Baby Carrots: What Are They, Really?

Spring and summer produce are abundant with ‘baby’ versions of many delicious options- lettuces, squash, crucifers… they tend to be smaller (obv), more delicate and sometimes even a bit sweeter than their ‘grown’ counterpart.

And baby carrots, too.

But wait… what are baby carrots, really?

Well, there are two types.  True baby carrots which are literally young carrots and manufactured baby carrots.  According to the UK’s Carrot Museum (yes, I wrote Carrot Museum), “Baby carrots first appeared in US supermarkets in 1989.  Cut and peel  are what you see most often in the shops; they are carrot shaped slices of peeled carrots invented in the late 1980’s by Mike Yurosek, a California farmer, as a way of making use of carrots which are too twisted or knobbly for sale as full-size carrots.”

So are they just as good for you as ‘regular’ carrots?

Perhaps; but there are a few things to keep in mind:

Despite being quite ‘handy’, one should also consider that some manufactured baby carrots are washed with chlorinated water.  Others are held in cold storage so long that they begin to turn whitish.  Finally they may be pricier than their traditional counterpart.

Best bet:  stick with the carrots with their tops still on and thready roots hanging from the bottom, fresh from your local farmers.  Wash them yourself and enjoy what I find to be the most carrot-y flavor of all.   As with most things, the more natural and less processed you go, the tastier and likely healthier it will be.