Humble carrot only British native in Christmas dinner, says scientist

Professor Dave Hodgson said all the other ingredients of the traditional festive feast come from all over the world.

Press Association
Last updated: 3 December 2018 - 10.50am

Christmas dinner is an international evolutionary feast – with only the humble carrot native to British soil, a leading scientist has said.

Global trade and domestication over thousands of years account for everything else, from turkey and bacon to potatoes and parsnips.

Professor Dave Hodgson, of the University of Exeter, will explain the origins of Britain’s favourite festive foods at the Science Of Christmas in Falmouth on December 6.

“Of all the animals and plants that appear on the traditional Christmas dinner plate – turkey, bacon, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, swede, parsnip, carrot, potato, chestnut, cranberry – only the carrot is a British native, and the carrot we eat bears almost no resemblance to its wild ancestor,” Prof Hodgson said.

“Turkeys are from America, pigs are from Turkey, potatoes from Peru and our cabbages are from the Mediterranean.

“All of our food species have been bred to be edible, large, colourful and very different from their wild ancestors.

“Christmas dinner really is a truly global, evolutionary feast.”

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