A few days ago, the Washington Post ran a story on the origin of baby carrots. Contrary to popular perception, those little orange nubs that come ready to eat in portable plastic bags aren’t juvenile versions of Bugs Bunny’s preferred snack. Baby carrots, it turns out, are actually larger carrots that have been peeled, cut and polished into two-bite chunks. Who knew?
I must admit that I’m not a fan of baby carrots. When my daughters were younger I used to buy them from time to time, usually for their lunches. But inevitably, a portion of each bag would go to waste. The stragglers would dry out and develop a kid-displeasing whitish coating. Or they would become mushy and even a little slimy, indicating spoilage.
I also think baby carrots are less flavorful than their larger cousins. I suspect this is due to the fact that growers, seeking to appeal to Americans’ potent sweet tooth, have turned to carrots whose sugar content has been boosted through selective breeding practices. The additional sugar masks other, more traditional flavors, or it displaces them altogether.