Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fun Size Carrots

I recently read an email that is going around about a shocking report on the production of cocktail carrots. Some of it is true, other parts are stretched just a bit.

In talking to people, I  was surprised how many were unaware of how these cocktail carrots, in their convenient and "cute" size, actually came about and how they are commonly prepared.

For those who missed the memo, these mini carrots- great for small fingers to hold and that make perfect appetizers to go in a vegetable party tray- are larger carrots that are mechanically peeled and shaped into uniform sizes. The process, I suppose, is similar to a rock tumbling function.

The carrots are dipped in a water and chlorine solution (think swimming pool) to preserve their freshness and prevent microbes from growing. (I hate to break it to you, but many ready to eat veggies are processed the same way.) They are then rinsed in drinking water to remove residue. In the final stage of production, carrots are packaged in plastic bags and shipped to stores for consumer purchase.

Cocktail carrots were originally made from deformed carrots that couldn't be sold along with their well-formed counter parts, but now growers have bred carrot varieties especially for the "grab and go" convenience. These new breeds are higher in sugar content (to appeal to childrens' sweet taste buds) and have the bright orange color bred in for visual appeal as well.

Think about it...we all know what non-preserved vegetables look like after even a few days of being cut and peeled-even when stored in plastic zipper bags in the refrigerator, so it makes sense that some sort of preservative has to be provided for these pre-cut million dollar "babies" of the grocer's vegetable aisle.

You can read the Snopes report here.  Then decide for yourself if buying convenience is the best option for your family.

There's your Thursday food for thought. :)

1 comment:

  1. Isn't that amazing? I'd read that "baby carrots" were really just big carrots cut down to size. They are awfully cute though.