Why Do Some Baby Carrots Taste Weird? (Revealed!)

Why do some baby carrots taste bitter, and soapy instead of being pleasantly sweet? Have you ever wondered what could be the cause behind the strange flavors?

The purpose of my post is to explain what things can negatively affect the taste of baby carrots.

The reasons for the weird taste of baby carrots are essential oils called terpenoids, which greatly influence the taste of the carrot. 
The amount of terpenoids in baby carrots and the bitter, soapy taste can be caused by the following factors:

• The sugar and terpenoid content varies depending on the carrot breed.
• Carrots are also rich in carotenoids, which taste bitter but are very healthy for us.

• Environmental stress generated by poor growing conditions and the presence of various pathogens and pests result in the appearance of bitter substances. Improper growing conditions, such as too high temperatures, cause an increase in the amount of terpenoids in carrots.

• Due to improper storage, the sugar content of carrots breaks down, so other flavors are better expressed. Carrots are sensitive to Ethylene gas, which is produced by certain fruits and vegetables. If stored together with plants that produce ethylene, carrots become bitter.

• During the processing of baby carrots, the sugar-rich fleshy outer layer is removed. The inner crusty part that remains for consumption is no longer as tasty as the removed outer layer.

This is why it can happen that baby carrots sometimes have a strange taste, despite the fact that the manufacturing companies try to work with carrot breeds with beneficial properties.

What exactly are baby carrots?

Baby carrots are usually not small, immature carrots, although there are carrots that have been bred to be small.

These baby-cut carrots are produced from mature, large carrots. They are shaped and cut to size. In this way, even carrots with ugly shapes become salable.

Their production began in the 1980s when a farmer shaped imperfect carrots so he could sell them. Baby-cut carrots shaped in this way became popular and their production has since been industrialized.


Fully grown, regular-sized carrots are cut into approximately 5cm/2-inch pieces. Their outer layer is cut off and then they are polished.

After shaping, baby-cut carrots are disinfected in a weak chlorine solution. This food safety step is necessary to protect the product against pathogens, such as E. coli and salmonella bacteria.

Although the concentration of chlorine in this solution is not higher than in tap water, the baby carrots are rinsed with clean water before packaging. This disinfection process is performed on all packaged, fresh, and frozen vegetables.

Some manufacturers use natural disinfectants instead of chlorine to treat vegetables. These are environmentally friendly materials that are not harmful to health and decompose without residue. Baby carrots are sold in plastic bags, which contain moisture to prevent the product from drying out.

Why do baby carrots taste bitter?

There are many reasons for the bitter taste of carrots.

The taste mainly depends on the carrot breed, but bitterness can also be caused by poor cultivation and storage conditions. In the case of baby carrots, the production process also affects their taste.


Most of the sugar naturally present in carrots is in the outer part, which is removed from baby-cut carrots. However, the inner crusty part is not so tasty. Because the outer protective layer is cut off, baby carrots are more susceptible to contamination, drying out, and absorbing various foreign odors and flavors.

How do growing conditions affect the taste of carrots?

As a result of high environmental stress, terpenes are produced in carrots. Terpenes are compounds with a strong, bitter taste. Alpha- and beta-carotenes, which are present in large quantities in carrots, are also among the bitter-tasting terpenes.

The bitter taste in carrots can be caused by excessive sunlight, insufficient moisture, and acidic soil, but pests, fungi, and bacteria can also be responsible. The production of bitter-tasting terpenes is the carrot’s natural defense mechanism against pathogens.

In addition, the bitter taste of carrots can also be caused by sowing and harvesting at the wrong time. Old or overripe carrots can also be bitter.

Carrots in the soil

The effect of inappropriate storage conditions on the taste of carrots

Carrots are very sensitive to a gas called ethylene, which is produced during the ripening of many vegetables and fruits.

Due to the effect of ethylene, the sugar content of the carrot begins to deteriorate, which leads to a deterioration of its taste. Bitter-tasting compounds may appear in it within a few days.


Bananas, apples, pears, avocados, peaches, kiwis, melons, plums, peppers, and tomatoes are among the fruits and vegetables that develop ethylene gas during their ripening.

When storing carrots at home and in supermarkets, it would be worthwhile to take care not to store them together with fruits and vegetables that develop ethylene. Ethylene is produced regardless of whether fruits and vegetables are stored in the refrigerator or not.

While on the subject of storing vegetables properly, you may wish to read my article on why some foods spoil faster than others.

Why do baby carrots turn white?

There are two possible reasons why baby carrots turn white, according to the McGill Office for Science and Society. One reason is dehydration. Once their outer layer is peeled off, they dry out more easily than regular carrots.

Another possible cause of baby carrots turning white is the abrasion of the outer surface, which also results from the removal of the outer layer of the carrots.

This white blush that appears on baby carrots is not at all toxic and harmful to health, baby carrots that have turned white are safe to eat.


Some people believe that the white blush on the surface of baby carrots is the result of the chlorine bath used to disinfect them before packaging. This is not the case, as the weak chlorine solution does not leave a residue on the surface of the vegetables, which are also rinsed with clean water.

A bunch of carrots

Why do baby carrots get slimy?

Slimy baby carrots mean they have started to spoil and are no longer suitable for consumption.

Pathogens involved in the decomposition process pose a health risk, so slimy vegetables should not be eaten under any circumstances, but should be thrown away.

Because the outer protective layer of baby carrots is removed during production, they become more susceptible to spoilage. You can slow down the deterioration process of carrots by removing them from their plastic bag, rinsing them, wiping them dry, and storing them in a closed container in the refrigerator.

Final thoughts

So, the weird, bitter, or soapy taste of baby carrots is caused by the terpenoid content. The taste of carrots is influenced to the greatest extent by their breed. The appearance of bitter flavors can also be caused by improper growing, harvesting, processing, and storage conditions of carrots.

Baby carrots are not young, small carrots. They are made from fully grown, mature carrots. The outer layer is completely removed from them, along with the sweet flavors contained therein.


In my opinion, fresh, organic carrots purchased from local farmers are the best choice, regardless of their shape and size.

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