Sunday, September 18, 2011

Yes, you can eat carrot tops !

When I recently picked up my food share at the CSA, I watched in utter dismay as those who were picking up their share of carrots for the week chopped off the tops and discarded them into a bin before putting the carrots into their bags to take home.    What a waste I was thinking ... that these would end up in some compost pile or perhaps given to the livestock to feed on.  

Did you know that carrot tops are highly edible and packed full of nutrition?  In a recent post I said nothing goes to waste in our house.  Everything has it's use, including carrot tops (along with radish, beet and turnip tops). 

Carrot tops are rich in protein, minerals and vitamins.   The tops of the carrots are loaded with potassium which can make them bitter, so the use of them in food is limited.  The tops are antiseptic and can be juiced and used as a mouthwash.  Chewing carrot leaves can heal injuries in the mouth, bad breath, bleeding gums and mouth ulcers.    They can be used as a garnish, or mixed into a salad of your choice.    Be creative !   I add them to my  simple stone soup recipe!  or save them in the freezer for making soup stock later.   Carrot greens are also high in Vitamin K.   They are high in source of chlorophyll - which has cleansing properties that purify the blood, lumph nodes and adrenal glands. 

Here's a soup recipe using carrot tops:

6 small to medium carots with tops and roots
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp white rice
2 large leeks, what parts only
2 thyme or lemon thyme sprigs
2 tbsp chopped dill, parsley, or celery leaves
6 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock or water
salt and pepper to taste

Pull the lacy leaves of the carrot greens off their stems.  - approx 2-3 cups loosely packed.  Wash, then chop finely.  Grate the carrots.  Melt butter in a soup pot, add carrot tops and carots, rice, leeks, thyme and dill.  Cook several minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Season with salt and pepper, add stock.  Bring to boil until rice is cooked.  Can be pureed.  Serve.

Enjoy !

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