Juicing Carrot Tops

Photo credit: Rebecca Schear

Can you juice carrot greens?

The simple answer is… There is no simple answer. Wikipedia lists the greens as an edible leaf vegetable and many other sources, mention carrot greens as a good source of vitamin K.  Meanwhile, this document published by the Oregon Health & Science University on food safety categorizes carrot greens as mildly toxic.

Carrot greens contain alkaloids which give them a bitter taste. While bitter does not necessarily equate to being toxic, alkaloids in large doses can be toxic.  Alkaloids such as caffeine and nicotine are two common examples.  These substances are toxic at high levels but are widely used by millions of people each day.   The same is true for carrot greens.  There is no shortage of carrot top recipes, so, plenty of people are eating them and living to talk about it.

Of course, like many foods, there are substances that people are allergic to and carrot greens are no exception.  In fact, some of the phytochemicals in carrot greens can cause a condition in some people called phytophotodermatitis, which makes skin that comes in contact with the juice from greens hypersensitive to ultraviolet light.  Another reaction that is often reported is a perceived swelling or numbness of the mouth and throat after consuming carrot greens.  All of this probably stems from the carrots own defense mechanism. The chemicals in the greens that some of us are sensitive to are there to protect the carrot from being eaten by insects and other animals.  Lucky for us, the carrot has not had time to adequately defend itself against the hoe.

About Chris Bede

I have always been interested in nutrition and health topics and the scientific aspects of nutrition on health, well-being and longevity.