World War Two was a key moment in the history of the Carrot and helped restore its popularity from the black sheep of the pantry to the star of recipes such as carrot jam, curried carrots and, of course, that delicious drink, carrolade.
With Carrots being one of the few vegetables that could easily be grown in Britain, “Dr Carrot” became a key player in the Ministry of Food’s battle to keep the public well fed on limited rations.
In 1941 the British Government killed two birds with one stone when it faced the dual problems of a) having too many damn carrots and b) needing a cover story for the increase in successfully shooting down night time bombers. The increased strike rate was due to super secret advances in radar technology that the British didn’t want the Germans to know about. Their answer was ingenious, they popularised an old wives tale that carrots helped you see in the dark, and that a diet of carrots was leading to their fighter pilots shooting down more bombers. The ruse was a success; consumption of carrots increased as the British public suffered through repeated blackouts, the RAF pilots benefited from a placebo effect and the Germans were thrown off the scent of the new technology.