Can You Eat Carrot Greens? And What to Do With Them?

Think twice before you toss those carrot tops.

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If you're throwing out those bright green, bushy carrot tops every time you buy carrots, you're missing out! Carrot greens are not only safe to eat — they're packed with nutrients and earthy flavor. Learn what to do with carrot tops in place of other herbs and leafy greens, and we'll dispel that myth that they're somehow poisonous.

Can You Eat Carrot Greens?

If you've heard the rumors that carrot tops are poisonous (and even deadly) it's understandable as to why you'd toss them. But these rumors are just that — rumors. Carrot greens and tops are not poisonous, and they are most certainly edible.

Carrot greens do contain alkaloids, but so does nearly every leafy green vegetable. Alkaloids are chemical compounds that serve as the plant's defense mechanism against pathogens. While some alkaloids can be toxic to humans in gross amounts, the amount of alkaloids found in many of our foods (including carrot greens) is not enough to be effective.

Others point to the bitter flavor of carrot greens as a sign that they are unsafe to eat, but many vegetables we regularly consume have a bitter flavor, such as radicchio, brussels sprouts, kale, and arugula.

In fact, their bitter flavor is what makes carrot tops so unique for use in the kitchen. They can be enjoyed raw or cooked (cooking them will soften the bitterness), and bring an earthy flavor to all sorts of savory dishes.

multi colored carrots with greens attached
Meredith

How to Store Carrot Greens

Start by trimming the stems at about two inches from the top of the carrots. Be sure to thoroughly wash the carrot tops, as they can have quite a lot of dirt in the greens. Then either pat them down to dry or use a salad spinner to remove excess water.

Wrap them in slightly damp paper towels to keep them fresh, and seal them in a plastic bag. Refrigerate and use within several days.

What to Do With Carrot Greens

Use carrot greens in place of other fresh herbs such as parsley or basil. Drizzle Maple-Roasted Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto to truly make the most of this root vegetable. You can also add them to soups in place of other leafy greens, like in this Vegan Carrot-Top Vegetable Soup. Or use them in place of salad greens, like in this Carrot Greens Salad with Sesame Seeds. Try stirring them into stir-fries or tossing them in salads to add contrasting flavor (much like you would with arugula).

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