Nothing Baby About Baby Carrots

I have received many questions of late and I am certainly making an attempt to go in order.  A very recent question related to baby carrots.  NOTE:  Before you get too disappointed, remember that there are a variety of other equally portable and delicious foods to dip in humus, besides baby carrots (including ACTUAL baby carrots!).

In retrospect, I always thought packaged baby carrots seemed a little too good to be true:  almost uniform in their conveniently bite-sized vessels of Vitamin A, ready to eat and always the most vibrant and shiny shade of orange.  And yet, I never got more than a few out of a single bag that were actually sweet.  Since that was seemingly always the case, I stopped buying them in the grocery store but noticed almost everyone else I knew always had them in their fridge or on the go.

After some relatively light research, the packaged “baby carrots” you’ll find in your local supermarket are actually your typical, full-grown domestic carrot, shaved down to the familiar, miniature size we’ve all “grown” to love.  According to research, the process was originated by a farmer who was sick of discarding misshapen, albeit perfectly good, carrots that he knew buyers wouldn’t buy.

Now, anyone who has ever cut into or peeled an avocado or potato or most any other fruit or vegetable, knows that it won’t retain its color for more than a few minutes, in or out of the fridge.  The only trick I know of is to squeeze lemon juice on the exposed part of an avocado and even that doesn’t keep the bright iridescent meat’s color from browning for more than a day.  So how can dozens of perfectly peeled carrots possibly retain their fresh orange color for weeks on end?  The answer, sadly, is chlorine.  Once shaven down, manufacturers immerse the carrots in a chlorine bath which in turn prevents the seemingly unavoidable, natural occurrence of oxidation (a.k.a. the discoloration of food from exposure to oxygen).

Before you get too nauseous, know that this chlorine solution is not only approved but recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure the removal of any possible traces of salmonella, E. coli, and any other bacterium a fact we all probably find reassuring at first.  However, precautions such as this one have only recently become a necessity.  Due to the centralization and industrialization of food products, (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) cases of food-borne illnesses have doubled since 1994.

So I ask you this: What more of a reason do you need to buy vegetables that are sold the way they were when picked from the earth?  How about this: as is the case with most, if not all, fruits and vegetables, the most nutrients are concentrated in and just under the skin of a carrot so without it, you are actually gypping yourself of what it truly has to offer your body.


3 thoughts on “Nothing Baby About Baby Carrots

  1. Really interesting do organic “baby carrots” have this same processing…ie is it legal under the new organic labeling?

    ALso a trick for avocado to keep them from turning…I usually eat a 1/4 to 1/2 avocado a day…what to do with the rest. I do leave the seed in the unused part as I think this does help. You can use Ball fruit fresh (find in the canning area of your supermarket ingredients Dextrose, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Citric Acid, Silicon Dioxide (Anti-Caking)) or since I do not like some of those ingredients….Just use a crushed up Vit C chewable tablet….Ascorbic Acid is all you need. It should work for 6 to 24 hrs to prevent or reduce that browning. Let me know how this method works for you.

  2. I think this is one of the most important information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The web site style is wonderful, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

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