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Reduce food waste - eat your carrot greens

Reduce food waste - eat your carrot greens

Food waste is a huge concern in America, and here at stasher it's definitely on our radar. As a country, we throw away billions of pounds of food every year— enough to feed roughly 84% of our population. When you also consider the fact that 42 million Americans live in food insecure households, our food waste problem just doesn't make sense. Every little thing we can to do reduce waste helps.

To that end, one of our favorite cooking tips is to use your greens. Edible parts of a plant are often discarded, which is a total shame. Today we are going to talk about root greens— carrot greens to be specific. The leafy tops of fresh carrots are packed with Vitamin C (six times more than the root!) and other nutrients that benefit your heart, bones and kidneys and inhibit the growth of tumorous cells.  

Ways to eat carrot greens

We’ve used them a few ways in the recipes below. But before we get into that, get inspired by all the ways you can eat carrot greens. You can turn them into pesto, cutting out the need to buy basil. They make a great addition to any green salad or tabbouleh salad with their bright and crisp flavor. But one of our favorite ways to use them is as a parsley replacement. They are hearty and chop up nicely for a garnish or even to freshen your breath.

When buying carrots with the intention of also using the greens, be sure the greens are free of mold, decay, or aren't overly browning. Once carrots are picked, those greens will wilt pretty quickly, so don't let them sit in the fridge. You can keep them fresher longer by storing them in a stasher, which is great for extending the life of other herbs like cilantro and dill. 

The recipes below will use an entire bunch of carrots, greens included! They are great for a school or work lunch, or just to have ready for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking dinner. We walk you through creating carrot chips, a yogurt salad, and some dressed up mac n cheese. 

eat carrot greens

Ingredients

1 10.5 ounce box mac n cheese (plus butter or milk for the cheese sauce)

1 bunch of very large carrots with greens (the larger the diameter, the bigger the chips)

1 teaspoon olive oil

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup Greek yogurt, vanilla

2 cups champagne grapes

2 cucumbers

1 sweet apple (braeburn, honeycrisp, or gala)

1 teaspoon chia seeds

Instructions

  1. Cut the greens off the carrots and remove any bad spots or wilted leaves. Loosely chop them, and add them to a large bowl filled with water. Add in 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and swish them around. Drain the greens and thoroughly rinse them. 
  1. Dry the greens with a salad spinner or pat them dry with a dish towel. 
  1. Finely chop the greens by hand or by running them in a food processor.
  1. Cook the mac n cheese per the box instructions. Once the pasta has been tossed with the cheese sauce, fold in 1 tablespoon of the chopped greens. You can certainly use more, but you may want to add it gradually to taste. Store the pasta in a stasher bag and you are set.

eat carrot greens

  1. Let's make some chips. These baked carrot chips are a great alternative to potato chips— a fun snack, and a lot healthier. Cut the carrots into ⅛-inch slices, cutting at an angle for the largest diameter possible as they will shrink a little when baked. A mandoline slicer works really well to get even slices.
  1. Toss the carrot slices with the olive oil and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Lay them out on a lined baking sheet in a single layer, or use a rack if you have one. Bake the carrots in a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the edges begin to turn up and crisp.
    eat carrot greens
  1. Remove the carrots from the oven and sprinkle with remaining salt. Let them fully cool before storing them in a stasher bag.
  1. Now for one of our favorite salads. Trim and peel the cucumbers. Halve them and scrape out the seeds with a spoon, then chop the cucumber into half-inch pieces.
  1. Add the chopped cucumber to a large mixing bowl, along with the yogurt and grapes.
  1. Core and slice up the apple, also chopping it up into pieces similar in size to the cucumber. 
  1. Add the chopped apple, chia seeds and 1/4 cup of finely chopped carrot greens to the mixing bowl. Mix until well combined.

eat carrot greens

  1. Store in a large stasher bag, but press out any extra air before sealing.

Enjoy! What are your favorite ways to eat carrot greens??

This post was written for stasher by Jerry Jerry Stone. Jerry has also contributed to Discovery Channel, Whole Foods Market and TreeHugger. Send him a tweet @jerryjamesstone. 

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