Carrots discolor in the fridge but in a different way than what you’d expect.
They go from being bright orange to shrinking, bending, and turning black.
So, why is it that carrots turn black in the fridge?
Carrots turn black naturally when they begin to decompose.
Unfortunately, Carrots do not last very long once harvested and as they naturally decompose they turn black in color, shrink, and go soft.
Virtually all fruits and vegetables change color as they decompose and black is the color that carrots turn.
There are however few different ways to extend the shelf life and stop carrots from turning black.
Today I will explain how to stop carrots from turning black, whether you can eat carrots that have turned black.
As well as, explain if it’s OK to eat carrots that have a related issue – black rot.
How Do You Keep Carrots from Turning Black?
Under normal conditions, carrots will turn black if they’re left at room temperature, and in the fridge.
Carrots like most vegetables only last about a week or two even in the fridge, however, you can prevent them from turning black.
Here’s how to do it.
Carrots will naturally go black over time unless you freeze them.
They turn black after about a week even in the fridge.
Keeping them moist prolongs how long carrots last before going black.
This can be done by wrapping them in a moist paper towel or moist cloth.
Many people report that carrots turn black because they dry out and if you keep them relatively moist they won’t turn black.
This is done by keeping them in their original bag in the fridge.
Provided the bag has some holes in it.
They can also be put into a different bag, or plastic container to keep them moist.
If you put them in a plastic container, put some damp paper towels at the base of the container to keep them hydrated.
Here’s a timelapse video that shows how a carrot turns black when kept in non-moist conditions and how long it takes:
In some cases, carrots won’t turn black at all when they decay and will only shrink and curl up.
Freezing carrots – they stay fresh for 6 months to a year
Another way to preserve carrots for a very long time is to freeze them.
All fruits and vegetables don’t have the same texture when defrosted.
Therefore, they can’t be used in exactly the same ways as fresh carrots.
Frozen carrots that have been defrosted can be used for:
- Carrot cake
- Baked foods such as bread, and muffins
Carrots can also be shredded/grated first and then frozen.
This makes them much easier to use after they have been defrosted.
After carrots have been defrosted they have a softer texture and aren’t as rigid.
Which means they are harder to grate.
I explained this in more detail in this article about whether you can freeze shredded carrots for later use.
Can You Eat Carrots That Have Turned Black?
After carrots turn black they don’t look very appetizing.
But, it seems a waste to just throw them out when they could be perfectly edible.
This is whether carrots that have turned black can still be consumed:
Provided there isn’t any visible mold on the carrots it’s perfectly fine to eat carrots that have turned black. The black areas can be cut away.
If the amount of black area is significant and only a small percentage of the carrot is left then you should discard them.
The reason is it isn’t generally worth the ‘bang for buck’ to cut away most of the carrot, and only be left with a very small piece.
Carrots are one of the cheaper vegetables so it makes more sense to buy fresh ones.
But, if you really need them for a recipe and all the stores are closed then it’s a good idea to use carrots that have turned black.
But, it’s very important to be very careful with carrots that have visible mold.
Visible mold on carrots and whether you cut away the moldy areas
Many molds are toxic and can give you diarrhea, an upset stomach, a headache, and nausea.
Any parts with mold can be cut away.
However, cut an area 1 inch (2.5 cm) around the moldy area.
Molds have microscopic roots that are invisible to the naked eye.
These roots can spread quite far into the carrots.
Carrots are very hard though, so they don’t spread very far like they can in other foods such as bread.
So as long as you cut 1 inch around the mold the rest is perfectly fine to eat.
Some people like to remove the skin from carrots before cooking with them or eating the raw.
The skin is typically more bitter than the rest of the carrot.
But, interestingly it is very concentrated in certain nutrients.
That isn’t found in the inner part and core of the carrot.
I explained this in detail and showed which nutrients are found in the different parts of a carrot in this article about if you can eat carrot skin.
Why do carrots go black so quickly?
Fruits and vegetables have a very short shelf life after being harvested.
In general, all fruits and vegetables will only last a week in the pantry or the fridge before going bad.
There are some exceptions such as apples and root vegetables like potatoes.
Provided they’re kept in cool, dark, and dry conditions such as in a basement they will last for a month or more.
Carrots and virtually all fruits and vegetables have natural enzymes in them that cause them to break down.
This causes them to release the nutrients in them back into the soil.
And provides fertile soil for the seeds of the carrot plant and other plants to grow well.
Black Rot on Carrots Safe to Eat
There are black spots that develop on carrots but there is also black rot which affects carrots as they’re growing.
You can cut away the black areas of carrots and consume the rest.
But, is it ok to eat carrots with black root rot?
Carrots with the black rot are not safe to eat.
Currently there are no scientific studies or official recommendations from medical professionals about eating carrots with black rot (Thielaviopsis basicola) also known as black root rot. B
ut, many fungi are lethal if ingested.
Therefore, it’s best to be on the safe side and not consume carrots that have black rot.
Carrots that develop black areas after they have been harvested are generally fine to eat
. The black part is rotten so it’s best to cut it away and consume the rest.
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if the black areas are from black rot or from carrot decomposing.
The easiest way to tell is if it’s natural from the carrot decomposing it will develop after the carrot has been harvested.
Black root rot also has a more patchy appearance as shown in this article from the University of Massachusetts.
When it’s been left in the fridge or pantry.
Whereas, black root rot develops when the carrots are in the ground.
And is discovered after they’ve been harvested.
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.