Upon reading my last blog post, a good friend responded in email saying “YO! Day three shouldn’t be that hard …. It’s a carrot! Pull out that orange crayon and have at it.” And she’s right, about one thing. My favorite food of late is carrots. I can’t seem to get enough of them, eating them by the bagful and at one point even consuming to the point that my skin began to turn a certain shade of orange.
But its not just “any” carrot. I’ve become quite particular about my favorite crunchy vegetable, settling for nothing less than a “Mini Peeled Carrot,” preferably organic. You may be wondering why such a narrowing of the many carrot options available to me? Well, first, I like the convenience of a bag of washed and peeled, ready-to-eat carrots. They are good at home, at work, or on the go. Second, I choose the mini peeled variety, because of their flavor and texture.
Don’t be fooled by impostors, “baby carrots” are not the same as “mini carrots.” Even though they are similar in shape and color. The flavor and the texture is significantly different. And here’s why:
Mini carrots are grown to be mini, often picked before they are fully matured to capture the concentrated flavor and sweetness. Baby carrots, however, are created from unsaleable mature carrots. Carrot growers use machinery to cut down carrots that are knotty, twisted, and unsaleable. The process was created in the late ’80s by a farmer who wanted to be able to make the most of his full carrot crop, knowing that even though they were unsaleable as whole carrots, the deformed carrots were just as edible. And so while Baby carrots are equally delicious as full grown carrots, they also have a tendency for woody centers which in my opinion makes them less edible.
I prefer the organic variety because, like most of our fruits and vegetables, they are washed with a USDA approved blend of organic cleaners versus bleach, to clean them of bacteria and pesticides. Granted the amount of bleach used to wash non-organic carrots is less than that in our tap water, but it still tends to wash away the carrot flavor.
How can you be sure you are getting mini carrots? Its tricky, because some baby carrots are actually mini carrots. And while most true baby carrot labels will read “peeled and cut,” some don’t. So the best way to check is to look at the carrots. If you can see the shoulder and the scar from the heads being lopped off, then you’ve got mini carrots. No shoulder and scars? Baby carrots.