Many people don’t realize that the leafy green tops of most vegetables are not only edible, they also enhance your body’s ability to fight disease.
In general, if you can eat the root, you can also eat the part that grows above the ground. There are a couple of notable exceptions. Never consume the leaves of potatoes or rhubarb. Both are toxic and poisonous.
However, you can (and should) eat the leaves of turnips, beets, radishes, carrots, and celery. Many grocers actually chop off the tops and throw them away, because customers either find the complete plant to be ugly or think that they are paying for greens which are not usable.
If you want to save money, then stop throwing food in the garbage!
This post is sponsored by Garden Spot Vegetable Farm. Located in Princeville, Illinois, owner, Jim Buckley and his family, cultivate 34 acres of vegetables and 375 fruit trees. Garden Spot is a no-spray farm, offering a variety of CSA packages. Check their Facebook page for current programs and options for available produce.
Let’s get started, by talking about ways to use beet, carrot, and radish greens.
What’s so great about beet greens?
Beet greens provide over 300% of your daily Vitamin K allowance and nearly 50% of Vitamin A. It’s also a great plant-based source of iron. With a huge amount of fiber, the humble beet green will keep food moving through you and insure your colon cleans itself regularly.
- Vegan White Bean Sharshuka (recipe calls for kale. I subbed beet greens)
- Smoky Sweet Black Eyed Peas (I loved the smoky flavor of the black eyed peas)
- Spicy Beet Greens Crostini
- Baked Beet Green Chips
- Red Lentil Soup with Beet Greens (I got requests for seconds on this dish!)
- Creamy Beet Green Chopped Salad
- Beet Barley Bowls with Beet Green Pesto
What’s so great about carrot tops?
The nutritional benefits of carrots are well known. So, the tops may seem humble, in comparison. However, the tops contain six times more vitamin C than the root. It also boasts a healthy amount of potassium and calcium.
How to store carrot tops for long-term use
Carrot tops can be placed in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer. When the tops are frozen, remove and place in a labeled freezer bag. Frozen greens can be stored and used for up to 6 months.
Dehydrating is a second, and really easy option. Place greens in a single layer on dehydrator trays and dehydrate at the herb (95-100 degree) setting until totally dry. You can also use your oven or microwave to safely and easily dehydrate carrot tops.
Carrot Top Recipes
- Carrot Top Sabzi (Refreshing change of pace. I loved it).
- Carrot Top Pesto (Very unique flavor! We spread it on homemade tortillas).
- Carrot Top Hummus
- Carrot Top Pesto Potato Salad
What’s so great about radish greens?
The deep green color means that they are rich in antioxidants, providing protection against a whole range of diseases. You’ll also get a healthy dose of vitamin C and calcium. They have long been used in Indian cooking and are appreciated for their medicinal qualities. When brewed, radish green tea helps purify your blood and flush out toxins.
From personal experience, I will advise you to not let the slightly furry nature of some radish leaves put you off from using them. After they are cooked, you really can’t notice it at all.
- No–Oil Vegan Radish Leaf Pesto (my recipe)
- Mint and Radish Greens Pesto Pasta Salad
- Sauteed Radishes and Radish Greens
- Radish Top Soup