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Consider Adding Carrot Greens to Your Family Recipe Collection

Updated on July 2, 2008
Photo: kabil,Flickr
Photo: kabil,Flickr
 

I have been trying to get to the farmer's market more often lately. Of course the produce is much fresher, and it's also less expensive. I'm always looking for new ways of stretching the food budget. It's nice to have exotic baby lettuce in the refrigerator, especially when it lasts more than a couple of days before it starts to turn.

Another thing I love is that the vendors know their product and they're happy to talk with you. Last week I picked up some very attractive white squash that, had I found it at Wal-Mart, would have gone in a bowl to look pretty for a couple of weeks and then tossed. But my friendly market farmer told me just how to prepare this squash (sorry I didn't catch the name) with onions in a little butter and garlic. The woman from the stall next door piped in that a little bacon grease poured over top would really make the dish.

When I picked up a gorgeous bunch of baby carrots, I was dying to know what to do with the fluffy green tops. However, I was told there wasn't really anything to cook with carrot tops. I didn't believe it so I did some digging. Here's what I found.

Are Carrot Tops Toxic?

Carrot greens are considered mildly toxic plants. However, it's unclear to me if that could be due to their being a possible choking hazard in small children, or to the fact that the wild variety are easily confused with poisonous hemlock and fool's parsley. While we want to be extra careful when it comes to feeding children, I have a hard time believing so many recipes would be out there if true carrot greens made us sick.

According to several forums I visited, many people and animals are enjoying carrot greens. They taste like a strong parsley, and though some complain of bitterness, cooking will temper this.

I'd really love any comments on how you prepare carrot tops!

Here's one recipe to get us started:

Tuscan Carrot Top And Rice Soup

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 med onion; minced

2 small carrots; diced

1 stalk celery; diced

3 cloves garlic; minced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

6 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup short grain rice

1 1/2 cups chopped carrot tops

4 tbsp fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Instructions

1. Heat the oil in a large pot. Saute onion, carrots, celery and garlic for 5 minutes over low heat until translucent. Add salt and pepper, and pour in broth. Bring to a boil.

2. Add rice and cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is almost tender. Add the carrot tops and cook for 5 more minutes, mixing well.

3. When rice is tender, pour soup into four bowls. Sprinkle with cheese.

You could also do 2 pounds of cubed potatoes instead of the rice.

Comments

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  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 

    4 years ago from America

    I have put them in soup never knowing they were considered toxic. I think we should use all we can of a vegetable. Voted up on your hub.

  • profile image

    Sarah Lanier 

    7 years ago

    Carrot Tops are allergenic not poisonous. Think of peanuts, they are not poisonous, but can be severely dangerous to those who are allergic to them. Carrot tops are quite healthy for you. Full of potassium which makes them bitter. If you don't want to eat them, use them as a garnish, or add them to your compost!

  • candle62 profile image

    candle62 

    8 years ago from London

    thankyou for sharing with us

  • profile image

    Mariah  

    8 years ago

    I fry them lightly baddered. They are super yummy. We eat them all the time with no tummy issues.

  • habee profile image

    Holle Abee 

    8 years ago from Georgia

    I've added them to salads before.

  • profile image

    Joanna 

    9 years ago

    I use the carrot tops in my green smoothies:

    Tops from 5 carrots,

    1 banana

    Frozen pineapple or mango, perhaps a cup / 300 gram

    and

    water enough not to kill your blender.

    I have a Vita Mix, I don't know if low power blenders are able to make this smooth, lovely drink.

    I once found a study (googled it) stating the nutritonal value of carrot tops. Only a bit of it was in English though, and I cannot find it again at the moment.

  • Tigermadstanley profile image

    Amanda Davey 

    9 years ago from Canterbury, Kent, UK

    I either compost the tops or feed them to the chickens. I had been wondering if I was able to eat/cook with them. The soup recipe sounds great.

  • profile image

    Linda 

    9 years ago

    this is the first post I found that mentions carrot greens are mildly toxic. I sauteed them (from my garden plants) and pureed them in combination with a few other ingredients and used it as a drizzle over a soup I made last year. Everything tasted really yummy - but afterwards, the whole family had a bit of a stomach ache and some additional bathroom issues. Since then I've been wondering if using the carrot tops had not been a good idea. Until I get more definite info, I probably will not be ingesting them. I was thinking about juicing them too - if anyone knows for sure, please post....In the meantime be careful...

  • Rochelle Frank profile image

    Rochelle Frank 

    10 years ago from California Gold Country

    I know my rabbits loved cartot greens (didn't care much about the roots).

    In thinking about using carrot tops like parsley, I guess you could use parsley in the above recipe. In fact, almost anything cooked with onion, garlic, olive oil assorted vegetables and Parmesano-reggiano cheese can hardly miss.

  • Marian Swift profile image

    Marian Swift 

    10 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

    Always looking for new foods ... thanks for the tip!

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    I usually compost them but your hub presents an alternative, thanks.

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