You’ve just bought a one-pound bag of fresh baby carrots from the grocery store, fully intending to eat them all because of your goal to eat more vegetables.
You get home, open up the bag, and eat a few for lunch.
A week later, the bag is still three-quarters full because you really can’t eat that many carrots in one sitting and a one-pound bag has a lot of carrots!
You’re probably very familiar with the above situation, or at least can commiserate with the question of how long a bag of baby carrots lasts.
Read on for more details!
Can you eat slimy baby carrots?
According to Marlene Geiger writing for Iowa State University, sometimes baby carrots will develop a thin white film on their surface.
There is an Internet myth that this film is a chlorine residue from processing that could actually cause cancer, but according to Geiger, this is not true.
The white film is simply a thin layer of dehydrated carrot that can develop when baby carrots are exposed to the air, and they are perfectly safe to eat.
The reason why baby carrots are prone to developing this thin white film is because of how baby carrots are processed. Baby carrots are actually cut out from full-sized carrots that are too deformed to sell.
This means that they lack the tougher outer “skin” that full-sized carrots have, and are more prone to moisture loss if they are exposed to the air.
According to Geiger, baby carrots will also sometimes develop a rubbery texture if they haven’t been sealed tightly and are exposed to the air for longer periods of time.
Rubbery carrots are still safe to eat, as it simply reflects a loss of moisture.
If you don’t enjoy the texture, you can cook them—toss them in oil and your favorite seasoning and roast in the oven, or toss them in a soup or stew! You will not notice the unpleasant texture once you have cooked them.
While rubbery carrots are safe to eat, slimy carrots are not.
Why do baby carrots get slimy?
The slime that develops on the surface of baby carrots is different from mold.
Mold is much easier to spot— it has a fluffy or fuzzy texture—and usually is accompanied by the carrots getting soft and mushy.
Slime isn’t easy to see with the naked eye and isn’t usually accompanied by a strong smell.
Since you usually have to feel the slime with your hands to detect it, you may not even notice until you take the carrots out of the bag that something is wrong.
As an aside, this video is a strangely fascinating time-lapse of the spoiling process occurring to regular-sized carrots.
Watch to see what carrots look like after many days of being allowed to grow moldy.
If you do happen to eat some slimy or gooey carrots, you may develop some digestive distress.
If you’re going to get sick, it will likely happen within 24-48 hours or sooner.
You will likely have some discomfort, but no lasting effects from eating rotting carrots.
Your body will resolve the issue and return itself back to homeostasis, and you should be fine after that.
Interestingly, the digestive symptoms themselves (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) are your body’s way of ridding itself of the harmful bacterial intruders and returning to a more balanced state.
Because of how baby carrots are processed, they lack the protective outer peel than regular carrots have and will likely spoil a bit faster.
This is also why you need to take more care with how you store baby carrots to ensure that they last as long as possible.
Store baby carrots in a resealable container to avoid exposing them to the air for long periods of time.
Can slimy carrots be washed?
“The slime on carrots involves an overgrowth of Leuconostoc gelidum and Leuconostoc gasicomitatum strains of the lactic acid bacterium. (LAB) They are gram-positive, non-motile, non-sporulating, facultatively anaerobic psychrotrophic LABs.
Most times, they are associated with vegetable spoilage, especially vegetable products that are vacuum-packed.”
It’s due to the overgrowth of these particular strains of bacteria that carrots start to develop a layer of slime.
This is why if you have slimy carrots, you can’t simply rinse them with water to resolve the issue — it takes more than that to neutralize the harmful bacteria.
Some people recommend cutting off the surface areas of the baby carrot that are slimy and eating the interior portions that are supposedly untouched by the bacterial slime.
The problem with this method, Wolf points out, is that when you cut up the carrots, your knife and cutting board will probably become contaminated with the bacteria in the slime.
The best thing to do is just to dispose of contaminated carrots, and try to eat them more quickly next time you buy them.
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.