Monday, June 2, 2014

Recipe: Carrot Top Stock

In the comments, suek writes:
Carrot top soup?? More info, please! 
We have a veggie stand about a half mile down the road. If we stop in to buy something like beets, the clerk always asks "do you want me to take the tops off?"..... NO...absolutely not....thank you. We have the beet greens for dinner that night (they don't hold very well). The beets themselves will hold way longer. 
I've never thought about using carrot tops - other than feeding them to the horses. I'm guessing ... add onions, chicken broth, salt pepper and ???? maybe celery?
Before we get to the carrot tops, let's remember that beet greens = Swiss chard. It's the same plant. One's been selected-- think Gregor Mendel-- for roots, the other for vegetative growth. 

I cannot for the life of me grow beets. But I can grow beet greens.

And now to the carrot tops.

Carrot top stock is rich. In my humble opinion, it rivals beef stock in complexity-- but is of course vegan. As Miss M notes, it has a suggestion of ginger with respect to the aroma. Color-wise, it resembles weak beef stock. (That would be real beef stock, not something made from a cube.) 

We use carrot top stock as we'd use chicken or beef stock to ground a soup or stew or casserole. 

Carrot top stock is always a seat of my pants "recipe" based on what's fresh in the garden. But I never season it with salt, pepper, etc. 

Here's the "recipe" for this Spring's Carrot Top Stock:

Carrot tops (i.e., the leaves)
Water (for the pictured greens, I used about 1.5 gallons)

All from the garden.

Place all in a really really really big pot. Bring to a boil. Simmer several hours, smashing and turning the mush around every time you walk through the kitchen. 

You know it's done when the greens are no longer green. 

That's it. 

UPDATED! No. That's not it.... .

And then... . 

Transfer the greens and herbs to a colander to drain into a bowl for an hour or so. I usually smash them around some to get all the good stuff out. And then... . Package away in freezer bags and freeze. 


  1. And then??? do you run the liquid through a colander to remove what's left of the carrot tops? Do they break down completely? Or maybe food mill them to smoothness?

    As for Chard and beets - is that a "which came first" sort of thing? I know they're related, but can't say I know much about their development.

    Why can't you grow them? as in...does the seed not sprout? do the roots not develop? does something eat them?

    My husband really likes beets. I thought I'd try growing them. Planted them. When the leaves were about 8-12" tall, something started snacking on them. It didn't look like rabbits - not down to the bottom enough. Then a couple of weeks later, I went down and discovered some neighbor's Guinea Hens by passing the green beans and going to work on the beet tops! That was a surprise! Who knew!!

    I dug up a couple about 10 days ago (right about 60 days after planting). They were _really_ wimpy. We had the greens for dinner and I tossed in the sorry roots - they might have been 1/2 inch in diameter, and longer than they were round. Other than that, nothing wrong with them.

    The small section I'm using is mostly clay. I'm adding "bought'n" garden soil - we'll see if that works for the next batch, although according to my books, it's now too warm to plant them - I should wait until August.

    In the store, the price of beets are consistently $!.99 per bunch. Usually the beet greens are leafy and about the same amount. The roots, on the other hand are normally either 2 or 4, and range from ping-pong ball size to almost tennis ball size. I mentioned to a clerk that it seemed to me that beets were _never_ featured in their sale flyer. He responded that beets weren't exactly a "door buster"....!!

    1. I updated the "recipe" with a conclusion.

      I have tried and tried to grow them for John. I've tried different places in spring and fall and it seems like I fail in different ways. They come up but bunnies eat them. I get greens but no roots or if I have roots they are as you say wimpy.

      The thing is, I have a couple of areas that I've worked really hard on to get the soil nice and loose but I just can't bring myself to turn them over to beets-- I *HATE* beets-- when I could be planting carrots or other roots in these areas.

      Maybe I should try growing some in containers this fall with potting soil. All I want is enough for John to have some pickled beets.

  2. Have you ever heard of straw bale gardens? Maybe that would be a good option for you - raise the level of the beets so that the bunnies wouldn't be tempted! In our area, people give away straw bales after Halloween/Thanksgiving. They buy them for decorations and then have to get rid of them.

    Of course, you could also buy them...but personally, that would irk me. I'm going to look for some this year and give it a try - if I can find some for free!

    1. ahhh, suek-- sometimes I forget to check my spam folder which is where you often end up. Sorry 'bout that!

      That is an excellent idea. i'll try that this fall.


Be nice. Nothing inappropriate, please.