Surprising Edibles in your Garden, and a recipe.
This poor, neglected “blog” page has been sitting here for far too long without single entry. I’m going to change that! Here at Southlands we are passionate about many things, not least of which is cooking. And we are also passionate about reducing waste, and educating people about surprisingly edible plants.
Today I want to introduce to you a friendly little nutrient-packed food that most people don’t even realize is edible: Carrot tops! These lovely, lacy greens are delicious and abundant, especially when you have your own carrots growing in the garden. For the longest time, I just discarded them! Now that I know they’re edible, I have developed a few recipes with which to use these fancy freebies, which I’ll share with you below.
Carrot greens, like all greens, contain alkaloids which are toxic in (very) large amounts. So don’t base your entire diet around carrot greens. But this rule also applies to spinach, kale, and virtually every other leafy green and/or any food at all, so don’t be afraid! In small amounts they are super healthy, and are loaded with vitamin C and other vitamins/minerals.
*Disclaimer: Wild carrots do have an identical lookalike which is extremely poisonous - poison hemlock. So please only consume carrot greens that you’ve either grown yourself or bought from a farmers market or supermarket! Don’t try to harvest wild ones!
And one more scrumptious surprise you may have hiding in your garden: Garlic scapes! These are becoming a bit more commonplace at farmers markets and the like, but many people still don’t realize that these twirly, pungent green stalks that grow from the tops of garlic plants are edible, and in fact delicious and loaded with all the same good stuff that garlic is (albeit slightly less potent than the bulb itself).
Without further ado…
Carrot Top & Garlic Scape Pesto
(Please note that my proportions may be a bit off - I usually cook with abandon and don't bother with measuring cups and spoons! This is just my best estimate. Feel free to tweak.)
½ cup packed carrot tops (without stems)
½ cup dandelion leaves
1 cup packed basil leaves
1 cup olive oil
½ cup walnuts or pine nuts
½ cup grated parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
2-3 garlic scapes, chopped into 1 inch pieces
Few tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Throw all ingredients into a food processor or powerful blender and away you go! It will store for about 1 week in fridge.
Some other variations:
Throw in any of the following, either in place of carrot greens, dandelions, or basil, or in addition to them:
-Kale (will go bad faster than the other varieties - but great if you’re eating it all in one go!)
-Radish Greens (also edible! Kinda prickly raw but great in pesto)
-Stinging Nettle (also kinda prickly and stingy but that goes away if briefly blanched and blended!)
Oh, the possibilities.