Do carrots absorb water? Absolutely yes! These fabulous vegetables respond startlingly well to immersion in water, as well as other liquids. Read on to learn more about how both fresh and salty water can affect them.
How Do Carrots Absorb Water?
The same way our skin can absorb moisture from hydrating creams.
Most animal and vegetable cells are porous. This means that the cell walls allow liquid or gases to move through that barrier through teensy little gaps. Carrots are root vegetables, and they absorb water from the soil around them by allowing that kind of osmosis through their skins. That same osmosis can happen if they’re immersed in water.
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What Happens to Carrots that are Soaked in Saltwater?
They’ll shrivel up like mummies, just like we would.
Salt is a dehydrating agent, which means that it sucks moisture out of whatever is immersed in it. This is why salt has been used to pickle and preserve foods for thousands of years. By drawing out moisture, the food decomposes very, very slowly, if at all. Part of classical Egyptian mummification included using salt to dehydrate the body, and those mummies are still in great shape today. That if anything tells you a lot about salt’s incredible preservation qualities.
The good news is that you can make rather magnificent pickled carrots by preserving them in a mixture of salt, vinegar, and salt. If you like dill pickles, consider making a batch of garlic and dill pickled carrots. They’re easy to make, and absolutely delicious. Furthermore, pickling is a perfect way to preserve excess produce, especially if your freezer is getting full.
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Is Water Good or Bad for Carrots?
Actually, the answer to this is kind of cool. The main reason why carrots lose their crunchy juiciness is because they dry out. First they get that white, chalky coating on them. Then their flesh gets a bit spongy, and they lose their fabulous texture, as well as their flavor. This is why baby carrots are packaged in water. Since they’re pre-peeled, they’d lose all their liquid if they weren’t surrounded by it at all times. They absorb and release this water like they’re breathing it, thus keeping them hydrated.
The good news is that you can perk wilted carrots back up again by immersing them in water. In fact, there are even some special containers that are specifically made for this. They hold carrot and celery sticks upright in a container. You just fill that container with water and keep it in the fridge. The key here is to switch that water out every few days so it doesn’t get sludgy. By keeping carrots in water like this, they stay moist and crunchy.
If you’re a big fan of carrot juice, then be absolutely sure to store your carrots this way. You’ll always have sweet, juicy carrots to work with instead of trying to coax liquid out of half-desiccated roots. You’ll never have to feel bad about throwing produce away again. And hey, don’t worry if you catch wilty carrots too late to perk them up. Just use them to make homemade vegetable soup stock instead.
As an additional bonus, remember that you can regrow carrots from scraps. Not their roots, mind you. Those taproots only grow once and then they’re done. If, however, you immerse cut carrots into water, their greens will regrow.
If you’re feeling adventurous, or if you need to keep the kids occupied for a little while, try this experiment. You should see the effects of saltwater versus fresh within a couple of hours.