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I've got a bunch of two week old carrots (kept in the fridge), peeled, and they tasted bitter (raw).

Is it normal that carrots turn bitter?

Is there a way to prevent it from happening?

Will the taste improve after cooking? (I'll cook and taste anyway)

I've looked at this question, but the peel is said to be bitter, while these are peeled already.

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  • Were they bitter from picking up odors (perhaps stored improperly), or did they have any kind of liquid or other accumulation that washing did not address?
    – mfg
    Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 19:37
  • I normally store carrots in cling-film, peel the skin and wash before anything else. Raw, they taste bitter. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 19:45
  • I ask because even in small quantities, ethylene gas can cause the bitterness in the carrot if store with certain other foods
    – mfg
    Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 21:29
  • 1
    Great, I found this link. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 22:57
  • When you say bitter, do you mean bitter like hops in a beer or sour like a lemon? If it's the former then cutting the core out will help as they can be quite high in calcium, which has a bitter taste.
    – Stefano
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 19:53

5 Answers 5

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+50

To decrease the bitterness, bring out the sweetness in the carrots by cooking for longer. The best technique I've found to do this with carrots is frying and steaming them at a low temperature.

Make glazed carrots: per 200g of carrot, peel, cut into ~2cm thick diagonal cuts and add 40g butter, a half teaspoon of sugar and season with salt and black pepper. In a large lidded pan over a low heat, spread the carrots out in a single layer, add the lid and cook for 25-35 minutes. Shake the pan occasionally. Push the cooking time as long as you can without letting the carrots become overly soft. This should give deliciously sweet fragrant carrot.

Another thing to keep in mind is that salt is better than sugar to reduce bitterness so add as much as you can without oversalting the carrots.

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Make cole slaw with them, and some zucchini and parsnips, then dress with mayo, red wine vinegar and apple cidar vinegar. Gradually add some white sugar to take the edge off of any remaining bitterness.

This palate will balance out the bitter and play it up with the sharpness of the parsnips. Zucchini, when shredded finely and left in a mayo/vinegar dressing will soften to an almost shredded cheese texture and turn into the median flavor distracting from over bitter carrots.

I had a large bag of zucchini that was on its way out recently, and some carrots that had since passed the point of just being white and were no longer right enough to eat raw anymore. This extended their (fridge) shelf lives in one swoop.

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  • Fermenting will also thoroughly overwhelm and modify the bitter flavor, IMO. I'm glad someone else suggested something pickle-y.
    – kitukwfyer
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 13:01
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Some varieties are naturally high in terpenoids, which make the carrots taste bitter. Because terpenoids develop earlier than sugars, a carrot that is harvested too young might taste bitter. if you're growing them yourself make sure you wait a little longer before harvesting. And if you're buying them you'll have to cook them. I love myself some raw carrots but end up throwing out bags sometimes because they're bitter. Goodluck.

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Whatever you do, you should cook the carrots.

Carrots usually become sweeter when cooked. And you can alter the flavor slightly by cooking in a broth, sauce, roasting with other ingredients, etc.

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I'm thinking stock or compost. :)

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    Stock is not the place to hide weird tasting vegetables. Stock is used for flavoring other things (soups), and if you put garbage in it, your whole refined dish will taste like garbage.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 16:48

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