Carrot greens – yay or nay?

Carrots FP

Allright…here’s a little informal poll for your Monday! 🙂

While doing some research about toxic plants for an article I’m working on, I came across an interesting debate:  Are carrot greens really toxic, or can you chow down on them without any fear of getting sick?

I’ve read about the supposedly stomachache-inducing alkaloids they contain and their propensity to deliver contact and photodermatitis to allergic individuals due to the presence of furocoumarins…BUT there are also pages and pages of recipes and testimonials touting the nutritional value of carrot greens.

It seems, as usual, that it all might come down to how much you eat.

For my part, I’ve always discarded the tops – they’re just a tad too bitter-tasting to add to my salad bowl.  But maybe I should throw them in a stir fry instead?

Do you eat carrot greens? How do you use them in recipes?


  1. I’ve always discarded them. Rabbits like them, so I would have never thought about them being toxic, though! Perhaps, like poke salad, they must be cooked in a certain way. Interesting.

  2. I have never eaten the greens , but this piqued my interest, I have some growing in my Aquaponics system now. Not carrots just the tops. I placed a carrot top I had cut from one of mine I used in a salad, on the grow bed and it sprouted. I was wondering the same thing just a day or two ago. Be interesting to see what comes from this post.
    Thanks for posting the Question.

    • Yes, so true – there would be no way I would ever eat the ones from the grocery store! Definitely only ones I’d grown myself…although I must admit, I’m still not sure…. I would need to find a recipe that makes them taste GOOD. 🙂

  3. I’ve never eaten them but I had read somewhere that you could dye fabric with them. Last summer I started hunting farmer’s markets for carrots with tops (ours were hail victims) and all the carrots at the markets had their tops cut off. I guess they aren’t a popular part. It would be good to know if they are toxic before I put them in the dye pot.

    • Yes, I have read in several books that they make excellent dyes, although I haven’t tried it yet myself. I think the only thing you would have to worry about is if you have an allergy to them – they will cause contact dermatitis (I get it when I touch them if I’m not wearing gloves). It’s annoying, but not too much of a trouble, and nothing to worry about if you were wearing gloves. If I understand correctly, the toxicity arises out of the alkaloids that they contain, which would only be an issue if you ate them in large amounts. So I think you’re safe! If you do get a chance to make dye from them, do let me know how it turns out! I’m interested in the subject and would love to hear about the results. 🙂

    • I’m so happy you commented – it seems that there aren’t too many of us who have actually eaten them (other than a sample or two)! They are definitely chockful of vitamins, so they would be a good addition to smoothies. I guess if you blend them with other veggies and fruit, they wouldn’t be bitter-tasting. Something to consider, thanks so much!

  4. I’ve seen soup recipes with them in, and some people use them in stock here, but after trying them once I decided not to bother again! Like you say, a bit bitter….

    • I also saw some recipes on the ‘Net where people were using them in soups…I was hoping that the bitterness would be tamed by cooking, but perhaps not. I wonder what ingredient(s) would balance out the taste? Maybe I will continue to only use the roots! 🙂

    • It’s interesting how many conflicting reports I came across in books and on the ‘Net. I wonder if it’s mostly that the bitter taste has been equated with “badness,” and therefore, “toxic.” As well, there are several wild plants that resemble carrots that are indeed highly toxic and so perhaps carrot greens have gotten a nasty reputation on looks alone.

  5. I’ll just eat the orange part. There are so many wonderful veggies to eat that I am fine without adding the green part. The same goes for dandelions and pansies. ~Thea

  6. I see that the general consensus is : Good for the compost pile or the chickens maybe. I think I will go with that , I am sure another source of nitrogen in the compost pile willbe welcome. Once I get my chicken coop up and get the hens will give them some and see what their opinion of them is.

  7. A bit late on this post, but I Just ate them tonight as a substitute for parsely in a sesame quinoa chicken dish. To remove the bitterness, blanch them and dip in ice water. Wring them out and then soak for a few hours to overnight. Cut into half inch pieces (they are tough) and then add in place of parsley. Great flavor once you remove the bitterness.

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