My first few years of gardening I dutifully planted carrot seeds in my humble garden only to be disappointed in my yields. They would take forever to grow, I wouldn't get very many, and the ones I did get would be very short and stubby.
After several frustrating carrot harvests, I gave up and took a break from them for a couple of years. It was sad really because we eat an awful lot of carrots around my house. It's definitely one of our staple vegetables.
This year I decided to try again. I planted them in my best bed in early spring under a cold frame.
To my surprise they took off! Could this really be happening? Did we actually get a good harvest of carrots this year? We did!
I could hardly believe it!
The best thing about growing carrots at home or purchasing fresh carrots is the fact that you get not only the orange part but also the vitamin C rich leafy tops. They are super healthy and have a bright flavor. It's like a two for one special!
I decided to make a carrot top pesto for the freezer, and I'm so happy I did. There are so many things to do with it once you have it in the freezer.
Ideas for using carrot top pesto
- on pasta
- in a pasta salad
- spread on chicken, fish, or pork and baked in the oven
- as a condiment on a sandwich, hot panini, or wrap
- stirred in a soup for extra flavor
I like to make several batches and freeze them in ice cube trays and then put in bags or jars for longer term storage. If you only need a sandwich topper, you can just grab one cube instead of have to defrost the entire batch.
My recipe is made without pine nuts because my daughter has a tree nut allergy and I'm always paranoid about cross contamination and a possible reaction so we just stay clear from nuts altogether. You could certainly add a couple of tablespoons of pine nuts for a more traditional pesto, and it would be delicious as well. Either way will work just fine. Now on to the recipe!
Carrot top pesto
- 2 cups carrot top leaves thick center stem removed
- 2-3 cloves garlic start with 2 and add a 3rd if desired
- ½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ tsp sea salt
- pepper to taste
- about 4 basil leaves optional
- ½ cup good olive oil start with less and work your way up until desired texture is achieved
- Pulse all dry ingredients in a food processor until well combined.
- Slowly drizzle in olive oil until desired consistency.
- Taste and adjust salt and garlic if desired.