Ugly Produce Is Still Delicious – Playing Fairy Godmother For Carrots

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Don’t Waste Food! Produce doesn’t have to be beautiful to be healthy & delicious. See how I play fairy godmother to some ugly carrots to make them beautiful again.

Don't Waste Food! Produce doesn't have to be beautiful to be delicious. See how I play fairy godmother to some ugly carrots. #TexasHomesteader

Grocery Store Produce Department’s Perfection

Have you ever noticed when you go into the store that there are rows & rows of identical produce, all perfectly shaped & sized.

But if you grow a garden or stroll through an actual farmer’s market you’ll realize that perfect produce is just a fairy tale. Real produce has lots of variation in size, shape and color.

Some produce isn’t as pretty as others. So oftentimes it’s shunned by grocery stores (and even some farmer’s market vendors). They won’t accept it due to consumer-perceived imperfections. So much of this unwanted produce is wasted! 

But I’m here to tell you that the fairy tale has a happy ending when I play fairy godmother.

I take those ugly misshapen carrots and make them beautiful, even indistinguishable from their perfectly-shaped equivalents. And it’s not hard at all to do.


Ugly But Healthy Produce Made Beautiful

I was gifted some very ugly carrots – some were way too large, some had several points grown into one carrot, some were twisted and shaped strangely.

But I can very easily make them beautiful. First I snapped apart the branched carrots, then peeled them all then rinsed them clean.

All I have to do now is cut them into more uniform pieces, depending upon how I’m planning to use them.

Chopping fresh carrots in preparation for a meal or dehydrating.

How To Use Ugly Carrots

Once the carrots are cut uniformly there’s no visual difference between the previously ugly carrots and the rows of perfection of carrots seen in the grocery store produce department.

How you cut and use them depends on how you’re planning to use them. Here are some suggestions:

Side Dish For Meals – This is the easiest way to use your carrots. Cut them into rounds or dice them up and cook & serve as a side dish with your supper tonight!

Fresh carrots cut into rounds and flavored with a pat of butter and a sprig of fresh rosemary. #TexasHomesteader


Shred And Add To Recipes – Shredded carrots are a simple way to disguise once-ugly carrots. Just wash, trim & shred them before mixing them into your favorite foods. I like to enjoy shredded carrots raw in my Homemade Coleslaw. No ugly carrots here!

Creamy coleslaw with cabbage, carrots and creamy dressing mayonnaise, vinegar, celery seed #TexasHomesteader

Chop & Serve Raw In Salad – Everyone knows how healthy salad is. (especially when I serve it with my healthy Creamy Homemade Salad Dressing). So chop those ugly carrots and mix them in for a nutrition boost!

Fresh salad with lettuce, boiled egg, carrots, cheese crumbles and healthy homemade salad dressing. #TexasHomesteader

Dice, Blanch & Dehydrate – Dehydrated produce lasts much longer in your pantry than a fresh carrot would last in the refrigerator. I love dehydrating produce! Just chop those once-ugly carrots into uniform pieces, steam and dehydrate! You can read about Dehydrating Carrots Here.

Carrots are easy to dehydrate. Just clean, chop, blanch and dehydrate for shelf-stable produce. #TexasHomesteader

Slice into Spears And Enjoy A Crunch Snack – I’m constantly trying to sneak more vegetables into meals. I use this trick to make them willingly enjoy fresh produce! You can read how I easily Sneak Vegetables Into My Family’s Diet Here.

And those carrot sticks look just the same as they would from a perfectly-shaped carrot.

I keep fresh carrots in a glass jar with a little water to keep the vegetables fresh longer. #TexasHomesteader

Whew, this fairy godmother has performed well today so it’s time to take a coffee break.

There are oh so many uses for these now-beautiful carrots! What are your favorite ways of saving ugly produce from the compost heap?


Other Dehydrating Posts

Garden Vegetables

Fruits & Berries



See All Our Dehydrating Posts

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27 thoughts on “Ugly Produce Is Still Delicious – Playing Fairy Godmother For Carrots

  1. Brenda

    I love this idea of dehydrated carrots ! Tell me more about the steamer please. ….brand..etc.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      It’s just a little steamer I received as a gift years ago. I like to use it when I’m steaming veggies from the garden for a quick healthy side but it comes in handy to blanch veggies before dehydrating too. I have one similar to this one –> (affiliate link) ~TxH~

  2. Donna Reidland

    I’ve never tried using a dehydrator, but it seems like it would be very convenient!

  3. Janet Vinyard

    Hi Tammy, I haven’t tried dehydrating carrots before but I have some in the fridge right now that need to be used up so I’m going to give it a try. I like the idea of grinding them up and adding them to various dishes. I always add shredded carrots to meatloaf and potato soup. Thanks for the great tips and inspiration! Blessings, Janet

  4. Deborah

    You are sprakin my language. Love this!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for linking up to #homemattersparty

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      LOL Deborah. I want to remember that ugly carrots are beautiful too! 🙂 And hey, after they’re washed, peeled and chopped they look exactly the same as their symmetrically-perfect counterparts did. ~TxH~

  5. Michele Morin

    I’ve never tried preserving food with a dehydrator! Certainly something to consider!

  6. Lisa/SyncopatedMama

    What a cute idea for a post – I love it! We love ugly produce around here – we’ve even lucked into it for free from our local stand because no one wants to buy the ugly stuff. Still tastes good to us!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Sadly it’s what we’ve come to expect from our food, visual perfection. I’m not casting stones here, I’ve been as guilty as anyone else, picking through the produce to find the nicest one. I’ve found myself lately going for the ugly produce because I now realize that those imperfectly-shaped bell peppers or tomatoes are destined for the trash bin if they’re not sold and food waste is an issue that’s important to me… ~TxH~

  7. Ashley

    Stopping by from nifty thrifty sunday. I avoided growing carrots in the past because our rocky soil, I was afraid they would turn out gnarly. I guess I should just get a dehydrator and not worry about it! Great post, happy easter!

  8. Crystelle

    Sounds like your homemade soups will be delicious with those carrots….!! Pinning!! Happy Easter to you and yours…. 🙂
    “hugs” Crystelle

  9. Sheree

    The oddities in the garden are always so much fun! I sell at the farmers market and it is always interesting how people perceive food these days. Many eye Heirloom varieties very suspeciously because they look different until you get them to taste them. Commercial growers have oddities too, they just wind up getting chopped up for frozen or processed in soup! Dehydrating is another great way to keep your produce available all year.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thanks for your comment Sheree. Consumers have come to expect perfectly-shaped produce and often nothing else will do – so funny, huh? Perfectly good food often gets wasted that way. I know commercial growers have their ways to preserve less-than-beautiful food to keep it from going to waste. Now if we can just get to the consumer & get them to think outside the box as well. LOL ~TxH~

  10. Cynthia

    You sound like a great fairy godmother! I hate to waste things, even “ugly” vegetables. Thanks for linking to the In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party. Hope to see you next week.

  11. Joyce @ It's Your Life

    I so need to get a dehydrator, I wonder if my carrots will look like some of those? Don’t matter I’ll eat them just the same, thanks for sharing weekly on Tuesdays With a Twist.

  12. Kathy

    Good idea looking for the more misshaped carrots, in the end who cares what they originally looked like

  13. janet pesaturo

    Thanks for sharing on Old Fashioned Friday. I am impressed by all of the dehydrating people are doing – I dry tomatoes, and sometimes apples and blueberries, but that’s about it. It really is a great way to preserve, and you are inspiring me to do more!

  14. April

    Never thought of dehydrating veggies to make them last longer! Great idea!

  15. Ellen

    I cannot believe my good fortune to read this post. Just this morning I brought out a box of our garden carrots that I had been “saving” in a rather cold closet which has an outside wall of our old farmhouse. I brought them to the kitchen, cleaned them off and thought that I might try dehydrating them. I do have a dehydrator that I have not used in years (how smart is that????) and now I am heading upstairs to pull it out and get these ugly little ducklings chopped and on to the dehydrator. Thank you again for the step by step and pictures – your site is beautiful!!! 🙂

  16. Summers Acres

    All of our carrots from the garden are ugly twisted and misshapen, but they taste just as good (well actually better) than the long, pretty, straight ones from the store. We canned ours, but I may try dehydrating some next time.

  17. Shawna

    This is so funny I did a post last spring called Attack of the Mutant Carrot and they looked like that. They were still good though. Thank you for joining us on our Four Seasons Blog Hop. Pinning Now.

  18. Candy C.

    Isn’t it funny how once you grow your own food those oddly shaped or less than perfect veggies look beautiful too! 🙂

  19. Julie

    I don’t have a dehydrator but I do love weird shaped veggies! Some of the shops here in the Uk will sell the odd shapes a bit cheaper and once they are cut up really who can tell!
    Out of interest my uncle had a nasty accident with a mandolin when he thought the bit that came with it to hold the veg and keep your fingers away from that very sharp blade ,was unnecessary. He ended up in A & E, bless!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Julie – that’s the exact same circumstance with the mandolin that happened here with RancherMan as well. And yes you’re right, that bit that comes with it to hold the veggies when using the mandolin is absolutely necessary! ~TxH~

  20. Marla

    I never thought about dehydrating carrots since I usually buy organic and use them up fairly fast, but this is a great idea. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Tuesday with a Twist Link Up. Have a healthy wonderful day!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Mine usually go pretty quick as well Marla, but when the garden is producing heavily I don’t one a single one to go to waste. My dehydrator has been a life saver this past year. ~TxH~


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