Carrot Daze in the Garden!

I love to garden!  To malaprop Winston Churchill’s quote, “There is something good about the inside of a garden that is good for the inside of a person!”

Since this year has been such a strange, difficult one, and most especially because there was a period of a few months that I was blessed to be able to work from home, not only was I was closer to my garden, but I also often had quite a bit of free time!  Bonus!  Of course, I wasn’t the only one, and it seemed every single trip to the nursery or hardware store I seemingly bumped into every single other person in town with the same ‘working from home’ blessing as me!  Yay us, for making good use of our time and doing something constructive!

One of the planting choices I made was carrots!  We eat ‘em…they’re so good for you! According to Healthline.com, “The carrot (Daucus carota) is a root vegetable often claimed to be the perfect health food. It is crunchy, tasty, and highly nutritious. Carrots are a particularly good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. They also have a number of health benefits. They’re a weight-loss-friendly food and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health.What’s more, their carotene antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer. Carrots are found in many colors, including yellow, white, orange, red, and purple. Orange carrots get their bright color from beta carotene, an antioxidant that your body converts into vitamin A.”

What’s not to love, right?!  Well, I happily spend days preparing the raised garden, adding good gardening soil, purchasing the perfect seeds for our desert climate, and finally sprinkling those tiny things in two rows!  Sigh…good times!  However, I underestimated how much of an area each little packet of seeds would cover, and found myself with a few leftover packets.  ‘What the heck, I’ll just add them in…what’s a few more carrots?’ I thought.  ‘Some of them probably won’t take, anyway…’

Every. Single. Seed. Grew!  I ended up with an amazing carpet of furry green carrot tops!  The only problem is that if the carrots themselves don’t have enough room to grow and stretch out…they won’t!  And I didn’t hardly have the heart to thin them out that much…poor little plants were working hard to grow, and I was supposed to yank them out and toss them to the birds and ants?  (Note: I’m not exactly a novice gardener…I think somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew I was making a big mistake!)

Long story short, I ended up with tons of carrot tops and lots of tiny little carrots!  So, of course I got to thinking…surely something can be done with all those gorgeous carrot tops!  I grabbed my phone and Googled “Carrot tops” and VOILA!  Of course there is!  Probably hundreds of different recipes for Pesto! And no, they are not toxic, and yes, they are nutritious! : While bitter greens add a depth of flavour and complexity, they also aid digestion. There has been little research on the health benefits of carrot tops, but they are rich in nutrients, containing around six times more vitamin C than the root, as well as lots of potassium, calcium and phytonutrients. https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/jan/12/carrot-tops-chimichurri-waste-not-leftovers-tom-hunt

I share with you one of the best, tastiest recipes I’ve had the pleasure of making, from Simplyrecipes.com (link provided below!) I actually substituted walnuts for the cashews, and added about ½ cup of shredded parmesan cheese!  It’s simply amazing! And it’s so very easy, makes so much, and can be frozen!  So I’m thinking I might just overplant again next year…!

Carrot Top Pesto

https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/carrot_top_pesto/#recipe77275

Don’t throw away those carrot tops! Make this delicious carrot top pesto with them to toss with pasta, beans, or eat straight up as a dip.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup of pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (packed, about 40 g) carrot top greens, tough stems removed
  • 1 cup (packed, about 40 g) baby spinach
  • 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (63 g) roasted unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) extra virgin olive oil

Special equipment:

  • Food processor

Method

1 Prep the carrot tops: Rinse the carrot top greens to dislodge any dirt. Pick out and discard any dry, yellowed, or otherwise unappetizing looking leaves. Discard tough stems.

2 Pulse greens, garlic, cashews, salt, pepper in food processor: Place the carrot tops greens, baby spinach, chopped garlic, roasted cashews, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse several times. Scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula.

3 Slowly add the olive oil: While the food processor is running, slowly pour in the olive oil in a steady stream. Scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula. Pulse until smooth.

from Simply Recipes ~ https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/carrot_top_pesto/

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