what to do with carrot tops
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Exploring the Unsung Culinary Uses of Carrot Tops

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Jan. 27 2021, Published 3:10 p.m. ET

Carrots are a delicious, nutritious, low-calorie vegetable source with plenty vitamins and minerals. They are rich in beta carotene (unsurprisingly), fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots also contain very little fat, and the tops contain no fat at all. 

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You may think there's nothing to do with carrot tops, but we’re about to show you some delicious zero-waste ways to use one of the world’s yummiest, most unsung veggies.

what to do with carrot tops
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How to eat a carrot top:

They may look like little more than garnish, but we assure you that carrot tops are completely edible — and delicious. You can treat them as an herb, a salad green, or as a soup ingredient. But before diving into cooking carrot greens, determine which ones to eat by running your hand along the stems to release the smallest, tenderest ones — thick stems will tend to be tough and might not be as tasty, which you're better off tossing in the kitchen compost bin

What do carrot tops taste like?

Some describe carrot greens as having a “root vegetable” flavor, similar to Swiss chard, beet greens, while others liken the taste to an unusual combination of parsley and carrots. Either way, they are a delicious ingredient that is sure to brighten up the flavors of any dish you add them to. 

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what to do with carrot tops
Source: Getty Images

How do I cook carrot tops?

Carrot greens can be sautéed with garlic, added to carrot fritters, and veggie burgers, or minced up and mixed into a bright pesto or zesty chimichurri sauce. Zestful Kitchen has this great recipe for carrot top pesto, and they meld perfectly with soups, stews, and broths  — tossing them into a pot of minestrone, along with celery leaves and other vegetable scraps is a fabulous "compost" meal.

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Carrot tops can also be a wonderful addition to garden and tabouli salads, where they lend their unique freshness to an assortment of other flavors. Bottom line; carrot greens are great and great for you, so cook em’ if ya got em’.

what to do with carrot tops
Source: Getty Images
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Do carrot tops have any nutritional value?

According to the World Carrot Museum (yes, you read that correctly) it isn’t just the meaty parts of the carrots that are packed with nutrition. Carrot tops contain significant amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and iron. They're also rich in dietary fiber, which is good for digestion and nutrient absorption, as well as carotenoids, which are good for your eyes.

Are carrot tops compostable?

Even if you don't plan on eating them, carrot tops don't have to go to waste. Carrot greens, along with most vegetable scraps, are great sources of nitrogen for a working compost bin. You could also try regrowing them. According to Gardening Channel, all you need to do to replant carrots is cut the carrot about one inch of the root (orange part) and the carrot top and plant the whole thing. You should be able to see visible growth in a few short days.

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