A question was brought up to my friend Jen, who I’ve referenced several times because she’s a trusted local dietitian and her advice is always amazing! The question was raised about how healthy baby cocktail carrots are that come prepackaged for convenience? A parent had concerns about how these carrots are processed and was worried about the white coating that appears on carrots after they’ve been in the fridge for a few days. She heard that the same chlorine that is added to pools was added to this product to help preserve them during processing because they no longer have skin. Are the carrots a smart nutritional choice for our children to eat?
I was eager for the answer to this question because I always buy these carrots, unless I need to grate them for a recipe, and in that case I buy the long, fresh ones. Jen’s response put my mind at ease.
“Regarding the cocktail carrots – the ‘white blush’ isn’t chlorine – it has to do with the condition of the whole carrot prior to processing (i.e. growing stress such as drought), humidity and temperatures during storage among other things. The taste and nutritional value of the carrots are not affected by the white blush. Chlorine has also been added to the water in which the carrots are chilled for sanitation purposes, and primarily to control microbial bacteria growth on the processed carrots (and to delay the formation of the white blush). I don’t have any info on the concentration of the chlorine in the water, but I wouldn’t be too concerned since our drinking water is also chlorinated. It is always better to eat food that is less processed, but better to eat baby carrots than no carrots!”
Whew – thanks Jen! I also researched this topic lightly and discovered that these carrots originated because a Californian farmer (Mike Yurosek) was tired of throwing away tons of carrots every year because the were not esthetically pleasing to the eye (lumpy, deformed, etc.). What a waste and now I can unleash the guilt I have about not peeling fresh carrots for my children because I’m helping reduce waste of non-perfect carrots. <smile> I can’t help but think that without the convenience of these carrots, my children wouldn’t eat them as often. One less thing to have ‘mommy guilt’ about.