Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by Practical Cooks
The short answer is yes. Most carrots will stay in good shape for a few weeks past the official expiration date. The date is there to let you know when they will be at their peak of flavor and nutritional value. But it doesn’t mean they’ve gone bad.
As for actually going bad, carrots have a pretty long shelf life, but they will eventually go bad or rotten. The life of a carrot will be different depending on the carrot.
Let’s look at the different types of carrots and when they are likely to be past good:
- Baby carrots last about 3 weeks in the refrigerator
- Full-size carrots last for about 4-5 weeks in the refrigerator
- Cooked carrots of any type will last 3-5 days
- Unrefrigerated carrots will last 3-5 days if stored in a cool, dry place. Do not put them in plastic bags or near any other produce.
How Do You Know If Carrots Are Bad?
If you’re not sure if your carrots are safe to eat, here are some guidelines. If your carrot has one or more of these things, toss them and buy a new bag.
Moisture and air work together with bacteria to break down the cell walls of the carrot. If it is slimy, bacteria have entered the carrot and it must go.
2. Dark Spots or Lines
The dark spots or lines are signs of leaf blight or black root rot. Thinner dark lines are a sign of crown rot. Some people cut off this discoloration, but it’s not a good idea.
You don’t know how far the bacteria has spread. Better to throw them away.
Mushy is similar to slimy in that, moisture and bacteria have teamed up to attack the structure of the carrot.
4. Bad Smell
This is always the first sign that something is wrong. If you open the package and are hit with a whiff of foulness, just throw out the whole bag.
Carrots will usually get the white fuzzy mold. It cannot be washed off or cut off. Sadly, they can only be thrown out.
Can I Freeze Carrots?
Yes. carrots freeze very well.
If you want your frozen carrots to keep their fresh taste in the freezer for up to a year, follow the steps below.
1. Rinse and peel the carrots.
2. Carefully place them into a pot of boiling water and let them sit for 3-5 minutes. This is called “blanching“, it will help them keep their fresh taste and firm texture.
3. Soak the carrots in ice water for 3-5 minutes.
4. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel.
5. Once the carrots are dry, place them in a sealable freezer bag and label with the date.
How Do You Thaw Frozen Carrots?
When you are ready to eat your carrots, move the bag from the freezer to the fridge the night before you are going to use them. They should be good to go by mid-afternoon the next day, at the latest.
If you don’t have that long, you can place the carrots in a bowl of cool water. Change the water every half hour until they are thawed.
What Is That White Stuff On My Carrots?
Sometimes you’ll see a white sheen on carrots, especially the baby variety. It’s called”white blush” or ” carrot blush.” The blush is a film caused by dehydration.
When the carrot is exposed to air, it suffers moisture loss. This causes the white, cracked film. Similar to when our hands get dry and cracked in the cold winter air.
But don’t worry, the carrot is not rotten and is perfectly fine to eat. They will perk back up when cooked. If you are using them as a snack, just get some dipping sauce.
What Can You Do If You Have A “Floppy” Carrot?
You go in the refrigerator and reach for your nice, crisp carrots. Only to find they’ve gone floppy, bendy, rubbery. The horror! The good news is, a floppy carrot is simply a dehydrated carrot.
As long as they aren’t moldy, black, or show other signs of rot, the floppy carrot can be saved. Carrots are 85% to 95% water, so if they are dehydrated, simply drop them in a tall glass of water or water-filled container for about 5 minutes.
The trick gained popularity when an Australian woman made a TikTok illustrating the hydration hack. The video has over 1.1 million views and thousands of folks have commented that it actually works!
What Are The Weird Hairs On Your Carrots? Are They Safe To Eat?
We’ve all seen them. Those stringy, white hairs that flow from our carrots. We know in our hearts that it’s not actual hair because we end up just eating the carrot. But what exactly are they?
It turns out that the “hairs” are tiny roots that have come to the surface in search of moisture. They are harmless and quite safe to eat.
If they bother you, simply take a scrub brush to them and they will easily fall away.
What Can You Do With Carrots That May Not Have Much Life Left?
If you have carrots that you think may be on the way out before you can use them in your usual recipes, here are some ideas on tasty ways to use them before they expire:
- carrot cake
- carrot salad
- pickled carrots
- carrot soup
- omlettes or fritattas
- grate them into burgers or meatloaf
- mash them like potatoes
Enjoy those delicious, nutritious carrots!