As far as vegetables go, carrots aren’t exactly what you’d call “exotic”. In fact, most of us have been eating or avoiding carrots our entire lives. It’s hard to imagine there being that much variety when it comes to such a basic vegetable.

Surprisingly enough, carrots actually come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. So if you thought carrots were just another boring vegetable, you may want to think again.

To prove that not all carrots are created equal, I’ve outlined 4 types of carrots that can be found in most grocery stores. You might want to sit down for this one.

Baby Carrots

pasture, carrot, vegetable
Mollie Simon

First and foremost, these are not simply infant carrots picked before reaching maturity. The size of these carrots has little to do with their age and actually results from the processing of whole carrots. But don’t abandon these babies just yet. They really do have good intentions.

The initial production of baby carrots was an attempt to reduce waste. In the 1980’s, a carrot farmer named Mike Yurosek gathered up broken or unshapely carrots deemed “unworthy” of selling. He peeled and shaped these carrots into smaller chunks so they could be sold. This process gave birth to the baby carrots we know and love.

Baby carrots are ready to eat, meaning they don’t require any washing or preparing on your part. This is because manufacturers do all the dirty work. Before they are sold, baby carrots actually go for a swim in a diluted chlorine and water solution. The purpose of this bath is to eliminate any food-borne illnesses.

#SpoonTip: These babies are the perfect snack for busy college students. Relive your childhood snacking days by packing them up with some hummus. Eat your baby carrots straight out of the bag and avoid dirtying any dishes.

Whole Carrots

pasture, carrot, vegetable
Alex Hawkins

Ehhh what's up doc? With their orange root and leafy green top, these carrots will have you channeling your inner Bugs Bunny.

In the world of carrots, this variety is a classic. From soil to supermarket, these carrots undergo very little physical change. They’re simple, whole and unprocessed.

While you’re certainly open to eat them as is, most people prefer to peel whole carrots before they start munching. Peeling them will help remove any dirt or pesticides that might be found on the surface.

#SpoonTip: Whole carrots make the perfect healthy snack alternative. While you can snack on them raw, don't be afraid to get creative with your carrots. Skip the greasy fast food fries and make these carrot fries instead.  

Organic Carrots

carrot, pasture, vegetable
Linzie Gienau

Organic or not organic? That is the question. Most grocery stores offer both options when it comes to carrots. You may not be able to tell the difference just by looking at them, but organic carrots aren’t quite the same as their conventional counterparts.

The main difference between organic and nonorganic carrots lies in how they are grown. Generally, organic carrots are raised without the use of pesticides. This allows them to soak up nutrients from the soil without absorbing any unwanted chemicals.

When you choose the organic variety, you’ll get more nutrients and less chemicals. This means you’re more welcome to skip the peeling and go straight for the crunch. Of course, clean carrots come at a cost and these veggies are often more expensive.

#SpoonTip: With minimal effort required, these carrots make a perfect addition to your everyday meal. Use them to easily create a fancy dinner for two in under 30 minutes.

Rainbow Carrots

These colorful carrots are the result of carrot breeding, which is a completely natural process. With just some minor genetic alterations, carrot farmers are able to produce carrots that are red, yellow, white or purple. But let’s not be superficial, rainbow carrots are more than just a pretty food.

In produce, color defines nutrients. Most people know that orange carrots contain beta-carotene, which is the source of their distinctly orange color. Carrot farmers used this concept and added more nutrients to their carrots.

Lutein, a promotor of eye health, was added to produce the yellow and white carrot varieties. The antioxidant Lycopene, also found in tomatoes, gave rise to red carrots. The purple carrots contain a nutrient called anthocyanin, which can also be seen in blueberries.

#SpoonTip: Go ahead, taste the rainbow. Most supermarkets now sell bags with a mix of these colorful carrots. Add color and nutrients to any meal by preparing some roasted rainbow carrots.

Go ahead, eat all the carrots. No matter their shape, size or color, carrots are a rich source of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and more. They are known to promote eye health and even reduce your risk of cancer.

Eating carrots doesn't have to a chore. With all the varieties available today, it's easier than ever to incorporate carrots into your diet. Don't be afraid to try something new, get creative and always have fun with it.