Those feathery carrot greens on your carrots are not only edible, but they are also delicious and quite good for you. Note: Its vital that you only eat organic carrot greens. High levels of herbicides and pesticides may be in and on the carrot leaves.
Carrot leaves (also called carrot tops or carrot greens) contain 6 times more vitamin C than the root and significant amounts of vitamin K that is not in the root at all. They also contain vitamin A, calcium, iron and fiber. The chlorophyll that gives it that bright green color helps prevent tumors and acts as an antiseptic. (Organic Facts and Carrot Museum).
Like all greens, carrot leaves contain alkaloids (pyrrolidine and daucine specifically) that can be dangerous in extremely large doses – pounds and pounds and pounds at one sitting. The more significant potential for danger is that many commercial farmers assume the greens will not be consumed and will spray the tops with pesticides. Yet another reason eat organic fruits and vegetables!
The carrot tops are bitter, like most other dark leafy greens, but also have an earthy taste to them that makes a beautiful addition to many dishes. Toss out any that are yellowing and be sure to wash them thoroughly before using them.
So How Should You Eat Carrot Greens?
Here are just a few options:
- Add them to the pot when you are making chicken or vegetable broth.
- Chop them up and add them to your salad.
- Juice them along with the carrot root or with other greens.
- Make a tea by pouring boiling water over the leaves, delicious with lemon and honey.
- Sauté them with some sliced carrot roots in a little oil and some herbs and spices.
- Make Carrot Fritters by swapping grated carrot and chopped leaves for the radish and cilantro in this recipe.
- Use by themselves or with some herbs to make green sauces such as Pesto (Italian), Chimichurri (Argentinian) or Chermoula (Moroccan).
The next time you are tempted to toss your carrot tops in the compost pile, get creative with them instead. I bet they will quickly become a welcome addition to your cuisine.