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Ingredients

What’s That White Scuzz on My Baby Carrots?

The white blush that forms on baby carrots is safe to eat . . . but you’re better off with regular carrots. 
By Published Oct. 4, 2022

Not all babies are cute. 

The bagged baby carrots you buy in the grocery store, for instance, are—dare I say?—hideous. And they’re not even “babies”; these orange nubs are processed pieces from larger carrots that were likely too mangled or misshapen to sell. To make the situation even uglier, the mini carrot torpedoes are washed in a chlorinated solution to kill bacteria before they are condemned to their cellophane prisons. Yum!

A full-size carrot being portioned into baby carrots
Baby carrots aren't actually babies; they are cut from larger carrots.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Sometimes when that hummus craving hits hard and you reflexively reach for the bag of baby carrots, you find them covered with what extremely erudite individuals call “white scuzz.” Are the scuzz-y carrots safe to eat?

Yes, the white blush that forms on some baby carrots—call it carrot dandruff if you like—is safe to eat. The scuzz of which we speak is the result of the carrots’ surface drying out. Regular, mature carrots have a natural protective coating (as do most fruits and vegetables) that helps them retain moisture. But since this coating is removed when the big carrots are shaved down into small carrot pieces, baby carrots lose more moisture than adult carrots. 

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Dear reader, things can get even worse. To combat moisture loss, some manufacturers add extra water to the bagged carrots; in the sealed bag, this can turn the baby carrots slimy. If this happens to you, rinse or briefly boil the babes in water to remove the slick slime before eating them.

Or you can do what I do and simply avoid baby carrots and instead buy whole mature carrots, peel them, and cut them into sticks. Because there’s nothing cute—or redeeming at all, really—about baby carrots.