Stop! When you get back from the market and are trying to find places for all of the beautiful produce you bought (or the ones that are fresh from your garden), don’t throw away those root tops. The tops of carrots, radishes, turnips, and beets, for example, are packed with nutrients (sometimes more than the root itself) --and are delicious! They can be used to make pestos, as greens to spice up your salad, sauteed, or my favorite way, in soups. I particularly like them in soups because it is a great way to make a huge pile of greens get small fast--and you can always freeze it for later. Root veggies are a great way to double your value!
Root tops from several bunches like carrots, turnips, radishes, and beets (you can also add any of your favorite greens like kale and spinach), chopped coarsely
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 onion, chopped
4 cups chicken/vegetable stock
1 lemon, juiced
1 bunch cilantro, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
Optional: 1 cup feta cheese
1. Add oil and onion to a large pot and cook over medium/high heat until onions are translucent
2. Add stock and sweet potato and cook over medium/high heat until sweet potatoes are soft
3. Add the greens to the pot and cook for about two minutes (do not overcook, you want the greens to stay green!)
4. Remove from heat, add the cilantro and lemon juice
5. Add batches of the mixture to a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender if you have one, and blend until smooth
6. Add salt and pepper to taste
7. Optional: Sprinkle with feta cheese
Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutients:
Root tops and greens commonly share similar nutritional values.
- Vitamin A (turnip, beet, carrot and radish greens) - required for maintaining healthy mucusa and skin and is essential for vision. Foods rich in this vitamin are known to offer protection against lung and oral cavity cancers
- Vitamin C (turnip greens) - powerful water-soluble antioxidant which helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
- Vitamin K (beet greens) - Promotes bone health and limits neuronal damage in the brain; reducing the effects of Alzheimer's disease.
- Beta-carotene: converted into vitamin A inside the human body
- B-complex vitamins (turnip greens) - aids metabolic practices
- Iron (all) - required for cellular oxidation and red blood cell formation
- Calcium (radish greens) - promotes bone strength, as well as the heart, muscles and nerves need calcium to function properly
Did you know?
Approximately 30 million tons of sugar beets are grown and harvested in the U.S. each year. Worldwide, sugar beet production production averages close to 300 million tons, with the Russian Federation, France, United States, and Germany among the leading
sugar beet producers.