Carrots are root vegetables, meaning the edible part grows underground. You can eat them in various ways, fresh, in a salad, or a carrot cake. Nowadays, you can find fresh carrots on a farmer’s market all year round.
Therefore, you may ask yourself do carrots go bad, how long do carrots last, and how to store carrots to stay fresh for a long period. Let’s see.
Do Carrots Go Bad?
It is a well-known fact that carrots are healthy for the human eyes, aside from being delicious. Still, they can be beneficial for your health in other ways, as well. That is why you need to include them regularly in your diet.
Even though carrots don’t have an expiration date, they can go bad like any other vegetable. That means you will see them deteriorate over time and rot. The rotten vegetables lose their characteristic taste, and consumption can harm your health. The best you can do is to slow down this process by storing them properly.
How Long Do Carrots Last?
Carrots can stay fresh for weeks or spoil very quickly, depending on the place you store them. If you keep them close to ethylene-rich fruits, such as apples and bananas, they will go bad faster.
How Long Do Carrots Last (Chart)
|Raw whole||3 to 5 days||4 to 5 weeks|
6 to 9 months
Sliced, in water
|Unsafe||6 to 8 weeks||Not recommended|
6 to 9 months
|3 to 5 days||3 to 4 weeks||6 to 9 months|
|Dehydrated||Up to one year||Unsafe|
One of the options is to place carrots in a pantry for three to five days, including baby ones. After this period, you should use your veggies or transfer them into a fridge.
The whole, raw carrots can stay in the fridge for more than a month. However, you can prolong their life by slicing them and putting them into the water.
Cooked carrots will stay edible for around one week when stored in a fridge. On the other hand, keeping them at room temperature is not safe, and they can spoil in just a few hours.
5 Tips to Tell if Carrots Have Gone Bad
If you buy carrots regularly, you probably know that larger pieces spoil slower than baby carrots. The reason is that carrot peel keeps the core from drying out. Still, all vegetables lose moisture over time and become gummy and flabby. There are five indicators that carrots are spoiled and no longer edible:
If you don’t remove the green leaves from the top of the carrots, you may notice that they have dried and withered after a few days in the pantry. Basically, they extract all the moisture from roots, and hard carrots become inedible over time.
To prevent that, you should boil veggies well, peel them after cooling, and then use them for preparing stew.
Typical, fresh carrots don’t have any specific smell. Once veggies start rotting, they get an unpleasant, pungent odor. That is a definite sign of bacteria growth. Smelly carrots are not safe to eat, and you need to discard them.
As carrots dry, they lose their firmness and become rubber-like and bendable with changes on the peel. Once you try to peel them with a knife, the chunks will start falling off along with the bark. Just toss them in the trash since those carrots are useless.
So-called white blush means that the vegetable has started to lose moisture. If you don’t want to throw such carrots away, you need to consume them as soon as possible. Although not rotten, they are tasteless and useless in food.
Rotten roots often have black mold spots on the surface. Although some housewives only cut that part and use the rest of the carrots, that can be unsafe because the mold appearance can cause health problems. The safest option is to get rid of those veggies and buy fresh ones.
How to Store Carrots
There are a few ways to store carrots and extend their shelf life. Let’s see.
Cut green parts
In most cases, carrots bought on a farmer’s market have a green stalk with leaves on the top. It would help if you cut these greens off before storing the carrots because it dries them out and speeds up spoilage.
Remember that these green parts packed with vitamins are an excellent addition to soups and other dishes. If you plan to use them, keep them separate until use.
You can safely store the carrots in a pantry or even in a kitchen cabinet for a couple of days. Still, it is better to pick a dark and dry place and keep them away from other fresh foods that can speed up rot.
People used to store vegetables during the winter months in the basement before the fridge was invented. If you have one, put your veggies there packed in a wooden box filled with sand. That way, you will save them fresh and moist for three to six months.
- Plastic bags – Baby carrots are sold in plastic packaging because the air dries them out. Always put these veggies in a plastic bag or container to keep them moist.
- Wrap carrots – Another handy trick is to wrap carrots in a damp paper towel to keep them moist for a longer period. That way, you will get another week before they rot.
- Water – If you plan to store carrots chopped into cubes or sliced, you need to keep the pieces in a container filled with water. Otherwise, they will dry in the fridge after just a few days. Remember to change the water every few days to prevent them from becoming cloudy.
- Make a puree – Another way to use carrots is to make a puree and add them to soups, smoothies, or pancake batter. You can only keep it for about six hours at room temperature or extend its shelf life for a few weeks by storing it in the fridge. If you need puree for a few months, you can also freeze it.
Although it is not that common, you can store carrots in a jar for up to a year after dehydrating them. Set a food dehydrator to 125 F (52 C), place the cut carrots, and wait for a few hours. Place the vegetables in a jar when they cool off and store them in a pantry.
This popular method of preserving vegetables is not complicated. Peel carrots, slice them and put whole veggies in hot, clean jars. After pouring boiling water over them, process them in a pressure canner for about 25 minutes.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Carrots
As I have already mentioned, carrots don’t expire on a particular day. Instead, they slowly rotten while pathogenic microorganisms develop in the skin.
If you consume rotten carrots, the consequences will be ranked from mild digestive problems to food poisoning with typical symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.
In some cases, even the consumption of healthy, non-rotten carrots may harm you, as well. For instance, consuming excessive amounts of these vegetables can lead to carotenemia.
The primary indicator of this disease is an intense change in skin pigmentation. The skin gets a bright yellow or orange color due to the beta carotene excess. Don’t forget that carrots are also allergens, which can cause a reaction in certain people.
Can You Freeze Carrots?
Yes, you can freeze carrots. However, putting raw and unsliced veggies in the freezer is not an excellent idea since low temperatures cause carrots to crack and damage their structure.
Therefore, you need to blanch them before freezing and avoid them being too soft and mushy after thawing. After peeling these vegetables, you should fill a large skillet with water. Once the water boils, put sliced carrots in it and let them cook for three to five minutes.
Then, pour boiling water out, put the carrots in a bowl of cold water, and wait for them to cool. The last step is to dry off the slices with a paper towel before putting them in the freezer.
Carrots prepared this way can be stored in the freezer for 6 to 9 months. Remember to write down the date on a pack.
Blanching is not the same process as cooking. Once you thaw previously blanched carrots, it will be almost like they are raw and fresh. On the other hand, cooked will be soft and tasteless after thawing.
Keep in mind that you can freeze blanched carrots along with other vegetables. After all, you probably bought a frozen veggie mix in a supermarket sometimes. So, put carrots in a container with broccoli, peas, or corn and freeze them for further use.
Carrots are incredibly healthy root vegetables you can use in many ways. Unfortunately, they can go bad if you don’t store them properly. Keeping these veggies in a pantry will prolong their shelf life for a few days. On the other hand, holding carrots in the fridge or freezer will allow you to use them much longer.