- At Home
You know that story that your friend's moms mom, who has an aunt, that had a cousin that worked in the factory plant that prepares those cute little baby carrots told you about? You know, the one who said that they come from all the "reject" carrots and are put through a grinding machine... then they're allowed to soak in large vats of chlorine and other chemicals to plump and preserve them? Yeah, that story.
Well, I have an ongoing debate with my friend who buys them in bulk religiously, and always packs them in her kids lunch box. We argue and bicker over what's really going on with those perfectly shaped carrots... cause I can tell you this, when I grow mine- they don't look like that!
So, like the friend who is insistent upon proving her point... (lol, No... Not me??) I've been researching and calling these companies and asking all of the questions that us moms wanna know in terms of carrots. I mean, let's face it, carrots as a snack or even when you're cooking takes a little bit of work- you gotta get out the peeler, cut through them, chop them, slice them... they don't make it easy! So I completely understand the ease when it comes to buying them in their perfectly shaped and ready to go form!
I dug deep. (ha ha, get it? Carrots... dug deep?) I'm gonna expose some of those stories and myths... I could have been wrong this whole time, or I could have been right... but I'm gonna give you the facts! I am also give you the low down on how important carrots actually are for your little ones and a fabulous home made ranch dressing recipe!
Baby Carrots: The True Story
MYTH: Baby Style Carrots are made from deformed or discarded carrots.
FACT: Yes, these cute little carrots are cut down from actual larger carrots. There is nothing wrong with these carrots though. They are just larger carrots, and they're being cut down to that cute shape! No deformed or reject carrots are being used.
MYTH: My Baby Carrots are riddled with chlorine and chemicals.
FACT: Yes, your carrots do actually take a swim in chlorine...BUT... it is used as an antimicrobial treatment to minimize the contamination of the carrots. They do however take another swim with clean water to remove any excess chorline before being packaged and sent out to your local grocery store.
MYTH: The white film that appears on them is a result of this chlorine bath.
FACT: It's not actually- it's the carrot becoming dehydrated as it sits for long period of time in your fridge.
Question: Can I find baby carrots that aren't dipped in cholrine?
YES! There actually are baby carrots available in most natural food stores that are dipped in something called Citrox. What is Citrox you ask? Well, Citrox is made from natural extracts or naturally derived compounds. It is a citrus based non toxic solution.
So, I'm still a little torn on these little guys. Yes, they are in fact made from real carrots and not some synthetic, man-made, this is "supposed" to be a carrot kinda thing. They are the real deal.... but... they do in fact take a dip in a chlorine bath. Although it's rinsed off... I'm on the fence about it! But if you can find ones that are dipped in Citrox, I say go for it! So you be the best judge! It's as simple as taking the bag of carrots, flipping it over and reading the ingredients! If it says anything other than 100% carrots.... I'd question it!
At the end of the day, I personally do prefer to give my kiddos the real deal, no baths in anything but maybe a dip in some home made ranch dressing! (Check out the easy recipe below)
Health Benefits of Carrots
We all love carrots! What's not to love? They're sweet, they're crunchy and a vegetable that's super high in nutrition! Our moms have always told us, eat your carrots they help you see better! So what else do these orange sticks of wonder do for us?
First of all you should know that when you or more importantly your kiddos eat a carrot they are getting a ton of vitamins! They are chock full of Vitamins A, B1, B2 & B6, Vitamin K, Fiber, Potassium and Thiamine.
Benefits of eating them are improved vision as we all know but did you know that... They also help prevent heart disease and cholesterol. They help reduce the risk of stroke. Carrots also have cleansing properties... so they're good to help clear up acne in teenagers and nourish the skin... ladies let's not forget the anti-aging properties! Beta-Carotene serves as one of the best antioxidants to help the body fight the cell damage done to our body with dirt in the bloodstream and even oxygen. It slows down the aging of the cells! HELLO!!! Sign me up for 5 llbs of carrots today!! And finally dental health. Those crunchy super veggies actually help clean your teeth. It's a natural abrasive and it aids in removing plaque and buildup on your teeth. So pass over some carrot sticks to your little ones after a meal!
I don't lie when I say I don't love me some Hidden Valley Ranch... but why not give this recipe a try? It's so easy and so delicious! I promise you'll be making this all the time! It takes less than 5 minutes to do!
Homemade Ranch Dressing Recipe
Place all ingredients in the blender. Blend for 10-15 seconds. If you like it a little bit thicker, add less buttermilk, if you want to use it more for dipping... add some more.
This should last you about a week if you store it in an air tight container. To me, nothing is better than home made ranch dressing... no extra added sodium or mystery additives!
So I guess at the end of the day I'm saying... make some home made ranch and treat yourself to some real carrots. It might add 5 minutes to your prep time... but why not? You're worth it! So are your kids!!