Can you eat carrots past the expiration date?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat carrots past the expiration date?”, how long do the carrots last, how to tell if the carrots have gone bad, and how to store carrots. 

Can you eat carrots past the expiration date?

Yes, you can eat carrots past the expiration date if there are no visible signs of spoilage. If the expiry refers to carrots that have been rotten, discard the carrots. Eating such carrots will lead to food poisoning. If you want your carrots to last longer, dehydrate them or freeze them after blanching. 

How long do the carrots last?

The following table shows the estimated shelf-life of carrots. If you have sliced the carrots and dumped them in a bowl of cold water, they are expected to last about 6-8 weeks in the fridge. 

If you want to last your carrots for months or at least up to a year, consider purchasing dehydrated carrots or dehydrating them yourself at home. 

In the pantry In the fridge 
Whole carrots3-4 weeks 4-5 weeks 
Baby carrots 1-2 weeks3 weeks 
Cooked carrots 1 week 

If the carrots have been sitting in the pantry for more than 3 days, consider refrigerating them before they start to spoil. When it comes to cooked carrots, it is not recommended you keep them on the counter for more than 2 hours.

Once cooked, allow the carrots to cool as quickly as possible and pack them in a shallow air-tight container for refrigeration within an hour of cooking, ideally. This is in reference to the ‘2-hour rule’ set by the USDA.

It states that no perishable or semi-perishable food product should be kept at temperatures between 40-140F for more than 2 hours. If the surrounding temperatures exceed 90F, the safety window reduces to one hour. 

How to tell if the carrots have gone bad?

In case you do not know, whole carrots have a longer shelf-life than cut, slices, or baby carrots. The spoilage takes over baby carrots rather easily than regular carrots. If you suspect your carrots have gone bad, look for the signs below to confirm your suspicion.

Dried greens

The green tops of carrots suck the moisture out of the carrots and into the environment. This deprives the carrots of all the water that is essential to their crisp texture.  

If it is too late; the greens have withered, and the carrots have gone flabby, what you can do is, boil the carrots, peel and trim them, and use them in stews or soups.

Smell

If the carrots have started to give off a rotten smell, they are beyond saving. Get rid of them as soon as you can. The further the rot, the stinkier they will get. 

Texture 

If the carrots become jiggly with a mealy or rubbery texture, they are not suitable for salads anymore. However, soups and stews are appropriate options to use such carrots.

White spots 

The white blush phenomenon is commonly observed in carrots kept in a drying environment. The white spots occur due to dehydration. Such carrots lose most of their flavor and texture and are pretty much unsalvagable.

Mold 

Growth of black fuzzy mold on carrots is a sign of black root rot and it occurs when the carrots have been attacked with chlamydospores. Although it may be tempting to salvage such carrots by trimming the moldy part, it is an unsafe practice. 

What’s the ideal way to store carrots?

Get rid of the green tops

It is recommended that you cut the green leafy tops off the carrots as it helps the veggies to last longer. If you want to avoid food wastage, you can toss the cut greens in your soups or use them elsewhere in cooking. These greens have a mild taste and won’t overpower your dish so rest easy.

In the pantry 

Ideally, carrots should be kept in a cool, dark, and dry place. A cool pantry or a kitchen cabinet away from the stovetop are viable options in this regard. 

Wherever you keep the carrots, make sure sunlight does not get in the way. Sunlight spoils the veggies by triggering sprouting and loss of moisture. 

In the cellar 

Cellar storage is an ancient method of keeping your veggies safe for months but it works. Fill a wooden box with clean sand and dump your carrots into it. 

Close the box and put it in your cool basement or underground cellar. Stored this way, veggies can be expected to preserve their freshness for up to 6 months.

In the fridge 

To prevent the carrots from drying out, contain them in plastic bags or moist paper towels. Cut or sliced carrots are best stored in a bowl full of ice-cold water. 

Conclusion 

In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat carrots past the expiration date?”, how long do the carrots last, how to tell if the carrots have gone bad, and how to store carrots. 

References 

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