CSA Hack
6
min read

Don't Throw Away Those Greens! How to Use Every Part of Your CSA Veggies

Did you know that many of the vegetable greens that you get from your CSA box are edible and delicious? We’ll show you how to use these uncommonly used vegetable parts to make tasty dishes and reduce your food waste. Read on and get ready to eat your greens!
March 18, 2024

When you receive your CSA (community supported agriculture) produce box from Green Heart Garden, you might be tempted to toss away some of the greens that come attached to your veggies. After all, who eats carrot tops or beet greens, right? Well, you might be surprised to learn that these greens are not only edible, but also nutritious and flavorful. By using these greens, you can get more value from your CSA membership, enjoy a variety of dishes, and help the environment by reducing your food waste.

Vegetable greens are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. They can help boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, improve your digestion, and protect your cells from damage. They also add color, texture, and flavor to your meals. You can use them in salads, soups, pestos, sauces, stir-fries, smoothies, and more. The possibilities are endless!

Edible Vegetable Greens

Carrot Greens

Don't be fooled by their humble appearance. Carrot greens are more than just a by-product of your favorite root vegetable. They are a powerhouse of nutrition and flavor, with a hint of bitterness and earthiness, similar to parsley. Carrot greens are packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and calcium, which can help support your immune system, blood clotting, nerve function, and bone health.

One of the best ways to use carrot greens is to make a pesto out of them. Simply blend them with garlic, nuts, cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and you have a versatile sauce that you can use for pasta, sandwiches, salads, roasted vegetables, and more. You can also chop them and add them to soups, stews, or stocks, or use them as a garnish for dishes. To store carrot greens, cut them off from the carrots and wrap them in a damp paper towel. Keep them in the fridge for up to a week.

Beet Greens

Beet greens are often overlooked, but they are a delicious and nutritious part of the beet plant. They have a mild and sweet flavor, similar to spinach, but with a bit more texture and bite. Beet greens are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and folate, which can help protect your eyesight, skin, immunity, blood cells, and DNA.

One of the easiest ways to use beet greens is to make a soup out of them. Simply sauté them with onion, garlic, and spices, then add broth, potatoes, and cream, and simmer until tender. You can also sauté them with garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice, or add them to salads, smoothies, or quiches. To store beet greens, cut them off from the beets and place them in a plastic bag. Keep them in the fridge for up to a week.

A bowl full of delicious, fresh beet greens, one of the many types of unexpectedly edible root vegetable greens that you may find in your CSA produce box

Radish Greens

Radish greens are not just a decoration. They are a spicy and peppery addition to your meals, with a flavor similar to arugula. Radish greens are high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium, and phosphorus, which can help boost your metabolism, energy, bone health, and nerve function.

One of the funnest ways to use radish greens is to make a salsa out of them. Simply chop them and mix them with tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, and salt, and you have a zesty dip that you can enjoy with tortilla chips, tacos, or grilled meats. You can also blend them with yogurt, garlic, and salt to make a creamy dip, or add them to salads, sandwiches, or omelets. To store radish greens, cut them off from the radishes and place them in a plastic bag. Keep them in the fridge for up to a week.

Turnip Greens

Turnip greens are a classic Southern staple, but they can also be enjoyed by anyone who loves a slightly bitter and mustardy green. They have a flavor similar to kale, but with a softer texture and a more complex taste. Turnip greens are loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and calcium, which can help support your vision, immunity, blood clotting, and bone health.

A great use for turnip greens is to boil them with ham, onion, and vinegar, and serve them with cornbread. This is a hearty and comforting dish that will warm you up on a cold day. You can also make a casserole out of them, by baking them with cheese, eggs, and bread crumbs. You can also add them to salads, soups, or curries. To store turnip greens, cut them off from the turnips and place them in a plastic bag. Keep them in the fridge for up to a week.

Celery Leaves

Celery leaves are often discarded, but they are a crisp and refreshing part of the celery plant. They have a flavor similar to celery, but with a more delicate and herbal note. Celery leaves are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and antioxidants, which can help fight inflammation, infection, and oxidative stress.

A wonderfully refreshing way to use celery leaves is to make a salad out of them. Simply toss them with apple, walnuts, and mayonnaise or yogurt, and you have a crunchy and sweet salad that you can enjoy as a side dish or a snack. You can also chop them and add them to soups, stews, or stocks, or use them as a garnish for dishes. To store celery leaves, keep them attached to the celery stalks and wrap them in a damp paper towel. Keep them in the fridge for up to a week.

Nasturtium Leaves

You won’t find nasturtiums in your CSA box, but you may just have them growing in your own garden without even realizing that they’re edible! The leaves have a tangy and peppery flavor, similar to watercress, but with a more floral and citrusy aroma. Nasturtium leaves are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and antioxidants, which can help enhance your immunity, skin, and cellular health.

One of the most colorful ways to use nasturtiums is to add both the flowers and leaves to a salad. Simply decorate them with nasturtium flowers and dress them with honey and mustard, and you have a stunning and delicious salad that you can serve as a starter or a main course. You can also stuff them with cheese, nuts, or herbs, or add them to sandwiches, wraps, or pizzas. To store nasturtium leaves, place them in a plastic bag and keep them in the fridge for up to a week.

A beautifully colorful salad made with nasturtium flowers and leaves

Your Leafy Green Adventure Awaits!

As you can see, the CSA box from your local farm is a treasure trove of not just fresh vegetables, but also a variety of edible greens that are often overlooked. These greens are not only a flavorful addition to your meals, but also a powerhouse of nutrition. By using these greens, you can maximize the value of your CSA membership, diversify your diet, and contribute to a more sustainable food system.

Remember, every part of your produce has potential. From carrot tops to beet greens, each offers unique flavors and nutritional benefits. So, the next time you receive your CSA box, don’t throw away those greens. Instead, see them as an opportunity to explore new recipes, enjoy a variety of tastes, and make the most of your farm-fresh produce. Happy cooking and eating!

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