Emails are at it again, telling me what I shouldn’t eat because of something dreadful. This time they were warning me not to eat carrots. What did these cute little baby carrots ever do to someone to be so maligned?
The first premise of this email was that these little carrots are really larger carrots that were misshapen. Duh? Did they think that carrots grow in these perfect shapes? I, personally, think this is a great concept: take carrots that previously couldn’t be sold due to their irregular shape and cut them into uniform pieces and package ready-to-eat. According to the World Carrot Museum (www.carrotmuseum.com) the overall consumption of carrots in the US has increased by 33% since the introduction of baby carrots in 1989. Anything that gets people to eat more vegetables is a fabulous idea.
Another claim from the email is that these little carrots are soaked in chlorinated water that is similar to a swimming pool. Yes, once peeled the carrots are treated with chlorinated water to reduce possible contamination. This is accepted practice for all fresh-cut ready-to-eat vegetables. There are strict guidelines on the amount of chlorine — no it’s not swimming pool water — and how long vegetables can soak in this water. The carrots are then rinsed with clean fresh water before packaging.
So what about that white film that the email message claims to be the chlorine leaching out of the carrot? This is called “white blush” and is the natural dehydration of a cut carrot surface.
My overall thoughts about carrots haven’t changed because of this email. I say eat them. Eat baby carrots. Eat regular carrots. Eat all you want. They are high in beta carotene and good sources of potassium, fiber and vitamin C. In case you’re counting….each baby carrot has about four calories.
One quick word of caution: while baby carrots or carrot “coins” seem like they would be the perfect food for children use caution as they may be a choking hazard. Cut carrots into small strips or cook before giving to young children.
Another email warning shot down. DELETE
Cheryle Jones Syracuse
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University