Carrots with dark spots may not look fresh anymore, so should you cut them or throw them away immediately? Discarding carrots immediately is far too wasteful and not sustainable. We explore whether you can still consume carrots with dark spots.

Carrots are healthy root vegetables, renowned for their benefits for the eyes and their ability to help with diarrhea. Carrots contain fat-soluble beta-carotene, and to fully benefit from it, it is advisable to consume them with a few drops of cooking oil or a little butter. You can use carrots in various ways, such as in cream of carrot soup, Oriental carrot salad, or vitamin-rich raw vegetable salad.

If you store carrots improperly, they can develop dark spots. Can they still be consumed in this case?

What lies behind the dark spots on carrots?

The dark spots on carrots are usually caused by a fungal disease. According to the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), these conditions are called root black rot or carrot black rot. The fungus responsible for the dark spots is Thielaviopsis basicola.

Carrots are often packaged in plastic, which promotes the growth of the fungus. When you wash the carrots, the spores can spread to other carrots and penetrate the vegetables through small wounds on the skin.

It is best to store undamaged and unwashed carrots in the refrigerator – more tips on this below.

You can remove black spots from carrots under certain conditions.

You should generously remove black spots from carrots with a peeler or knife if the black spots appeared just a few days ago and are relatively recent.

If they have been in the refrigerator for longer and have more extensive spots due to fungal disease, then discard the carrots. Do the same if there is a bitter taste.

Instead of throwing away the carrots, here’s a tip for you: to prevent root black rot, you can freeze fresh carrots to extend their shelf life.

Tips to prevent fungal diseases on carrots:

Store carrots away from light at refrigerator temperature. The optimal storage temperature is below five degrees Celsius. Remove the plastic packaging and take out the carrots, as they sweat faster in the packaging. Plastic packaging promotes dark spots on carrots. Preferably buy carrots in bulk without plastic packaging. This way, you’ll avoid waste and can transport and store them directly in a cloth bag.

Tip: Cut the top of the carrots into a bouquet. This helps to keep them fresh longer. Don’t throw away carrot tops; use them to prepare delicious pesto instead.