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The Importance of Peeling Carrots

By Cook's Illustrated Published May 2011

Is it really necessary to peel carrots?

To test whether peeling carrots has a noticeable effect on their flavor or texture, we compared batches of scrubbed unpeeled carrots with peeled carrots. We tasted the samples raw, cut into coins and glazed, and roasted in a 425-degree oven.

Although a few tasters found the unpeeled raw carrots to be earthier tasting than their stripped siblings, most were distracted by their “dusty exterior” and “bitter finish.” The results were even more clear-cut when the carrots were cooked. Tasters unanimously preferred the peel-free carrots in the glazed and roasted samples. In both cases, the skins on the unpeeled carrots became wrinkled, tough, and gritty. Their flavor was “again earthier, but not in a good way” and they weren’t particularly appealing looking. On the other hand, the peeled versions remained bright orange, tender, and sweet.

In sum: It takes only an extra minute or two to peel carrots. We think it’s time well spent.