Did you know that carrots can come in five different colors? That is orange, purple, red, white, and yellow. Just like everything else under the sun and most food items in our kitchens and pantries, carrots can and do go bad.
Technically speaking, carrots have a relatively short shelf life due to the presence of a chemical known as ethylene that is found in carrots. This chemical is what is responsible for acting as a catalyst in the spoilage of carrots and other fruits and vegetables.
Do carrots go bad? Unfortunately, yes, they do. The period is usually between 5 days and 3 weeks but can go up to 1 year. This is all dependent on the storage. There are steps that can be taken to slow down the process like not washing them until immediately before use and keeping in the refrigerator or freezing them.
How long do carrots last?
When it comes to carrots, the length of time that they will stay fresh for depends on the nature in which you store the carrots as well as how fresh they were when you purchased them.
Ideally, whole carrots will keep fresh left in the pantry for a period of at least between 3 to 5 days. However, if they are placed in the refrigerator will typically increase their shelf life to a period of about 2 to 3 weeks.
This is especially the case if the carrots are wrapped in a wet or damp kitchen towel. Alternatively, if you chose to store them submerged in water kinda like flowers, then they can last for even up to a month or a month and a half.
On the other hand, sliced carrots only retain their good quality while stored in the refrigerator for a period of between 3 to 5 days. If cooked they can go for between 5 to 7 days and still maintain their good taste and be safe to use in meals or consumed as snacks.
When blanched before being frozen, fresh uncut whole carrots will keep well stored in the freezer for a whole year. Provided the temperature remains constant. This is the same position for cooked carrots.
How do you know if carrots have gone bad?
In this regard, our senses really are the best way to tell whether carrots have gone bad or not.
First things first, visually, be on the lookout for some small white tiny dots on the surface of the carrots. These are usually caused by the carrots being dehydrated.
Carrots with numerous of these white spots should not be consumed at any cost. The same goes if there is any sign of mold that has spread throughout the carrot.
If you also look at the carrots and there appear to be many discolored areas on them, or they have numerous bruises, the carrots are rancid and will definitely not taste very good in whatever recipe you are using them in. You should throw them out immediately or if you have a garden, you can choose to use them as compost matter.
Over time, carrots tend to get dehydrated. This leads to the carrots losing their firmness and becoming very limp and rubbery and generally easy to bend.
These carrots may not taste the best and even just peeling them in order to use them will be a tall order. Also, fresh and good carrots should not have a smell. If you take a whiff of your carrots and the smell is strong and off, do not even consider using those carrots for anything.
Finally, you can feel the carrots. If they feel slimy then they have turned and should be thrown out with no hesitation.
Can you get sick from eating bad carrots?
If you eat bad carrots, chances are that you won’t suffer any side effects, other than the unpleasant taste in your mouth.
But in some cases, they can lead to irritation of the lining of your stomach and intestines as well which causes a stomach upset and having gasses. You may also experience nausea, vomiting, or even diarrhea.
In some very rare and isolated cases, eating such contaminated nuts may cause worse symptoms to appear right away. You ought to seek medical attention immediately if any of the symptoms you are having are severe or extreme.
What is the best way to store carrots?
Although the refrigerator is the most ideal location to store carrots. They can also be kept out in the open on your kitchen counter or even placed in the pantry.
Firstly, I would be wise to note as your store carrots, they should be kept away from other fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene which is a chemical that causes the speeding up of the ripening process. These include fruits such as apples and bananas. As a key tip, refrain from washing the carrots until the point when you are ready to use them.
If left in a kitchen cabinet or the pantry, the carrots should be placed in a place that is well ventilated to avoid a build up of moisture and away from direct sunlight.
When storing in the refrigerator, you can choose to either keep them entirely dry or submerge them in water completely. For the dry option, place the carrots in the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator or alternatively, poke holes in the plastic packaging that they come in to allow for any water to have the means to get out.
For the submerging option, start off by cutting off the green tips on the carrots. Then take a container and place the carrots inside and then add water that covers the water completely.
Cover the container with a lid and place it in the refrigerator and ensure to keep changing the water every few days or when it turns cloudy.
Can you freeze carrots?
If you want your carrots to last even longer, freezing is the best way to do it. However, you should ensure that you prepare your carrots well enough before placing them in the freezer. The process is as simple as:
- You want to start off by washing your carrots in clean running water.
- Have the carrots how you would like to freeze them. By this, I mean, either chop them up in strips or cubes. Whichever way suits your fancy.
- Blanch them in boiling water for a maximum of three minutes.
- Drain out the hot water.
- Place them in an ice bath or in some cold water in order to put a halt to the cooking process that had been started by the blanching.
- Remove them from the ice bath or cool water and use a clean and dry kitchen towel to dry them.
- Once dry, transfer them into a resealable airtight plastic container or Ziplock bag. Ensure to always push out as much air as possible from these bags before placing them in the freezer.
- Another tip would be to label the bags as you place them in the freezer with the date of freezing in order to ensure that you use the earlier bags first.
What are the nutritional benefits of eating carrots?
Carrots are not just good for Bugs Bunny (lol). Whether they are eaten raw as a snack or in a salad or cooked in a soup or a meal, we cannot deny the fact that they are delicious and healthy to consume.
Carrots are easily one of the most popular veggies out there since they come packed with many health benefits from being rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients. Because of this and their low-cost, most people always have carrots on their shopping lists to use in various recipes that range from soups to stews to eating them raw with a side dip of ranch.
Some other nutritional benefits of eating carrots are:
- The most well-known benefit of eating carrots is that they are good for your eyes. This is due to the presence of beta-carotene which is an element that is changed into vitamin A by our bodies. Vitamin A is what keeps our eyes healthy.
- They can lower your risk of cancer. The antioxidants that are present in carrots are some of the ones that have been proven to fight off harmful free radicals in our bodies. This makes a person less likely to have cancer.
- They help your heart. The potassium present in carrots helps to keep a person’s blood pressure in check and thus helps the heart.
- They boost your immune system. The way this is done is through the presence of vitamin C in carrots. Vitamin C then helps your body build or generate antibodies that go a long way in defending your immune system. Vitamin C can also help your body in the process of taking in and using iron as well as playing a role in helping to prevent certain infections from afflicting the human body.
- They can help with constipation. This is simply because they contain fiber.