This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Very few persons are aware of the fact, that young carrots are among the most wholesome of vegetables, and greatly assist digestion. French cooks, in many of their stewed dishes, introduce small slices of young carrots, and the Julienne soup, so common on every French table, is seasoned with finely chopped vegetables - young carrots being the most important, and the difference in digestion between a dinner eaten at a French cafe, and an English hotel, is not alone in the cooking, but in the vegetable condiments introduced. It is only lately that the chemists have explained the digestive stimulus known to exist in the carrot, to consist in a peculiar acid - pectic acid - found in this vegetable.
After saying so much, with a view to the promotion of a better understanding with the carrot in our kitchen gardens, we quote the following in corroboration from the Working Farmer, calculated to increase the field cultivation of this useful vegetable:
"Two bushels of oats and one of carrots, is better food for a horse than three bushels of oats; and when used for light work, the quantity of carrots may be increased. With such food horses will enjoy good health and spirits, a loose hide, shining coat, and improved digestion. It may be thus explained: The carrot is very nutritious, and, in addition, has the curious property of gelatinizing the watery solutions contained in the stomach of the horse. Carrots contain pectic acid, a single drop of which mixed with the juice of an orange or other fruit, immediately turns it into a jelly, and the Paris confectioners use it for this purpose. Soups in which carrots have been boiled, are always gelatinous when cold, and are more easily digested when used as food, than soups otherwise made.
The bene plant has similar properties. A thin slice of this plant thrown into a glass of water, renders it ropy and gelatinous, and for this reason it is a specific for summer complaint with children.
By examining the dung of a horse fed in part on carrots, it will be found to contain no undigested hay or oats, and therefore less quantities of those materials are necessary than when half the amount swallowed is parted with in an undigested state. For butter made from the milk is finely colored and highly flavored.
Id soils containing proper proportions of bone-dust, sulphuric acid, potash, and common salt, 800 bushels of long orange or 1100 bushels of white Belgian carrots may be easily raised per acre, while the same land will not produce one-tenth the quantity of oats. We are sold our crop of carrots this year to the livery stable keepers of Newark, at 60 cents per bushel, and wo could have sold another thousand bushels or more at the same price."