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Adventures with purple carrots.

I posted about my purple spring roll experiment here… but I’ve done some other things with purple carrots, I thought I’d share.

Purple carrots?  – yes!  Actually, purple was a “normal” colour for carrots, until we started growing only orange ones… they have been around probably longer than orange ones.  They just haven’t been as popular, and are now slowly coming back in.  They are supposedly higher in antioxidants and some other nutrients, and they are really cool.  Interestingly, they taste pretty much identical to an orange carrot!  The ones I’ve had were ever so slightly milder in taste than an orange one, but then orange carrots can vary wildly in taste anyway.  If you had your eyes closed, you’d never know you were eating a purple carrot instead of an orange one.

They are really dark, and look almost black, with a deep red tinge… but in food, and if you get them stain your white benchtops, they are definitely purple.

Since my vegie patch has been neglected for a looooooong time (and no, that’s not an euphemism :Þ), I’m at the mercy of my local supermarket, who has stocked them occasionally, and I buy heaps every time they do.  But you can get the seeds to grow your own.

My first experiment was the purple spring rolls… only because I’d bought like 8 purple carrots and no orange ones, so I thought I’d see how the purple ones went in spring rolls.  Not actually expecting them to colour the entire mix.

Then I thought – BRILLIANT! – If purple carrots make purple spring rolls, will purple carrots make a purple carrot cake?  Alas, no…  The carrot cake recipe I used had brown sugar and golden syrup in it, so the cakemix was brown…. adding the carrots into that made the uncooked mix a weird army green sort of colour, and when baked it looked just like a darker normal carrot cake.  😦

So then I thought perhaps I could get purple cakes if I grated purple carrots into a normal butter cake mix….  before baking, they were a pink colour….

After baking though, they go distinctly BLUE! – Cool, don’t get me wrong… but not purple 😦

I am assuming that the alkali of the baking soda in a cakemix turns the purple colour to blue – given that I’ve read a natural blue & purple food colour site that uses acid/alkali to change the colour.  Nevermind, they were cool anyway (and unlike a carrot cake, these tasted like a normal cake)

So then I wanted to see if I could make a shepherd’s pie look like a cupcake… by boiling some purple carrot with the potato, and piping that on.  However I added too much purple carrot, so it went a lot darker than I anticipated, and they didn’t mash as nicely as the potato, so I used a stab blender which changed the consistency of the mashed stuff (it went sort of goopy)… but anyway…  sadly, they went a sort of burgandy colour, rather than red… (though I did add a little cream cheese, which might have changed the ph?)… which went dark and even less appealing when cooked… but it was good for a test… next time I’ll add less carrot.

Also, pink lemonaid!

I boiled some carrot tops in the water/sugar mix for making lemonaid, knowing that the acid in the lemonjuice should turn it pink – and it did!


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