Carrot Tastes Like Soap Explained

Carrot Tastes Like Soap

Carrots are one of the most enjoyed root vegetables, it is not only versatile but also rich in fiber and carotenoids showing anticarcinogenic and antioxidant properties. Carrot is a sweet-tasting root vegetable, and it can be enjoyed as it is or added to daily meals, so you certainly do not want to eat one with a soapy taste. If you have been having issues with carrots tasting like soap, then this post is for you.

You must consider your method of storing your carrots. Carrot unpeeled or already cut has to be stored properly in a container, large jar, or sealable bag full of fresh water. Storing your carrot properly is one of the best ways to keep it fresh and also prevent the taste from changing, it will remain crispy and crunchy.

Your carrot tasting like soap is not a result of not washing it before dipping it in the hummus. Carrots are known for their unique flavor, and some come with a slight hint of bitterness that does not overpower the sweet flavor profile. When something goes wrong while planting carrots, it can easily ruin the taste-making them generally unpleasant to eat.

Carrots are not that complicated to maintain and taking a bite of your carrot only to discover it tastes soapy is not because you did not wash it or store it safely. There is a very simple scientific reason behind tasting like soap.

Carrot Tastes Like Soap Explained

Carrot Tastes Like Soap Explained
Image: Tomascastelazo // Wikimedia Commons

If you have been having issues with your carrots tasting like soap, this is because your carrot contains a high concentration of terpenoids, which are volatile compounds inside the carrot. Your carrots have definitely not been washed in Palmolive, although they might taste like it, the soap tasting is mainly from the compound, and it sounds worse than it is.

Too many terpenoids in carrots combined with sugar is exactly what gives your carrot the slightly sweet, earthy, fruity flavor. It is also okay for normal carrots to have a slight hint of bitterness, but it shouldn’t be too strong and when this compound known as terpenoids is present in high concentration, it makes carrots tasty soapy, and bitter.

All carrots breed are meant to be rich in terpenoids, they are good for the body, it’s only when they are in excess that you get a strong bitter taste that is soapy as well. Even though farmers try to work with carrot breeds that have a sweet taste and fewer terpenoids, some factors can still lead to it having a soapy bitter flavor.

Be rest assured that when your carrot tastes soapy, they are still safe to eat and there is no need to throw them out. But keep in mind that the soapy taste will be pronounced when you eat it raw, so it is best to cook them in stews or soups too, but avoid adding them to salads or use them as dips. Cooking them is the best way to reduce the terpenoids, thereby reducing the soapiness in the process too.

Reasons Why Your Carrot Has High Terpenoid Concentration

As explained above, the major reason why carrots taste soapy is that it contains a high concentration of terpenoid, but this off-putting taste is caused by some factors. Carrots might be root vegetables that are easy to maintain, but their taste can be influenced by things such as storage conditions, growing temperature, and immature picking of the carrots.

1. Improper Storage

Carrots are fragile root vegetables, they are quite sensitive to Ethylene gas, which is produced by many fruits and vegetables. This root veggie might seem tough but if you don’t store it properly, the sugar content breaks down and the ethylene gas will cause it to develop more terpenoids and resulting in a soapy flavor.

So, avoid storing it with other fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene. Carrots are best stored in containers, large jars, or sealable bags of fresh water, and keep them away from pears, apples, avocados, and tomatoes. It can also be stored in the fridge to keep it fresh for a week or two.

2. High Growing Temperatures

You will be surprised how much the growing temperature can affect the taste of your carrots. Carrots are cool-season vegetables, so they need to be grown at ambient temperatures of 60 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the carrot will start turning pale, small and develop a soapy taste.

3. Harvesting Too Soon

Carrots can be expected to have a soapy taste if they are harvested too soon. When carrots are harvested in their premature form, they tend to have higher terpenoids, which in turn leads to a soapy or slightly bitter taste.

Avoid pulling your carrots out in their early stage, harvest your carrots when it is completely ripe, the top of the leaves should be orange and not green. Under-ripe carrots are the most common type of carrots that end up staying soapy.

How to Fix Carrot Soapy Taste

Brown sugar honey glazed carrots
Source: Crowded Kitchen

There is nothing that can be done when a carrot tastes soapy, you can use it in making stew or soup. However, if it is discovered that the carrot tastes soapy as a result of being under-ripe, if you leave the carrots longer in the ground then the sugars will develop and make it taste better.

You don’t have to throw away the carrots that taste soapy, they are still safe to eat, so you can consider cooking it for best results.

One way to avoid carrots that taste soapy is to purchase the freshest ones you can find. You can ask your local farmers market for carrots that are fresh and where they are coming from as well. Lastly, avoid adding the soapy-tasting carrots in salads and dips, make them better instead by cooking.

Final Thoughts

There has to be the right balance of sugar and terpenoids in your carrot for it to taste okay. In summary, terpenoids are the compounds that give your carrots that soapy turpentine taste and that often mark the sweet earthy carrot flavor you are supposed to enjoy.

Also, note that the taste of your carrots can be influenced by the breed, so ensure to select your carrot carefully.

So, the soapy taste in your carrot is just a result of natural terpenoids, your carrot is still safe to consume. But there is hope for soapy carrots, it might be noticeable in raw carrots, so do cook to break down the terpenoids and get a better taste.

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