What to Do with these Beautiful Carrot Greens?This year, for the first time, I signed up for a regular CSA share. Every week brings some new seasonal, fresh, local treats. And so I found myself one recent Tuesday afternoon, holding a bunch of carrots. These carrots...these carrots had greens. Lots and lots of greens. Rather inviting tasty-looking greens, actually.
I’m still sorta new at this habit of buying directly from the farmer, and honestly I had never in my life held such a big beautiful bunch of carrot greens. I thought to myself, Lorrie wouldn’t have given me all these greens if they weren’t good for something, would she?
I wasn’t sure what to do with them, though, and turned to the internet for info and ideas. I found plenty of options out there, assuring me that yes, these lovely soft piles of green really were nutritious and edible.
Quite a few recipes were for pesto. Pesto? But pine nuts are too expensive. Walnuts. Oh, I have walnuts. Toast them? OK.That I can do. Olive oil, garlic, parmesan... this sounded promising. I selected the Carrot Top Pesto recipe from www.culinate.com and got to work. (But I almost never follow a recipe exactly. I used cheap parmesan. It worked out fine.)
I had the pasta already made. While the walnuts were in the oven, I washed the greens and trimmed them from the stems. I was pulsing them in the food processor with all the goodies when -- Wait! What? The power’s going out? But I need to chop this delicious stuff all together! With a whir my house woke pack up. Yes, it’s back on! Pulse, pulse… No! It’s out again. I had just long enough to start thinking about pulling out a knife and chopping it all up by hand, and then…It’s back on! Quick! Finish the pesto! Yes, it’s done! On cue, the power cut out again, this time for real. And there I was with dinner made, glad I had started cooking early.
In the soft evening light, I sat down with my boys for a lovely pasta dinner. And…. they liked it! They were actually eating carrot greens and smiling. And hey, no power means nobody trying to race away from dinner to get back to a video game. Quite the pleasant family hour.
The next day I prepped up some more, and stocked it in my freezer. When I received more carrots two weeks later, I made more pesto, serving some over roasted carrots and spooning more of it onto hamburgers. Delightful and satisfying. I always enjoy it when I feel like what I’m putting on my table rivals what I would get at a good restaurant.
This dish is not all that hard to make. And now I also know I can make it a day ahead. That’s good, since I never know when the power might go out.
Alison Mee is living and learning with her family in West Virginia. Her favorite reasons for eating local are that less fossil fuels are burned due to less transportation being required, and that it fosters a deeper connection to the land. Among her many gifts and talents, she organizes the local chapter of Peace Jam International. It is an organization that brings the youth of the world together with Nobel Peace Prize winners, for education, inspiration, and action. They fix stuff, and have fun. This group is for youth ages 13-18, and usually meets at the Mountain Community Center, near Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Click here to learn more!