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What causes splits in carrots?

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The description of carrots on the Chow ingredients page (from quirkbooks dot com) says that when selecting carrots, one should avoid carrots that are split.
http://www.chow.com/ingredients/119

I often find split carrots in bags of carrots I've bought at the local supermarket. Until recently, I have always cut the part of the carrot that was split off and thrown it away. Lately I've been eating that part and haven't noticed any difference in flavor (raw carrots in salads).

Why is it recommended that split carrots be avoided? Is there something more to it than appearances?

And what causes the splits? Are they a side effect of modern agricultural and food processing methods? Or would you find splits just as often in carrots lovingly grown in your own backyard garden?

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  1. My assumption is that the advice to avoid them is because bacteria might be trapped there.

    I believe that splits are to carrots what stretch marks are to humans. If that's true, you would see them more often using conventional methods than organic, I would think. I believe we had the occasional split carrot in our organic garden when I was growing up.

    My store offers individual carrots, so it's easy to avoid the split ones.

    6 Replies
    1. re: foiegras

      They split because they get too much water in the field and grow too fast. The grower or his help needs to cut back on the irrigation when it is time to harvest the field. I don't like to use them ether, you don't know what kind of creepy crawlers are lurking in the splits. Plus they don't look nice as carrots coins on your plate.

      1. re: yakitat jack

        That sounds about right.
        It's the same for tomatoes. Over-watering seems to always result in split fruit.

        1. re: Cheese Boy

          the over-watering is not necessarily the work of man...rain on an almost-ripe tomato is cause for panic (must run to harvest before they split)

          1. re: babette feasts

            Yes, bell peppers are also problematic in the same way.

            1. re: babette feasts

              Rain too late in the season is one of the main reasons vintages of the same wine taste different. Vineyard don't want rain close to harvest time. I think it deteriorates the skin and harms the quality of the juice.

          2. re: yakitat jack

            My understanding, though, is that conventional fertilizers encourage fast water uptake ... this is why conventional vegetables and fruits tend to be watery and less flavorful compared to organic (particularly noticeable with strawberries, celery, etc.).