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‘All The Parts’

In the past, I chopped them off and threw them out. Like beet stalks or the tough bottoms of broccoli, they’re useless right?

As I’ve mentioned before, wasting/throwing out good food is something that makes my should cringe a little (or a lot) so over the years I’ve tried to make sure I use most, if not all, parts of the food I purchase…or acquire.

The latest batch of garden carrots I received included the tops. Along with beet greens and stems, off to the oven on trays they went.

Carrot tops can be used as a stand-in for herbs, as a beautiful garnish to any dish, straight-up as a part of any salad, dried or throwing into a smoothie for added vitamins.

They contain six times the amount of vitamin C compared to that of the root (the actual carrot). They are also high in vitamin K.

Besides C and K, carrot leaves are rich in β-carotene, fibers and minerals such as Na (sodium), P (phosphorus), K (potassium), Ca (calcium), Mg (magnesium), Mn (manganese), Zn (zinc), and Fe (iron).

Slightly bitter in taste, they are often discarded and viewed as unusable but as you can tell, they offer many health and nutritional benefits.

I dried mine in the oven on the lowest possible temperature for about 3 hours. Because I had beet greens on there too, it took longer and I’m thinking had I done them on their own, the carrot tops probably could have been in for only 1–2 hours.

Tonight, along with making choke cherry juice, I put a batch of carrots in the dehydrator. Buying a dehydrator is one of the best low-cost investments to your kitchen that you will ever purchase. Properly dried food keeps well, long and maintains it’s nutritional and health properties.

Air drying on screens is also a solid option though I’m admittedly impatient with that sort of stuff and can’t be bothered to wait 3–4 days. Maybe one day ;).

With the large batch of fresh salsa combined with the 25 salmon we cleaned the other day, we are making progress on this year’s harvest.

Freezing tomatoes and making butternut squash/chicken mulligatawny soup is up next tomorrow, pickles hopefully before the cucumbers go bad and I’d like to do some beets. There’s still the pumpkin I have on the table which may go into a pie as I have some frozen dough to use that I made up the other week.

There’s nothing like enjoying ‘garden-fresh’ bounty in the middle of winter and being able to keep our immune systems up with vitamins straight from the source so I’m doing my best to use all the parts of all the good stuff.

-Becky

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