Waste Not Wednesday
Did you know that Americans throw away so much food, it is the equivalent of going to the grocery store, buying three bags of groceries, and immediately putting one in the garbage?! That kind of blows my mind so I am trying to do what I can at my house to prevent some of that waste.
And now, one Wednesday a month, my goal is to show you some delicious ways to prevent some of that food from going in the garbage at your house too.
Today's Waste Not Wednesday :: Carrots
Do you buy your carrots in those beautiful bunches with the long carrot tops attached? Some grocers offer to remove and discard them as you are checking out, but don't let them do that! Carrot tops are delicious and full of great nutrients.
However, you will still want to remove the carrot tops from the carrots as soon as you get them home. The tops continue to pull from the roots (otherwise known as the carrot!) to support themselves, leaving the carrots nutrient and moisture depleted.
Treat the tops like herbs by washing them and wrapping them in a paper or thin kitchen towel and store in a plastic or reusable bag. They will store this way for several weeks, especially if they are organically grown.
When you have a couple of bunches worth of tops, it is time to make my favorite condiment:
Carrot Top Pesto
4 cups carrot tops, leaves and tender stems, washed really well (they hold dirt!)
1 cup parsley leaves and tender stems
1/2 cup basil leaves, optional
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pepitas, toasted
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 T red pepper flakes
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
2 tsp salt
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until roughly chopped. It may be necessary to add the carrot tops and parsley in batches to get them all to fit in the jar.
2. Blend until the mixture looks like roughly chopped herbs, as opposed to a smooth green sauce. Over-blending will make the garlic strong and spicy.
3. Adjust seasoning as desired and store in airtight containers or jars under refrigeration, up to 4 months.
4. Serve dolloped on top of scrambled eggs, smeared on toast, or added to your favorite pasta dish.
And then there are the carrots. Of course you can snack on them, incorporate them into salads, stews, and other meals. But what happens when you have too many and they are starting to get limp in the refrigerator? Don't waste them!
Recently, I had a stockpile of carrots that I wasn't working through quickly enough and was brainstorming what I could do with them. I wondered if I could make jam out of carrots, much like tomato or onion jam.
Turns out it is not only possible, but delicious!
I am calling this one a Carrot Marmalade because of the texture. I added some sweet baking flavors and found that it is absolutely delicious on toast with mascarpone (or lebneh) and pistachios - it combines all of the sweet, salty, creamy, crunchy components that I crave.
8 cups shredded carrots
3 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
4 cups water
3 star anise pods
1 T vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh)
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. In a dutch oven or other heavy, oven-safe pan with a lid, add the carrots, sugar, salt, water and anise.
3. Bake the carrot mixture for 3-4 hours or until the carrots are translucent and jammy. Stir occasionally, and add more water if it is starting to dry out and brown too much.
4. Meanwhile, sterilize approximately 3 quart-sized mason jars and lids (or other size desired). I like to use the dishwasher for easy sterilization.
5. When the marmalade looks thick and jammy, stir in the vanilla and lemon juice. If the mixture seems too thick, stir in some boiling water (it is important to keep the mixture hot).
6. Carefully spoon the very hot marmalade into the prepared jars and clean the rim with a clean, wet towel. Secure the lid and turn the jar upside down to heat the lid and pull a vacuum. Store in a cool and dark place up to 1 year.
* If you are concerned your mixture wasn't hot enough, pasteurize the jars in boiling water for 5 minutes, or simply store under refrigeration.
* I like to bake my jams, preserves and marmalades because it keeps my stovetop splatter free and the risk of burning is far less.
Interested in learning more about how to use the items that are wilting in your fridge? I offer cooking classes, both in-person and virtually, and can help you get creative with your ingredients. Just send me a note at hello @ tiffanysageswan dot com!