Carrots have so many uses, and the versatile vegetable is a staple in most homes. From eating them raw in dishes like salads to having them as an ingredient in a plethora of cooked foods, the last thing you want is to open your fridge only to find they’ve spoiled.
With carrots being so wet and retaining a lot of moisture, they are susceptible to mold.
You’ll likely see water spots on the bag they came in.
This article will discuss how carrots get mold and the best ways to prevent it, including how to store them so they don’t go bad.
Causes of Mold on Carrots
Moisture is a leading cause of mold on carrots, and this can start when the vegetable is still in the ground. If the soil becomes wet, that can penetrate the carrot, stay with it and lead to mold.
White mold is a common type seen on carrots. Besides starting when the vegetable is in the soil, it also can occur when carrots are stored.
In some cases, the mold will form on the crown of the carrot.
If the mold isn’t white, it will be a black or gray color and can be seen on the body of the carrot.
You know when carrots go bad because they will be slimy, soft, smell bad and have spots.
Don’t place them in an area prone to heat and don’t keep them out of the fridge for more than two hours. Otherwise mold and bacteria can form.
Keeping them in the fridge in their original plastic bag can lead to mold, too. They will start to develop water in a process known as sweating.
This is similar to condensation which can appear, and once that happens, the buildup can cause mold.
This is why properly storing carrots is so important. Don’t wash them before putting them away, as the added water can cause the carrot to deteriorate quicker and grow mold.
Here are steps you can take to help preserve your carrots longer and make sure mold doesn’t form:
- After taking them out of plastic, place loose in the fridge or wrap in a paper towel
- If you do use a plastic bag, make sure it has holes to prevent condensation and moisture from staying inside
- Put your carrots in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag
- Keep them away from other fruits and vegetables
- Before storing, cut off any green leaves at the top. These contain extra moisture which won’t be good for the carrot.
- Another option is to freeze them. This will cause them to last much longer. Use a vacuum-sealed bag or any bag with a good seal made for freezing.
If you notice your carrots begin to shrivel, run under water. This will help restore them to their hardened state.
Baby Carrots vs Fully-Grown Carrots
There are some differences in how long each type of carrot will last. Given baby carrots have the skin removed and contain more moisture, they will rot or grow mold quicker.
It is safe to store baby carrots in a plastic bag.
If your baby carrots get slimy, do not eat and discard right away. It means they have spoiled, and eating one could make you sick.
Full-length carrots with the skin will last longer and are easier to store. They will have less moisture and excess water.
You should not store fully-grown carrots in a plastic bag.
How Long do Carrots Last?
Unpeeled carrots can last 3-5 weeks when stored properly in a fridge. Cut or peeled carrots will last 2-3 weeks.
Not properly storing carrots will cause them to go bad quicker.
If you keep them outside of a fridge in a pantry or cool place in your basement, they will last about a week. While a bit unconventional, there are ways to preserve them longer outside of a fridge too.
You can do this by placing them in leaves, sawdust or moist sand and putting that in a closed bucket. Keep them in your basement and they can last about 6 months.
This mimics their natural environment, so the carrots will last a long time. Definitely don’t wash them before placing them in a storage area for the long-term.
They should be washed once you’re ready to take them out and use.
Carrots bought in a store will last longer than ones you grow yourself. This is because store-bought ones have the green part removed so moisture doesn’t get sucked away while ones from a personal garden do not have the top removed.
We’ve yet to mention cooked carrots. These will last about 5 days in a fridge as long as they are stored in a sealed container.
Is it Safe to Eat a Carrot With Mold?
Unlike many other foods, a carrot with mold can be eaten as long as you cut away the moldy part. Because a carrot is hard and has roots, it is tougher for mold to spread and penetrate throughout the rest of it.
All you need to do is cut about an inch outside the mold, remove that and you can eat what remains. Don’t let the knife touch the mold.
While this is true for full-length carrots, you should be more careful with baby carrots. If they go bad or contain mold, baby carrots will likely be soft, increasing the chances of mold getting on all of it.
Also, given how small a baby carrot is, it might be too difficult to remove just the moldy part.
What Happens If You Eat a Moldy Carrot?
Consuming a small amount of mold likely won’t cause you to get sick. This is especially true if you are healthy whereas people with allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions might feel some effects.
However symptoms are usually temporary. They include:
- Food poisoning
- Stomach aches
If you experience any of these after consuming a moldy carrot, consult a doctor.
Ways to Use Carrots Before They Go Bad
If you are concerned your carrots will go bad before you can finish them, there are several ways they can be used in cooking. As previously mentioned, one good solution is freezing them since they will last a really long time.
But if you want to use right away, you can add them to any number of dishes or bake. Common uses for carrots include:
- Carrot cake or carrot muffins
- Roasted carrots
- Carrot casserole or souffle
There are plenty of other options when it comes to using carrots in recipes and cooking with them.
Be sure you keep a close eye on your carrots once they are in your home. Look for discoloration and other signs of mold or spoilage before using or eating.
The mold can be cut away if you are so inclined but also remember when in doubt, throw it out.
Keep in mind the various ways to safely and properly store them so that they don’t go bad quickly and can last longer for you to enjoy.