I do love springtime in Michigan. It’s a time when the second largest exporter (under California) of produce starts to wake and all the goodies and treats start becoming available. This morning, one of my urban farmer friends from ACRE Detroitposted on his Facebook that the first batch of rainbow carrots were ready for harvesting and I jumped on the opportunity to get my hands on some.
He even delivered it to my door. Such a nice guy!
The carrots themselves don’t taste much differently than regular carrots. I will say that they’re sweeter and more wonderfully intense in their flavor (although that might have more to do with the fact that the carrots are organic and were picked that morning). Still, the health benefits of magenta and purple carrots are rather immense. The coloring they get are come from the same antioxidant chemicals give blueberries their color and it’s no secret that blueberries are one of the healthiest things we can put in our mouths. The best thing about these carrots is that we already know what to do with them; they’re not as exotic as we assume. Because they taste so much like the carrots we know, we can put them in anything that demands regular carrots and reap the extra health benefits that they provide. They just make things prettier and healthier. Today, however, I didn’t make anything with the carrots themselves. I focused more on the tops.
No, I’m not going to reference the comedian for a cheap chuckle… dammit.
Carrot tops are just as edible as their roots. They can taste a little bitter, but they can be sautéed with garlic and onion or put into salads. It’s important in this case to get organic carrots if you’re going to use the tops because the pesticides used in large factory farms are hardest to get rid of in the leaves. In this case, I made a carrot-top and toasted almond pesto (because, have you seen the price of pine nuts these days?)
Carrot-Top and Toasted almond Pesto
- 2 Cups Carrot Tops
- 2 Cloves of Garlic
- 1/4 C toasted Almonds
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to proper consistency)
- Salt (to taste)
- Toast blanched almonds on a dry skillet until they slightly brown and the aroma is sweet
- Remove the leafy portion of the carrot tops from the stems
- Run the leaves though a food processor until very fine
- Add garlic cloves and run (the food processor) until garlic has been incorporated
- Add almonds and run (you’d get me by now, right? Because I mean the food processor) while pouring in the olive oil until they reach a consistency between a paste and a liquid.
- Run (…) while adding bits of salt, pausing occasionally to taste it to your preference
- Store in an airtight container for a week
- Use with pastas, poultry or fish and brag about how you performed this sorcery with the part of the carrot most people throw away
Carrot Tops – Stemmed
Carrot Top Pesto