Are you a carrot fan? If so, chances are you’ve tried them in just about every shape and form imaginable. So which do you think is better: those pre-cut baby versions, or full-grown ones you’ve cut yourself? Let’s dive into the pros and cons of baby carrots vs carrot sticks to try to figure this out.
Baby Carrots VS Carrot Sticks: Which Are Better?
If you asked this question at a plant-based food convention, you’d probably cause a ruckus. People seem to be polarized when it comes to their carrot choices, and can feel quite passionate about their chosen team!
There are many different aspects when weighing these against one another. Aspects such as flavor, convenience, and cost all come into the picture, and they certainly seem to balance each other out.
Further Reading: Do Carrots Go with Peanut Butter?
Baby Carrot Pros and Cons
Many people absolutely adore baby carrots, which is evident by how many are bought every year. In fact, American company Grimmway Farms processes upwards of 10 million pounds of these snacks every week. If that isn’t a small indication of just how many people love these mini veg, what is?
These sweet little morsels come pre-packaged, pre-peeled, and ready to nom on. They’re usually the perfect size for one or two bites, and are available pretty much everywhere.
When you buy baby carrots, you cut down on a ton of kitchen prep work time. Furthermore, they’re pretty much guaranteed to taste exactly the way you want them to. They’re generally all made from full-sized Chantenay or Imperator carrots, which grow long and thin. This makes them ideal for slicing and rounding into the baby bites we all know so well.
Baby carrots cost a lot more than full-sized ones that you just cut into sticks yourself.
Let’s say that you buy a one-pound bag of full-sized organic carrots. That’ll cost you around $1.50. Similarly, a one-pound bag of baby carrots is usually around $2.25. If you guess that there are around 80 baby carrots in a bag, that averages out to almost three cents per carrot. Meanwhile, those whole carrots cost about one cent apiece, and you can cut each of them into at least four sticks.
How’s your math? If it’s great, you can already see the difference. If it isn’t, well, you’ll get 25-30 more carrot munchies from whole carrots, for $0.75 less.
Related Article: Which Carrots are the Sweetest?
Carrot Stick Pros and Cons
Just as there are benefits and downsides to baby carrots, full-sized ones have their good and bad sides too.
As shown earlier, large carrots are much more affordable than baby ones. If you’re not buying organic, you can probably get a five-pound bag of locally grown, full-sized carrots for about $3.00. That’ll make several hundred carrot sticks for you and your family to munch on, not to mention greens for salads, and off-cuts for soups and juices.
Related Article: Which Carrots are Best for Juicing?
You can choose which color carrots to cut into sticks. Instead of having orange mini snacks as your only option, you have an entire rainbow of carrot varieties to choose from. Your snack plate can have spicy purple sticks, super-sweet red ones, earthy yellows, and peppery black carrots, as well as white, red-orange, and various shades in between.
As an added benefit, each of those hues come with a host of different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Prep time. SERIOUS prep time. Unless you’re a pro chef with years of zippy techniques under your belt, it’ll probably take you a while to cut those carrots into sticks. This is fine if you’re just cooking for yourself, but if you have a ravenous toddler orbiting you, shrieking for snacks, that can get a bit harrowing.
Learn More Here: Why are Some Carrots Different Colors?
Ultimately, it really depends on your personal preferences.
If you’re shopping for convenience and flavor, then you’ll probably appreciate baby carrots more. They’re specially bred from the sweetest carrot varieties around, specifically for their sugar content. In fact, these cultivars were chosen because of North American kids’ predilection for sweet foods. Since baby carrots are omnipresent in lunch boxes all over the continent, manufacturers catered to their audience.
In contrast, if you’re aiming for nutrition density, antioxidant content, and various flavors, then cut your own. You’ll be able to choose which hues and varieties you’re eating, and pair them with complimentary dips and seasonings accordingly.