is bright orange with a deep orange or reddish orange core. This variety reaches 5 to 6 inches long and is perfect for eating raw or grated in salads. Known for its smooth exterior, regular shape and ability to grow in heavy soils, it makes a good storage carrot and tends to get sweeter with time.

4. Kuroda Carrots

An Asian cultivar, Kuroda carrots are characterized by large, stubby, red-orange taproots and are one of the sweetest carrots available on the market. Although the carrots grow quite large, they retain a high level of moisture and tenderness. Its candy-sweetness makes it great for juicing or using raw. There are several Kuroda varieties available on the market, but all of them share the same sweet flavor profile and are highly recommended. Kuroda carrots also tend to tolerate some degree of heat, which can be helpful for gardeners with warm fall and spring seasons.

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