Carrots have always divided its audience. While some people love carrots, including me, and others just can't eat it or even be near it. Nonetheless, whichever group you are in, it cannot be denied that the carrots are a popular vegetable and often find their way into some of the most delicious dishes whether it’s vegetarian or non-vegetarian. But like other vegetables and fruits you might be thinking about exactly how long do carrots last, well, just keep on reading and you might get the answer.
The world is changing rapidly now and we are still struggling to keep up the pace. We have jam-packed work schedules now as compared to the free-flowing fixed work hours we used to enjoy a few years back.
And while we are running around, trying to get the bacon our health is bearing the brunt of our extreme schedules. Now, you’re going to say that we cannot leave our works.
Of course, you, me, and everybody else have got to do their jobs for their sustenance. So what did we do? We developed some healthy diets to keep up our health while coping with our busy schedules.
This new health-conscious diet plan, we started following was characterized by a fact that we started to cut down heavily on the meat and oils, and the good ole veggies gained prominence. You might not like vegetables, but there's always something for everyone.
One thing that we can all agree upon is that carrots are one of the few cheap vegetables that are inexplicably healthy. Carrots are a rich source of vitamin and are extremely nutritious for people of age groups. Even the carrot juice is considered to be the healthiest fitness supplement.
And like any other vegetable or any food item for that matter, carrots also do have a finite longevity period and run the risk of going bad if not properly preserved.
Can Carrots Go Bad?
Although the carrots have a reputation for having a considerably higher shelf life as compared to other common vegetables, like any other vegetable they can also go bad if not properly stored.
Carrots going bad is a bigger problem than you might think. Since, as I mentioned, people often overlook carrots' preservation owing to their higher shelf life, as a result, many people are faced with the inevitable situation of carrots gone bad. Baby carrots have even shorter longevity and require immense care and nurturing.
How Bad Is It to Consume A Bad Carrot?
We all loved Bugs Bunny and that's probably everyone's childhood cartoon that made carrots our favorite. So at the outset, the carrots might appear an innocent vegetable even with the knowledge that they can go bad.
The question right now in your mind is: “It’s a carrot! How bad can it be?”
Trust me, the answer is: “Really bad”
Given below, in brief, are some of the common side effects of consuming bad carrots.
Give Rise to Allergies
This is very rare, but not untrue. Carrots have a lot of different proteins in them and consuming a bad carrot can cause severe allergies in some people. Especially people with allergies towards pollen foods are highly susceptible to allergies on consuming a bad carrot.
Carrot allergy, commonly causes swelling of lips and itching of the eyes and nose. In some extreme cases, the allergies caused by carrots can cause anaphylaxis.
Might Be Unsafe for Infants
This is not much of a side effect as much as it's a child hazard. Bad carrots can be very difficult to chew for infants and may cause choking.
It's better not to feed bad carrots to your child and risk their health and safety together. Also, the bad chemicals in them can severely affect the immune system of the child.
Are Probable Cause for Flatulence
Flatulence is a common problem and is not specific to consuming bad carrots. It happens due to consuming any bad food or vegetables. Flatulence is a common gas accumulation in the stomach. It can be highly uncomfortable for the individuals and is mainly caused due to harmful chemicals present in the bad food, in this case, carrots, that interfere with the digestion processes.
May Give Rise to Skin Discoloration
This is an extreme condition and is not only caused by eating bad carrots, but also by consuming too many carrots.
The main reason behind this complication is the beta-carotene concentration in our bloodstream that is increased by consuming bad or too many carrots. This chemical interferes with the natural skin pigment of our body and may impart an orange-ish hue to the skin.
However, as I mentioned this is an extreme case and can only occur on prolonged consumption of bad carrots. So, just don’t eat a bad carrot.
Are A Chief Cause Of Vitamin-A Toxicity
Carrots are very rich in nutrients, especially Vitamin-A. Consumption of bad carrots can lead to mildly increased levels of Vitamin-A in our body. Any amount higher than 10,000 IU of Vitamin-A is considered toxic.
Vitamin toxicity severely affects the liver enzymes and can cause abdominal pain in the infected person. This condition is also known as Hypervitaminosis. Some of the common symptoms of this condition are nose-bleeds, hair loss, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.
So How Long Does A Carrot Last?
Still, love carrots? Then you might want to know how long is their shelf life. Carrots are used in several ways and varieties, so the shelf life is also dependent on the variations. Given below is the consensus data about the shelf life of carrots under different conditions.
So How Do We Know If A Carrot Has Gone Bad?
We have learned so far about the effects of eating a bad carrot and how they may go bad. After all this, it should be quite clear that consuming a bad carrot is highly inadvisable. So it's obvious that despite all the care we take, it is highly possible that sometimes our vegetables go bad and it has happened with all of us and will continue to happen.
So What To Do?
So it turns out, maybe we cannot stop a carrot from going bad, eventually. But we can still identify when they start to turn bad or if they have already gone bad and save ourselves from the various health complications that may arise due to the consumption of bad carrots.
Given below are some pointers that may help you in effectively identifying the stage of the carrots and you can determine if they have gone bad or are still usable.
Check for Mushiness
You might have bought some carrots from the market and might have forgotten about them. Then after some weeks, it dawns upon you to eat them. In such cases, it's best to check the carrots for any kind of mushiness.
Just feel the carrots and if they are mushy and also appear a little slimmer than they should be then you have to realize that they have gone bad and are unfit for consumption. But if you still go ahead and eat, they then get ready for a slew of health problems.
Check the Expiry
This is a very efficient way in case you are purchasing the carrots from a department store or a supermarket, their packaging comes with an expiry date on them. It’s necessarily not an expiry date but the date of packaging.
You can determine how long before the carrots can go bad depending on the date of packaging and decide if you want to buy those carrots or go for some else packaged carrots.
Keep A Check for White Blush
If you start some white blushes on the carrots you bought then there is no need to worry, yet. The white blushes are a sign that you need to consume the carrots immediately as very little time is left before they go bad.
However, if you see that the carrots have developed a very stark white blush, then you need to discard the carrots, then and there as it means they have become completely unhealthy for consumption.
Check the Smell
This is a basic pointer and most of you must already know this before reading this article. This tip is useful not only for carrots, but is also applicable to other vegetables as well. A bad carrot typically emits a bad smell owing to the bacterial growth on it.
However, if a carrot gives out any type of strong smell at all then it’s advisable to throw them out immediately because a healthy carrot typically does not give out any kind of smell.
Since carrots are consumed majorly in their raw condition then extreme care must be taken to ensure that they are not rotten at all to protect ourselves from a variety of health problems.
Look for Any Spots on The Carrot
There are numerous small spots on a carrot that you may have noticed. Keep a check on those spots. As soon as the spots turn into the white blush, it means that the carrots have gone completely bad.
Then it’s the basic pointer to keep an eye on the spots so that you can identify exactly if the carrots are fit to consume or not.
How to Properly Store the Carrots?
So now you know what are the signs of a carrot going bad and might be feeling a little helpless. But there is nothing to worry about as you can try out some tips to ensure that the carrots have an extended shelf life.
Keep on reading as the following tips might be really useful for boosting the shelf life of your carrots and help in preserving them for a longer period.
Do Not Wash Them
This might sound surprising, but it’s a fact that unwashed carrots have a longer shelf life as compared to a washed one. This is because the natural soil present on the carrots helps in delaying the decay of the carrots.
Of course, you can wash the excess mud to make it a little cleaner, but it's advised that you should not completely wash off all the mud. It might smell a little earthy but the carrots will stay fresh for a longer period.
Let Them Dry For A Few Hours
If you do not buy carrots from the market and harvest them yourself, then it's advised that you let them dry in the sun for a few hours before you take them to the storage unit. The drying of the carrots helps the skin to heal itself from all the cuts it has received during the harvest. This healing considerably reduces the white spots on the carrots which are a major factor in the carrots going bad, as we discussed earlier.
Discard the Greens
This might sound strange but cutting off the greens from the carrots can exponentially increase the shelf life. This is because the greens suck up all the moisture from the carrots itself and render them dry. The dry carrots are more susceptible to get worse than the ones whose greens have been cut off.
Store in A Breathable Place
This one goes for any vegetable and not just for carrots. Care must be taken that wherever the carrots are stored, it should have ample breathing space to prevent rotting of the carrots and keep them fresh for a longer period.
As we have stated at the very beginning of this article that the carrots are the most budget-friendly option for getting the most nutrients from a single vegetable. So if you are a health-conscious person then it's for sure that carrots would be on your daily grocery list.
Hence, you must know about the shelf life and proper storage techniques for keeping the carrots fresh for as long as possible. If you are in love with carrots then give the article another read and maybe you can enjoy more fresh carrots in your food now.