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The mystery of sweaty carrots

Posted Jun 19 2009 5:41pm
Okay, I admit it -- sometimes I buy those baby-cut carrots, particularly when they’re on sale. They’re just so easy to throw into a lunch bag when you’re in a hurry.

Of course, they’re not really baby carrots at all; they’re regular-size carrots that have been lathed into little bullet shapes, or as we like to call them around here, “carrot toes.” For a while there was an Internet myth going around that the white surface on some baby carrots is traces of the bleach solution they’re briefly rinsed in to kill bacteria. This is false, according to the rumor-debunking site Snopes.com. The white coloration is simply dehydration that occurs on a cut surface, which, for a baby-cut carrot, is the entire surface. If you were to pull a carrot from your own garden, cut it up, and put it into the refrigerator for a day or two, the same thing would happen.

Anyway, we prefer dry carrot toes to those that inexplicably arrive swimming in moisture. I’ve been known to excavate through a stack of bags at the supermarket until I find one that contains dry carrots. If there’s no avoiding the slimy ones, I open the bag when I get home, dump out the carrots, and roll them around on paper towels before repackaging them. (There goes all the time I saved by not cutting up my own carrots.)

I’ve asked the guys in our produce department if they know the cause of sweaty carrot toes, though for propriety's sake I didn’t phrase it exactly that way. No one has had any idea. “That’s just how they look when they get here,” they tell me.

I suppose there are more pressing nutritional matters to worry about, but if anyone can shed light on this issue, please let me know.
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