Carrots aren’t just for the bunnies. When eaten either cooked or raw, carrots act as a delicious side dish to many main meals and are a healthy snack when eaten on their own.
They are one of the most popular veggies out there since carrots come loaded with numerous health perks from being rich in vitamins, anti-oxidants and nutrients. Because of this and their inexpensive price, most people always have a bag on hand to use in a long list of recipes that range from soups to stews to eating them raw with a side dip of ranch or hummus.
Like all vegetables, however, carrots do go bad eventually. When that happens, you can tell with signs that range from obvious to not so obvious.
What's the Best Way to Store Carrots?
It turns out that there's a lot more to storing carrots than just shoving a bag of them into your vegetable crisper. One way is to actually store them in water. When stored properly this way, carrots can last up to a month in the refrigerator.
Simply start by cutting off the green tops of the carrots if they came with the leaves attached. It’s important to follow this step, as not doing so causes the greens to turn the carrots dry and soft by sucking up all of the moisture. To finish off, store the carrots in a container with a lid and cover the carrots completely with water. Store them in the refrigerator and be sure to change the water every four to five days or when it turns cloudy.
Be sure to keep the carrots stored away from fruits such as apples and pears. These fruits produce a gas called ethylene, which actually causes other fruits and vegetables to ripen quicker.
How to Tell if Carrots Are Bad
If you start to see any of these following signs on your carrots, it's time to toss them out.
- Slimy carrots: You know carrots to be solid and crunchy, so it's daunting when they develop a gross slime because of excess condensation and moisture. Don't eat carrots when they are at this stage since they can make you sick. Toss them out instead.
- Rubbery carrots: If carrots have turned rubbery and soft, they’re going bad. At this stage, you can still eat them, but it probably won't be that great in terms of taste and texture. At this point, it's best to use these carrots in dishes that require a softer texture, such as in cream of carrot soup.
- Black spots on carrots: If you see black spots on carrots, this could be black rot, which is caused by a fungus called Alternaria radicina. Two reasons it develops is because of high temperatures and extended wetness on the leaves. Another reason for spots on carrots could simply be dirt. As long as you wash them or cut off the dark spots, they should be safe to eat.
How Long Do Baby Carrots Last?
If you've ever tossed out a baby carrot because it had a dry, white appearance, it didn't go bad; it was simply "blushing." This is the result of dehydration from cells drying out on the inside of the carrot, meaning that the outside of the carrot is totally fine.
Baby carrots typically last around three to four weeks. If you want to push it a little, it’s hard to say how long they will last beyond this point. You will have to monitor them for signs that they are ready to be discarded.
Baby carrots are best stored in a plastic bag in the fridge. When cooked carrots – either baby or regular – are left at room temperature for more than two hours, toss them.
Sarah is a multi-platform writer and editor. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Vital Proteins, Healthline, Diply, and more. When she's not writing, she's trying to keep up with her border collie, Emmy.