The very same reason that makes carrots so nutritious – their ability to absorb up so many nutrients from the soil – is also the reason why they are so good at absorbing up pesticides and even heavy metals from the ground they’re in.
A farmer who was a friend of the family once told me that when they are having trouble growing vegetables in a field, they put carrots in for a season and they’ll absorb up all the ‘crap’ from the ground so other vegetables can grow again. He said these carrots went for stock feed, but I doubt that’s always the case. Ever since then I’ve always bought organic carrots.
Pesticides in Carrots
I really don’t want to scare off anyone from eating carrots because they’re so healthy, but unfortunately they also tend to absorb pesticides from the soil they are grown in. Peeling will help, as the peel has by far the highest concentration of pesticides. But, even when peeled, testing shows conventionally grown carrots often contain a wide variety of pesticide residues.
Some of these pesticides are pretty nasty too. A few have being banned for being too dangerous, but are still turning up in testing years and even decades later. Others are said to be tolerable at certain levels, but the truth is we don’t really know what they do and how they accumulate in the body. I for one don’t want to take the chance.
The Environmental Working Group publishes a guide every year to the ‘dirty dozen’ of fruit and vegetables with the highest pesticide load. Anything on this list is really worth considering buying organic, or at very least washing very well (perhaps with some vinegar, which is said to be good at removing all kinds of residues).
Carrots, even being underground and not spray directly, have made this list in the past and are usually up quite high. This year they are just out of it at 14, but that’s probably only due to foods like potatoes and grapes getting worse, rather than pesticide load of carrots getting any better.
Some fruits and vegetables really are a lot more expensive for the organic versions, but this usually isn’t the case with carrots. It’s really is worth the little more to buy organic carrots. As a bonus they shouldn’t need to be peeled and the peel does contain a lot of the health nutrients. Best of all, I think you’ll find they taste far better too.
Photo credit with thanks: tibchris