Learn how to peel carrots quickly and easily with this handy guide.
One of the first tasks I learned in the kitchen was how to peel carrots at about six years old. My mom wanted to oblige my incessant hollering to be helpful, and using a traditional vegetable peeler to remove carrot skin was usually a safe chore.
Do you need to peel carrots?
You don’t always have to peel carrots. Peeled carrots are best in a veggie tray (fancy word: cruditê) when the texture and smooth appearance of bare carrot skin is more appealing than the rough surface of unprocessed carrots. For soups and stews, I cut off the tough carrot top, a bit of the bottom nub, wash, pat dry and cut as usual. While there is a lot of fiber in the outer skin, there’s dirt, too.
Do you wash carrots before peeling them?
Wash carrots before peeling them. Even (and especially) if you don’t peel them. A lot of dirt, fertilizer, and pesticide often hide in those nooks of bumpy carrots. But we don’t have all day, just be thorough. You can use a veggie brush like this one, with veggie wash, but I tend to scrub the surface with just my hands under warm water with a dot of dish soap. Scrub, rub, rinse. If you are super sensitive, though, you may want to use a nail brush or tooth brush to really get in there to remove dirt particles.
Why peel carrots?
If you’re serving dips with carrots, it’s a good idea to peel carrots before eating them. Some people think the outer rough carrot skin is a bit more bitter than the meat underneath. In raw dishes, I would definitely recommend peeling carrots before serving. In cooked dishes, I don’t think that it’s as important to peel carrots; they just need to be cleaned before using.
Step 1: Wash your carrots
Wash only the carrots you will need in your recipe. They last longer in the fridge if kept dry and in their original packaging. You don’t need to spend a lot of time doing it, but it’s good to be thorough. Use warm water, a dot of dish detergent or veggie wash (or vinegar or baking soda), and use your hands to scrub the outer surface of the carrots. You can also use a veggie brush, toothbrush or nail brush to get the stubborn dirt particles off of the carrots.
Step 2: Dry your carrots
Lay out a clean, lint-free kitchen towel and place the wet carrots on the towel. Or place a colander in the sink and let them drip dry there instead. You’ll want to make sure they are not too wet when you go to cut them up so they don’t slide around on your cutting board.
Step 3: Cut off the ends
Using any sharp kitchen knife, slice off about ¼ to ½ inch of the tough carrot top, and just a bit of the bottom, tapered end.
Step 4: Peel a carrot with your vegetable peeler
Holding the carrot in your less-dominant hand, you’ll start peeling by running the blade of the peeler down the carrot and away from your body.
Move the carrot in your hand so the peeler starts at the next section of unpeeled carrot. The peeled carrot skin usually comes off easily; shuffle the peels to the side. You’ll compost or discard these after you are completely done so that you don’t contaminate your hands while you are working.
Step 5: Look for rough places that you may have missed.
Usually the very top and ends are left to do so just start at the top of those areas and continue peeling with smaller strokes (always away from you) until you can see the smooth carrot skin underneath.
What you’ll need:
- Sharp knife, such as a paring knife or chef’s knife
- Vegetable peeler
- Cutting board
- Fresh, whole carrots
- Lint-free kitchen towel
Optional items for peeling carrots:
- Veggie wash
- Veggie brush
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