Carrots are fantastic root vegetables to cook in your daily meal. It is tasty to eat with weight-loss impacts and health benefits such as cancer prevention, eyesight improvement, and lower cholesterol level.
As a home cook, I love having carrots in my fridge as I can use them as a side dish, main dish, or even dessert.
When buying fresh vegetables, you never know what you’re getting. They might look bright and tasty outside, but they can have awful taste inside.
I have bought carrots many times, but they don’t taste similar to each other. Sometimes, carrots taste like soap or bitter.
So, why do they have such chemical taste, and how to avoid buying them?Let’s find out your answer!
What Do Carrots Taste Like?
Before knowing how carrots taste like chemicals, we should know how a fresh and tasty carrot tastes. But did you know carrots have more than one type, and they can have slight differences in flavors as well?
Generally, raw carrots have a distinguishing combination of sweet, earthy, fruity, and bitter flavors. You can find the sweet taste in the center, lower part of the carrot, while the bitter taste is mostly at the upper and outer part.
Since the 17th Century, orange carrots were so popular that they have become the “ordinary carrots” that we often eat today.
Orange carrots obtain four times the recommended dose of vitamin A and large amounts of beta-carotene. This kind of carrots has a sour, sweet, earthy taste that can be used both raw and cooked.
You can serve them as a dipping snack, ingredient in salads and coleslaw, or as part of main dishes, such as spicy cabbage, potatoes, and carrots.
When compared to orange carrots, red carrots don’t have much difference in taste. The color difference is due to lycopene, a heralded antioxidant found in tomatoes.
Lycopene is great for your health, which contains antioxidants, prevents cancer, relieves nerve pain, improves eyesight, and benefits the brain.
You can combine red carrots with eye-catching vegetables for recipes like creamy carrot soup. You can also take advantage of their vibrant color and healthy lycopene by baking, stewing, or using it as a dessert.
White carrots are usually yellow or cream-colored on the outside. This vegetable is sweeter than the orange, red, and purple carrots.
These carrots have a mild taste and have almost no earthy smell that other carrots typically have. You can grill or put a little butter and sugar in a saucepan for enhancing their sweetness.
Although purple carrots might look strange at first, their inside is completely orange and can often be detected on close inspection.
Purple carrots have a deep sweet taste, sometimes accompanied by a peppery flavor.
However, this spicy flavor is often subtle and not always noticeable. Purple carrots are delicious and can be eaten raw, chopped in salads, or carrot soups.
Why Do Carrots Taste Like Soap?
Different carrots can have different tastes. However, instead of sweetness, you might find that they can taste bitter and soapy as well.
The reason for their strange taste is the high concentration of volatile compounds, i.e., terpenoids. This compound is the main source of what makes carrot taste uniquely. That’s why in normal carrots, you can still feel the bitterness but not too strong.
This high concentration of terpenoids can be caused by a high-temperature environment, premature carrots, or poor storage conditions. High-Temperature Environment
Since carrots are cool-season vegetables, their best-growing conditions are from 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the temperature goes above 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the growing season, the carrots will start to taste bitter. Normally, carrots will contain sugar, giving them a sweet characteristic, while the terpenoid gives a distinct carrot flavor.
If the carrot is grown at a higher temperature, the carrot’s sugar might not form, or the terpenoid in carrots might increase, resulting in a bitter taste.
When pulling premature carrots off the ground, they can have a bitter or soapy taste. Since terpenoids form before the sugar formation in carrots, when you buy baby carrots when they’re young, they may not have enough sugar to balance the bitter taste.
I recommend that you choose carrots that are 1/2 inch in diameter to make sure they are mature. Most carrots will mature within 60 to 70 days after planting.
Poor Storage Condition
You must properly store carrots after purchase to maintain their freshness. It is best to store the carrots in the refrigerator drawer, avoiding having contact with apples and pears. This is because the release of ethylene gas from these fruits can cause the carrots to taste bitter.
So, are bitter carrots safe to eat? Although terpenoid has a strange soapy taste, this compound is natural and necessary to the carrot growth. Therefore, it is completely safe for you to eat these kinds of carrots.
How To Pick The Best Carrots?
Now that you know the answer to your question, “ Why are my carrots bitter?”, you might want to know how to pick tasty, sweet, and earthy carrots. As I have had my experiences with carrots in many recipes, let me show you some carrot tips.
When selecting carrots, you would want to go for larger carrots, which indicate maturity and sweetness.
Pigmentation is also a sign of the freshness of carrots. When looking at the outside, you should carefully inspect if the carrots are highly pigmented or mixed with other colors.
You can also spot the freshness of carrots through the green color of the leaves on top. Wilted leaves might be a sign of old carrots, and it’s advisable for you to always avoid them when going to the market.
1. What Goes Well With Carrots?
Carrots are easy to cook and combine with other vegetables. You can enrich your recipes with carrots and a wide range of ingredients such as sweet potatoes, thyme, apricot, spinach, lettuce, and cream cheese.
2. How To Store Carrots?
You can store carrots with these simple steps:
- Cut off the leaf. The reason is carrots lose moisture extremely fast through the leaves on top. Therefore, you can use a knife and cut off the top as soon as possible.
- Then, you can place the carrots in an unsealed plastic bag so the carrots don’t collect the moisture inside.
- Put carrots in a cool place such as a refrigerator. They should also be separated from the fruits and release ethylene gas.
Carrots are amazing vegetables that benefit our health and our dishes’ flavors. There are many ways to cook carrots, such as toasting, glazing, sauteing, and baking.
As carrots are fresh vegetables, their flavors are not always consistent. Similar to breads smelling like alcohol, sometimes carrots can be sweet, bitter, or even soapy.
Understanding why carrots taste like soap, you have a better knowledge of how to choose a good tasty carrot that is most suitable for your recipes.