12 Unusual Carrots to Grow

These nutritious root veggies come in all shapes and sizes — and they're not just orange.

September 04, 2019

Photo By: National Garden Bureau

Photo By: National Garden Bureau

Photo By: National Garden Bureau

Photo By: National Garden Bureau

Photo By: National Garden Bureau

Photo By: National Garden Bureau

Photo By: National Garden Bureau/Alf Christianson Seed Co./Sakata

Photo By: Seed Savers Exchange

Photo By: National Garden Bureau/Alf Christianson Seed Co.

Photo By: Seed Savers Exchange

Photo By: National Garden Bureau

Photo By: John Dillon/Johnny's Selected Seeds

Photo By: National Garden Bureau

Carrot Varieties

Find a carrot variety that's right for your garden. Blunt-tipped Nantes types are the easiest for most backyard gardeners to grow. Imperators are the long, straight, tapered types usually sold in stores. Cone-shaped Chantneys are short and stubby. You can also find mini varieties and radish-type carrots for growing in containers or rocky soils. While you're at it, consider growing some colored carrots, too, for their unusual flavors and hues.

Carrot 'Solar Yellow'

'Solar Yellow’ carrots have their roots, so to speak, in the Middle East. Some sources date them to the 900s, while others say they appeared in the 14th century. They’re a bit sweeter than most orange carrots, and hold their buttery color when cooked.

Carrot 'White Satin'

Crunchy, juicy ‘White Satin’ carrots have a sweet but slightly spicy taste. This Nantes-type holds up well in storage. Serve the roots uncooked, alongside purple and orange carrots, to add color to the table.

Carrot 'Yellowstone'

'Yellowstone' carrots are non-GMO, which means they are open-pollinated, not genetically engineered. They're sunflower-yellow in color, with a sweet, mild flavor and a crisp bite. 'Yellowstone' is an Imperator-type carrot.

Carrot 'Lunar White'

Some seed sellers say that white carrots were grown as far back as the Middle Ages. Today, the cream-colored roots of ‘Lunar White’ offer cooks and gardeners a mild flavor and small cores. While carrots with colorful pigments are thought to offer more health benefits, this variety is a good source of dietary fiber.

Carrot 'Deep Purple'

Sweet-tasting and tapered, ‘Deep Purple’ carrots grow to 7 or 8 inches long. They’re dark purple inside and out, although the color fades when the carrots are cooked. Try quickly stir-frying them to preserve the color.

Carrot 'Hercules'

Cone-shaped 'Hercules' carrots can be grown in heavy, shallow or rocky soils that would stunt or twist longer-rooted types. They mature early and are great for juicing. The color is medium orange.

Carrot 'Dragon'

These red-purple carrots have yellow-orange interiors. They're sweet, with a hint of spice. 'Dragon' seeds are typically slow to germinate, but the experts at Seed Savers Exchange recommend growing them under spun row polyester covers to help.

Carrot 'YaYa' (F1)

Developed by Bejo, a Dutch seed company, 'YaYa' (F1) is an early Nantes-type carrot with smooth, blunt roots. The tops have good disease resistance and hold up well if you’re taking your carrots to market. The roots have a sweet, tender flavor.

Carrot 'Scarlet Nantes'

This heirloom carrot from Seed Savers Exchange, 'Scarlet Nantes', is a bright, orange-red. The nearless coreless roots are sweet-tasting and grow to about 7 inches long. Try this variety for baby carrots, or freeze or juice the roots.

Carrot 'Deep Purple'

Sweet-tasting and tapered, ‘Deep Purple’ carrots grow to 7 or 8 inches long. They’re dark purple inside and out, although the color fades when the carrots are cooked. Try quickly stir-frying them to preserve the color.

Carrot 'Yellowbunch'

Grow ‘Yellowbunch’ for carrots you can roast, juice or make into soups. These slender roots are very uniform and grow 8 to 9 inches long. The plants have good resistance to Alternaria blight, a leaf disease.

Carrot 'Purple Haze'

Eye-catching 'Purple Haze' carrots, which are an Imperator type, won an AAS award. The bright purple skins hide bright orange interiors, but the colors will fade when the roots are cooked.

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