Fresh carrots are tops

Sometimes life is strange. Just last week I harangued to Amy, my co-worker, about how I was banning bagged carrots from my kitchen. The tumbled baby carrots, shredded, washed carrots and the crinkle cut coins that look so good in the store had seduced me as a consumer but disappointed me terribly as an eater. Where was the flavour?

My epiphany came when I cleaned and cut up some fresh, organic local carrots from the farmers’ market. One bite and I was reminded that the flavour of a fresh carrot has no comparison. De-lish!

Then, just minutes after I’d made my pronouncement, I got an email from Canada’s reigning salad queen, my friend Renee. I won’t reprint her note in its entirety, but read this excerpt from the Snopes report she sent to me:

“Once the carrots are cut and shaped into cocktail carrots they are dipped in a solution of water and chlorine in order to preserve them (this is the same chlorine used in your pool) since they do not have their skin or natural protective covering, they give them a higher dose of chlorine. You will notice that once you keep these carrots in your refrigerator for a few days, a white covering forms on the carrots, this is the chlorine which resurfaces.”

Yuck! Although the CFIA may deem this preparation to be safe, I see no reason to add chlorine to my family’s diet.

On the positive side (but still eerily coincidental), that day I also read two blogs that featured great carrot recipes:

Peabody’s Carrot Raisin Loaf

Ivonne’s Carrot Salad with Preserved Lemon Juice, Parsley and Thyme

Although I haven’t tried either of them yet, you can be sure that when I do make these two recipes that I’ll be starting with fresh, local carrots that I peel, wash and cut myself!



Note:  If you’re an early riser who lives in the Greater Toronto Area, you can tune in tomorrow to see me on Breakfast Television. I’m going to drop by to give the BT hosts a taste of the latest food frends. Set your PVR!


10 Responses to Fresh carrots are tops

  1. I am not an early riser, but will set my VCR.

    Chlorine in carrots? There goes another snack. Good to know, although it does make me wonder what it takes for the Powers That Be to consider something unsafe for consumption.

  2. danamccauley says:

    Char, I guess the chlorine used on prepared veggies is not considered less safe than the chlorine in our municipal water (but I filter that before I drink it, too). I just wish that treatments such as these were listed on the packages. I know that with the English and French and other nutrition listing rules that there isn’t a lot of room left on Canadian food packages but I’d like access to this type of info regardless.

  3. Rosa says:

    Yuck! I definitely prefer my carrots fresh ;-P!



  4. Deborah says:

    Ewww, I don’t want to be eating chlorine in my carrots! I’ve actually been thinking of planting carrots in the garden next year. I’ve never had carrots straight out of the ground!

  5. danamccauley says:

    I planted carrots this year Deborah and I had bad luck. I planted seeds for some heirloom varieties that didn’t come up well and seed tape for normal carrots that didn’t come up at all. In fact, I had 0% success with all the seed tape I planted.

    I’m going to do some more research on growing carrots and post it as one of my future friday gardening posts. Stat tuned!

  6. Cheryl says:

    Hmm, Dana, I just read the Snopes report you linked to and they do say that even though chlorine is used in processing, the white film is just from the carrot dehydrating, I don’t buy them anymore either (like you, I find they taste uninspired), but I don’t think that film is actually chlorine. Whatever it is, it’s nasty!

    For what it’s worth (perhaps not much), when I lived in Africa in the mid-1990s as a Peace Corps Volunteer, we were advised to soak all our fresh vegetables in chlorinated water to kill any bacteria. We did this for about a month before throwing caution to the wind — it was just too much of a pain.

  7. danamccauley says:

    Thanks for pointing out the white film clarification. I went and read it more carefully and you are right. They do clarify that issue.

    Regardless, once you remove the skin from the carrot, I”m guessing that it is losing a lot of it’s water and air soluble vitamins and that much goodness is lost. Certainly flavour fades.

    As I pointed out above, I have no doubt that a little chlorine is not going to kill me. I’m sure eating chlorine is better than ecoli or listeria bacteria getting into my system. I just don’t see a need to eat processed carrots that offer no taste benefit and add chlorine to my diet. If the bagged carrot products were sensational and convenient, I’d like get over the chlorine issue to be honest. The chlorine news was just fuel for the fire in my case.

  8. bakingobsession says:

    Dana, I totally agree! Fresh organic carrots from the market can’t be beat!
    I didn’t know about chlorine treatment. It’s very interesting… Thanks.

  9. Ivonne says:

    I’m joining your carrot movement, Dana! Down with icky processed carrots. Here’s to the real thing!

  10. calendar 2012…

    […]Fresh carrots are tops « Dana McCauley’s food blog[…]…

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