The conveniently bagged baby carrots that we can buy in the grocery store, and that we think are good “snacks” for us and our kids, may be anything but. As I was investigating how baby carrots are grown and marketed, I was surprised to learn what the baby carrots we typically buy in the grocery store really are.
Most of the carrots sold in the store as babies are really full-size carrots that were rejected because they were crooked, deformed, or too small. These unacceptable full-size carrots are cut down to look baby-size, and then peeled. Since much of a carrots nutritional value lies in the skin, these pseudo-baby carrots are not as nutritional as whole carrots (either full size or true babies).
And because they have been peeled, they must be soaked in a chlorine solution to kill bacteria and preserve them. This chlorine solution soaking is performed even for “organic” pseudo-baby carrots. So I’ve delusionally been thinking that I’m buying highly nutritional “baby” carrots when I’ve actually been buying nutrition-deficient carrots processed in chemicals.
In the future, any “baby” carrots we buy will have been harvested as true baby carrots (and will have the skin on) and will not be something cut down to look like them. This year I’ve also planted a really long row of carrots, so we should have really baby carrots right from the garden. Since we don’t use any chemicals in the garden, I know the homegrown carrots will be good for us, and will taste fantastic. But what I still don’t know about the food we eat continues to amaze me.
Is it straight chlorine, or water with a small amounts of chlorine? I don’t see any facts to back this up?
Hi Erik, You can Google “How are baby carrots processed” and find the story on how baby carrots are made. I think it’s water with a small amount of chlorine. Probably not that harmful, but you’re generally not eating a “real” baby carrot.
The chlorine baths seem to linger. I have stomach issues and can’t use bleached carrots especially if I’m going to juice then or I get a stomach.
wow! Chlorine really that is horrible! Thanks for the post!
Chlorine really isnt that horrible. Trust me, I’m a cellular biologist.
Besides, “chemicals” are all around us- you are just a collection of chemical and believe it or not a little bit of chlorine is not harmful. Think about when you go to the pool… you’re prob getting more chlorine exposure there then you are in a handful of baby carrots. Plus they WASH the carrots after the chlorine treatment.
Check out this link for some myths vs facts on the “dangers of chlorine”
People- don’t be so naïve.
Also, the post below makes a good point re waist- that’s about “unhealthy as we can get–increasing our waste and carbon footprint
To be fair, I sympathize with carrot farmers to a certain extent on this one. The “average” American consumer is really to blame. Americans by and large refuse to purchase less-than-perfect produce. People think it has to be pretty to be ripe and good for you, and carrots are notoriously difficult to grow and end up with a PERFECT product without kinks, breaks, bends or blemishes. Mike Yurosek invented “baby carrots” (the cut/peeled type) in the 80s because he was having to waste as much as 400 TONS of carrots per day because they weren’t perfect enough to be sold to American consumers. He’s credited pretty much with turning the entire carrot farming business around and making it profitable again. So while it’s good to be AWARE of what you’re buying (I’m all for full disclosure on these things), the honest truth is, American consumers brought this upon themselves. People voting with their dollars and refusing to buy less-than-picture-perfect produce forced the hands of farmers who need to make a living. Now, if we could educate people and maybe get them to buy from local farms or farmer’s markets, where they get to see and understand that if a carrot is bent it doesn’t make it “bad”, that would be a step in the right direction.
Hi Amanda, I didn’t know that background about baby carrots, and you make good points.
You are totally rigbt. People think it needs to look pretty and present it self well and if not then there is something wrong with it. Also I am a firm beliver that people just want to open a bag and be done with it. Heavens forbid it they might have to clean a carrot or peal it.
Those things either smell like bleach, or they are slimy… I stopped buying them long ago. I just make ‘carrot coins’ from regular sized organic carrots, with the skin.