Contrary to their name, baby carrots aren't the juvenile version of Bugs Bunny's favorite vegetable. The product comes from fully-grown carrots that have been processed into cute, bite-sized shapes. But snackability isn't the only thing distinguishing the smaller model from the classic vegetable. As anyone who's reached into a slimy bag of baby carrots knows, downsized carrots come with some unintended consequences.
According to Dollar Shave Club, baby carrots tend to be wetter than most veggies in the produce section. This is because they're prone to dehydration, so water is added to them during the processing and packaging stages. Producers give baby carrots their stubby shape by chopping up carrots that aren't attractive enough to sell whole and tossing them into a polishing drum. Water that's added to the drum gives them their smooth, shiny appearance.
This accounts for some of a baby carrot's moisture, but not all of it. The bags they come in contain supplemental water to keep the miniature veggies from drying out. Full-sized carrots and other vegetables rely on their natural skins to retain moisture. To make baby carrots, the outer layer has to be shaved away, so there's nothing keeping the water locked inside. A splash of water inside each bag gives the carrots the crisp, fresh taste people expect from their produce.
Baby carrots aren't immune to drying out—especially if they've been sitting in an open bag or on your kitchen counter for a while. The white film that forms on the product is called carrot blush, and it's a normal sign of dehydration. The rumor that the white stuff is really chlorine is false, though it is true that baby carrots are processed with a minimal (and safe) amount of the chemical. You can read more about the history of the snack food here.
[h/t Dollar Shave Club]
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