Carrots are often left in the bag they came in from the grocery store. Eventually, they’ll start sprouting, and moisture builds up in the bag. But it’s important to know when it’s time to toss them out. But how do you tell if carrots are bad?
The best ways to tell that carrots have gone bad is when they smell, have changed color from orange to brown or black, or have turned mushy. If you notice that they have any of these signs or have mold growing on them, you should throw them out because they are no longer safe to use or eat.
And just because they’ve started sprouting doesn’t mean they’re bad or unusable. Here are a few signs that your carrots are past their prime and no longer fresh.
How To Tell When Carrots Are Bad
They Are Slimy
You should avoid eating or cooking with slimy carrots. You might think that it’s fine to wash them off, but this can lead to someone getting sick when consumed.
The slime is caused by excess moisture, bacteria, and decomposing carrot. This often occurs when you leave carrots in a plastic bag where excess moisture builds up, which helps the rotting process.
Many carrots, especially baby carrots, are treated with chlorinated water, which helps slow down spoilage, but when these other conditions are present, it no longer matters.
They Are Turning White
Your carrots will turn white when dehydrated, also known as “white blush.”
As the carrots lose moisture, the cells in them start to break down, as do the carotenoids (beta-carotene) that give them their orange color.
If your whole carrots have just started to turn white, and if it’s not the result of mold, they may still be good to use. Simply peel or cut off the white portions and use them in cooked dishes.
Baby carrots are notorious for having white cracks and spots the older they are and should be fine to consume raw.
If you aren’t comfortable eating carrots with white spots or patches, you should toss them in the garbage or compost.
They Are Turning Black
On the other hand, when carrots turn black, it’s a sign that they’ve gone bad, and you should get rid of them.
Carrots turn black when they are exposed to oxygen for too long and start decomposing. This can happen when they are left in the fridge for too long or not properly stored.
If you see any black spots or sections on your carrots, it’s best to throw them all out.
They Are Soft, Soggy, And Mushy
A soft carrot is not always a bad carrot. It simply has started to dehydrate and is unable to hold its form. You may be able to help them firm up by placing them in a bowl of cold water for 20 minutes.
However, once they become soggy or mushy, there is no saving them, and they should be discarded. This means they are rotting, loaded with spoilage bacteria, and unsafe to consume raw or cooked.
There Are Brown Spots
Brown spots on carrots could be the result of some stuck dirt or bruising. A bruised carrot isn’t always bad unless it is old and starting to decompose. If you press your finger on the brown spot, and it is mushy, throw the whole thing out.
You should take care of any questionable spots immediately to avoid spoiling them all. Use the carrot the same day, and do not freeze for later.
Freezing produce close to spoiling is never a good idea, as it could lead to food poisoning when you thaw them and get around to using them.
They Smell Bad
And, of course, a big sign that your carrots have gone bad is when they smell. Bad carrots smell like rotting vegetable matter.
It’s quite a foul smell that most people will find off-putting.
Even if it looks like only a few carrots are bad, it’s better to get rid of the bunch instead of taking the risk of getting you or someone else sick.
There Is Mold
Mold is always a sign that carrots should be tossed. This may be in the form of black spots or patches of fuzzy mold.
Moisture, heat generated by decomposing carrots, and the vegetable itself are the perfect setup for molds to thrive. While the refrigerator temperature may slow them down, it won’t stop them completely.
After throwing them out, you should check nearby produce for signs of mold and consider chucking them too. Mold spores are light and can travel throughout your fridge as it’s opened and closed.
What Do Bad Carrots Look Like?
A fresh carrot should look firm, crisp, and vibrant. The color should be a deep orange, and they should not have any brown spots or bruising.
A bad carrot will be the complete opposite, its color slowly changing to brown or black, and eventually becomes mushy and may grow mold.
Here are a few picture comparisons of good carrots and bad carrots to give you some examples.
Bad Carrot FAQs
Are Carrots Ok To Eat If They Are Slimy?
No, you should not eat carrots if they are slimy. This is a sign that they have gone bad and are starting to decompose. They may also have invisible bacteria growing on them that could make you sick.
I Ate Slimy Carrots. Will I Get Sick?
You may get food poisoning from eating bad slimy carrots. If you have any symptoms, you should see a doctor.
Are Carrots Bad When They Turn White?
No, carrots that are turning white may just indicate that they are dehydrated. You should plan to use them up quickly before they go bad.
Can You Eat Soft Carrots?
Yes, you can eat soft carrots, as long as they are not mushy and have not gone bad yet.
Do Baby Carrots Go Bad?
Yes, baby carrots go bad but may last longer than whole carrots when stored correctly. And they are often treated with a chlorine solution to help prevent them from rotting.