HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


To peel, or not to peel...

I peel carrots out of habit, but I've been noticing pictures of cooked, unpeeled carrots. Some people say that only organic carrot peels should be eaten, some say any peel is just fine. Any thoughts?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I usually peel my carrots regardless unless I'm throwing them into a pot from stock--then a handwash is enough for me.

    4 Replies
      1. Never peel. Just a scrub and top & tail.

        3 Replies
          1. re: Janet from Richmond

            +2..I only buy organic whole carrots, they are almost always under $1 per pound.

          2. I always peel full grown carrots. Baby carrots and just generally smaller carrots get topped, tailed, scrubbed and cooked skin on.

            1. I've gotten into the habit of peeling them, but I'm not sure why, except that most recipes with carrots that I've seen over the years tell me to. I think I'm gonna give that up, and just give'em a scrub with the Chore Girl. Heck with it.

              1. Cooked carrots are pretty darn ugly unpeeled. If you are serving guests, peel 'em. If nobody at home cares about it, don't bother for a family dinner.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jmcarthur8

                  "Cooked carrots are pretty darn ugly unpeeled"

                  They can be gorgeous IMHO!

                  1. re: twyst

                    Wow, twyst, you made those carrots a work of art! I revise my statement:

                    Cooked carrots CAN be pretty darn ugly unpeeled, unless Twyst prepares them, then they are gorgeous.


                2. If I end up peeling carrots, I save the peels and fry them up to a bit crispy.

                  1. Never peeled a carrot since after the mid 70's. (Except when forced to when I studied ten years ago at the French Culinary Institute) Carrots nowadays don't have bitter peels and are in general much sweeter than they were prior to the mid 70's.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: JMF

                      really about the peels aren't bitter anymore? I will have to put that to the test.

                      I'm a peeler - all the time but it sure would save me some steps in the future

                      1. re: JMF

                        The peels used to be bitter, and it never occurred to me that that wasn't still the case. This is good news! I can quit peeling!

                      2. I find the outer skin to be tough and unless peeled, I wonder if you can really extract all the flavor while being simmered in stock. This is assuming you place the carrots in whole. If slicing the carrots thin and on the bias....then no, it's not necessary..

                        I would further add that out of habit, I do generally peel for appearance. The peels, with all other vegetables scraps are saved and used to make stock.

                          1. I only peel thick carrots, not thin ones.

                            1. I grow my own carrots, so I have no problem with just a good scrubbing.

                              1. My peels go into the kitchen compost bucket, so at least they do some good in the garden!

                                I do like the frying crispy idea upthread, though!

                                1. We stopped buying "baby" carrots because I find them too difficult to peel easily.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: John E.

                                    And you said that with a straight face, too. Not bad! ;-)

                                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                                      I actually meant it. We don't often buy the 'baby' carrots. Sometimes when we do they get forgotten in the back of one of the low vegetable drawers. They end up dehydrating and then there is white stuff that shows up on the outside of the carrot. I have actually peeled the baby carrots instead of throwing them away. We have bought mostly/only regular carrots for years now. I find the whole 'baby' carrot thing annoying anyway (and always have. It reminds me of seeing peeled and/or chopped onions or peeled hard cooked eggs for sale at the grocery store).

                                      1. re: John E.

                                        Well, commercial "baby carrots" aren't baby carrots at all. They're simply machine-processed out of larger carrots, then treated with a preservative for longer shelf life (unless you buy organic ones).

                                        The only TRUE "baby carrots", are baby carrots sold whole with the greens still attached. You don't often see them in supermarkets, but they do show up at farmers markets. They're also wonderful if you have a little space to grow them yourself. "Little Fingers" & the round golf-ball-size types like "Thumbelina" & "Paris" are nice & sweet.

                                        1. re: Bacardi1

                                          I knew that. That's why I wrote 'baby' carrots throughout my post. That's one of the things that annoys me. The treated for freshness part is not always true. The white stuff is simply from the carrots drying out. It is not from some chlorine or other solution.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            One of the supermarkets here carries organic untreated fake "baby" carrots as well as organic untreated matchstick carrots, & sometimes I buy those for my cockatoo - lol!! Plus, they're convenient for me sometimes as well. I can toss the shreds into salads & stirfries, or add a few of the "babies" while steaming broccoli, etc.

                                            But for the most part, I buy from reputable sources at the farmers market or grow my own for baby carrots; otherwise I just buy regular carrots at the supermarket.

                                  2. I usually peel them but the peels go into the freezer along with onion skins, end bits of chicken, celery ends, and so on and eventually it all becomes stock.

                                    1. I rarely peel, only in dead of winter when they are a bit tough. Just scrub.