The Canny Gardener

how to be a smart gardener

Throw away delights

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Carrot leaves are often left attached to new season carrots to keep them fresh and taste better.  Thanks to a badly researched article, ‘The Toxic Salad’ in the New York Times published in July 2009, people assumed that carrot leaves are poisonous and ought to be thrown away.  However, people in India have been eating carrot leaves for centuries and being the world’s second largest population, a lot of Indians would have been dead and we have had certainly heard about it.

The reality is that they are very edible and loaded with vitamins and minerals. The New York Times article alluded to the presence of alkaloids in carrot tops that could make them ‘slightly dangerous for consumption’.  But alkaloids are a substance found throughout nearly every green leafy vegetable.  Indians use all types of spinach and leaves for cooking.

Having watched my mother cook carrot leaves, this is my easy recipe for carrot leaf dish. Just remember to use the leaves as soon as you can because they turn yellow and inedible soon.

As you see in the photo, I received 6 carrots in my organic vegetable delivery.  I used all the leaves shown here plus two of the carrots.  The alkaloids give a slightly bitter taste to the leaves (just many other greens) so I used the carrot itself to give the dish sweetness.

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Ingredients: A pinch of each of these- cumin seeds, fenugreek and onion seeds. One level table spoon of turmeric. A pinch of sugar. Salt to taste. Water. A tablespoons of oil for cooking.  I also added some chopped potatoes but you don’t have to.

Wash and chop the leaves. Peel the carrots and cut them into sticks (or any other shape you fancy!).

Heat the oil and add the spices.  When they ‘fatten’, add the leaves, the carrots and potatoes, turmeric, salt and sugar.  Add a little bit of the water and cover.  Do watch and add more water if the dish dries up during cooking otherwise the leaves will stick.  When the carrots and potatoes are done, then the greens are done too.

Eat with rice or wraps.  Healthy food at throwaway price!

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Author: Sumita

Sumita is an architect and artist, enthusiastic about living sustainably. She is passionate in her belief that everything should have more than one use. Sumita founded an environmental design charity, Charushila, which has created kitchen garden projects around the world

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