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Can You Eat Carrots That Have Sprouted? The Truth

You bought a bag of carrots, intending to use them for many recipes.

Somehow, you never got around to making those recipes.

You discover the carrots in your refrigerator.

The carrots have sprouted. Fortunately, those carrots are still good. You can make those recipes after all.

Can You Eat Carrots That Have Sprouted?

You can eat carrots that have sprouted. Sprouted carrots have green-white stalks coming out of the tops. If you do not want to eat the sprouts, simply cut off the tops of the carrots. If you want to grow carrots, plant the sprouted carrot tops and wait for the flowers to produce seeds.

About Sprouted Carrots

Carrot sprouts come out of the top of the carrot, which is usually the widest part.

They are usually green but can be white or yellow.

They are thick at the base and eventually grow bright green leaves.

Over time, those leaves turn into white flowers that produce carrot seeds.

However, by that time, your carrot will long have turned into inedible mush.

Although carrot sprouts are edible, many people do not want to eat them.

Simply cut the top off of the carrot before using.

Some people do not like the taste of sprouted carrots, stating that they taste bland.

Carrot sprouts are not the long, string-like things that often grow out of the carrot.

Those are roots.

Although the carrot itself is a root, it makes other roots in a constant search for moisture.

In the sense that carrots can grow seeds and roots, they are still alive, in the way plants are alive.

Signs of a Bad Carrot

It would be nice if bad carrots were blatantly obvious, such as wearing black hats and smoking cigarettes.

However, there are other signs of carrots that will make you very sick if you eat them.

  • If they turn partially or completely black, including having black spots.
  • If they get slimy to the touch.
  • If they get mushy or start turning to liquid.

Carrots can change their appearance and texture and still be good enough to eat.

These signs include:

  • Sprouting carrots, although they will lack the flavor of unsprouted carrots.
  • Hairy carrots.
  • Carrots with cracks, although you should inspect the cracks to make sure those spots haven’t gone mushy.
  • Limp carrots, which work better in recipes for mashed, cooked or baked carrots than eaten raw, since they will no longer be crunchy.
  • Carrots that are going white or have white spots. These are called carrot blush or white blush and are simply dry spots. Soaking the carrots in water for 15 minutes will reduce, but not entirely eliminate, the white color and increase the moisture content in the carrot. If the white spots do not go away at all, then they are the result of damage to the carrot like a scrape. The carrot is still safe to eat.

Storing Carrots

Carrots are usually sold in large bags or bunches, making it easy for them to go off before you get a chance to use them all.

Whole, unpeeled carrots last about twice as long as peeled or sliced carrots.

Carrots stored in a root cellar last for months since it gets cold, even down to 33 degrees F, but most people no longer have access to a root cellar.

If you do, then storing the carrots in plastic bags lined with straw helps keep them fresher longer.

The New Zealand branch of the charity Love Food Hate Waste, which works to reduce food waste, worked with the University of Otago to discover the best method of storing carrots.

  • Remove the carrots from the bag, rubber band or other way they were sold.
  • Line a resealable plastic bag or airtight plastic container with paper towels. The paper towels absorb the moisture that causes carrots to rot.
  • Place the carrots in the bag or container.
  • Place the bag or container in the refrigerator. They will still be fresh for a month. Even if they sprout, they are still safe to eat.

When storing carrots in the refrigerator, keep them away from tomatoes, apricots, apples, figs, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, bananas, and avocados.

These foods emit a chemical called ethylene. Carrots absorb ethylene, which drastically changes the taste from carrot to bitter carrot or soapy carrot.

Carrots can last up to a year in the freezer, provided you prep them properly for the freezer by blanching them.

This way, the carrots will retain their nutrients. Blanch carrots by:

  • Wash the carrots to remove dirt. Remove the greens, if there are any.
  • Cutting carrots into one-inch chunks.
  • Boiling the carrots until they are just starting to go soft, but not cooked all of the way through. This should take about two or three minutes.
  • Plunge the carrots into a bowl of ice water, which will immediately stop the cooking process.
  • Remove the carrots after two or three minutes and dry with a paper towel.
  • Carrots have a tendency to stick together in the freezer. Prevent this by flash freezing the carrots in a single layer on a baking tray until they are frozen solid.
  • Take the carrots out of the freezer, put them into a freezer bag and place them back in the freezer for storage.

Frequently Asked Questions About Can You Eat Carrots That Have Sprouted

What Are the Hairy Strings That Grow on My Carrots?

The white strings are actually roots. Carrots that grow these roots are safe to eat, although the roots are unpleasant to eat. Peel the carrot or scrub with a vegetable brush to remove the roots.

Can I Plant Sprouted Carrots in My Garden?

You can, although it’s easier to grow carrots from seeds. Plant the carrot top with the green sprouts sticking out of the ground. In about a month, white flowers will appear and later dry out to reveal seeds. You then plant the seeds to get carrots.

How Can I Make Carrots Last Longer?

According to the University of Otago and the charity Love Food Hate Waste, carrots last longest when they are stored in airtight plastic containers or resealable plastic bags that have been lined with paper towels. These containers or bags then need to be placed in the refrigerator.


The Least You Need to Know

Yes, you can eat carrots that have sprouted, although they may not taste as good as unsprouted carrots.

You can also eat carrots that have gone limp, gone white, and are bendable.

Those kinds of carrots are better eaten cooked than eaten raw.

You should never eat carrots that have gone mushy, slimy, moldy, or turned black.