Originating from ancient Persia, carrots come in many colors and have several nutritional benefits. They can be eaten raw or cooked and are used in many dishes. But do they spoil? If so, how long does it take?
Carrots can, indeed, spoil like any other vegetable. Carrots generally stay fresh for 3-5 days if left on the counter. Placing them in the fridge extends their shelf life for 4-5 weeks, or 1 week if they’re chopped or sliced. Freezing carrots will keep them fresh for 1-2 years, regardless if they’re whole or chopped. While they can spoil quickly due to moisture, they have a tough layer of skin that gives them better protection than other soft-skinned vegetables like tomatoes.
Say you purchased a bunch of carrots but have used them for your recipe and have some leftover. If you’re curious about the shelf life of carrots, read on.
Do Carrots Go Bad? How Long Do Carrots Last?
Since carrots don’t have a ‘Use by’ date, the purchase date is the first day you should use. Are they best left out or in the freezer? Let’s find out.
How Long Do Carrots Last If They’re Out?
Fresh: Fresh carrots last up to 3-5 days if left on the counter and away from heat and moisture. This is due to their tough exterior that prevents moisture from reaching its insides. Any heat or moisture will accelerate spoiling so if they’re around the stove or oven, they may last fewer days.
Baby carrots: There is a difference between baby-cut carrots and baby carrots. Baby-cut carrots are essentially carrot pulp shaped into bite-sized pieces. Without their skin, these will only last 24 hours if kept on a counter or in a cupboard, as they will be directly exposed to the elements..
Sliced / Chopped / Cooked: Sliced or chopped carrots should not be left out for more than 1 day. They have a much shorter life span if left out, as their skin has been removed and are more vulnerable to mold and heat.
What Is A Carrot’s Fridge Life?
Fresh: Raw carrots will last 4-5 weeks when kept in the fridge and away from heat and moisture. They must be able to breathe to extend their fridge life, as keeping them without air will cause them to spoil and become floppy.
Baby Carrots: Baby carrots will stay fresh for about 2-3 weeks in the fridge, a little less than fresh carrots. This is due to the baby carrots being without the protective skin found in raw carrots.
Sliced / Chopped / Cooked: Cooked carrots will only last 1 week in the fridge since cooking breaks down their exterior.
How Long Do Carrots Last In The Freezer?
Fresh: Fresh carrots can be kept in the freezer up to 1 year if they are prepared beforehand. Raw carrots will lose their texture and nutrients if left in the freezer.
Baby Carrots: Baby carrots can keep their freshness for 1 year but can be kept for much longer and still be safe to eat.
Sliced / Chopped / Cooked: Freezing sliced or chopped carrots will extend their life to 1-2 years. They can be left in the freezer indefinitely but will begin to lose most of their nutrients and taste after 1 year.
A freezer is a carrot’s best friend, whether fresh or chopped. Freezing carrots is the best way to extend a carrot’s freshness for the long run.
How Do You Tell If Your Carrots Are Rotten?
Odor: The best way to determine if your carrots have gone bad is its smell. Fresh carrots should give off very faint or no odor. Rotten carrots emit a strong, rancid smell. If you smell a strong, sour odor, they’ve spoiled and should be thrown out.
White Blush: Check for tiny, white dots. These are called ‘white blush’ and signal the presence of mold. Quantity matters with white blush. If there’s only a few spots, they’re still okay to eat. Simply wash them before cooking or consuming. Several dots covering a large portion of the carrot is a sure sign that they’re rotten.
Black Mold: Black mold is pretty recognizable among vegetables. Since carrots are dense, mold has a harder time reaching a carrot’s pulp. For this reason, portions of carrots with black dots can be cut off and still be edible. If black mold is found growing on them, however, it’s no longer safe and should be tossed.
Texture: The texture will tell if carrots have lost their moisture. Floppy or slightly limp carrots are still safe to eat and can be salvaged, but slimy and soft carrots have turned rotten and must be thrown out.
How Do You Store Carrots?
Fresh: If you’ll be using them within 5 days, place them in the pantry or a dark, cool place. Anything longer than 5 days will require refrigeration. Brush them and cut the stem before storing in the fridge.
The best way to store carrots in the fridge is to wrap a damp paper towel around the carrots and place them in the fridge. The moisture will allow the carrots to last longer. Also, it’s best to let them breathe in a paper bag with holes or an open plastic bag.
Baby Carrots: Baby Carrots should be refrigerated or frozen for best quality and fridge life. They are best kept wrapped in aluminum foil or in an airtight container to prevent moisture from ruining the carrots.
Sliced / Chopped / Cooked: Chopped or sliced carrots should be kept in the fridge or freezer and sealed in an airtight container.
Should You Freeze Carrots?
Absolutely! Freezing carrots is a very effective way of storing carrots for an extended period of time. They will keep their freshness for over a year but will remain safe to eat indefinitely. Freezing carrots is ideal if you have sliced or chopped carrots. Even baby carrots can last up to a year. Fresh carrots can be frozen but must be blanched first. The easiest way to do this would be boil raw carrots for 2-3 minutes and immediately place them in ice water. Pat them to dry and stick them in a freezer bag.
How Do You Thaw Carrots?
Thaw in Fridge: Take frozen carrots down and leave them in the refrigerator overnight. They will be ready to eat the following day and should stay fresh for a few days.
Thaw in Stove: Place frozen carrots in a pan on low heat. Gradually raise the temperature until they’ve fully thawed. If you’ll be boiling or sauteing them, this method is the quickest.
Frequently Asked Questions About A Carrot’s Shelf Life
My carrot is floppy. Is it safe to eat? If it’s not slimy or has black spots on its skin, it’s safe to eat. Leave the carrot in cold water for up to 5 hours to return to a firm texture.
What’s the best way to extend raw carrot fridge life? Place the raw carrots in a bowl of water in the fridge. The water will keep the carrots fresh for a month in the fridge.
Why do my fresh vegetables spoil faster with carrots? Carrots release ethylene gas, which speed up the ripening and rotting of fruits and vegetables. They should be kept away from other vegetables so the gas does not accelerate the rotting process.
Now that you know the best way to store carrots, you’ll never have to worry about rotten carrots again! Always remember to check for texture, smell, and mold before consuming carrots in any form.