I know I’m guilty of having wasted some of my harvests simply because I was not sure what to do with it, or I because I didn’t realize there was more to enjoy. Turns out, there’s a name for it: eating root to stem. Whether you are grocery shopping for your produce or picking it fresh from your home garden, you can use a veggie from root to stem by utilizing parts of the plant you might have otherwise thrown out or composted. Think carrot tops, broccoli stalks, and kale ribs. 

If you want to cut down on waste and gain some inspiration for eating root to stem, here are 

6 ideas for maximizing your harvest

Carrot tops: add to homemade stock, carrot top pesto, chimichurri, add to smoothies or juices. Carrot tops can taste bitter, so use them when you need a strong flavor or use sparingly as a garnish. 

Radish greens: like carrot tops, you can use these in a pesto, or chop finely and use as a herb in a vinaigrette.

Beet greens: are great added raw to a salad, sauteed in a stir fry, juiced, or sliced in a veggie slaw.

Celery leaves: mince and add to salsa, use as a garnish like parsley, or freeze to add to homemade stock. 

Broccoli/Cauliflower stalks: cube them and add to a saute or stir fry, shred into a veggie slaw, or rice them.

Kale ribs: saute or roast with balsamic vinegar and parmesan, or bake into a garden quiche. Treated right, these end up more tender than you would expect.

Remember, you can freeze tops, stems, and peels for stocks and broths if you don’t plan on using them right away. Not all veggies are created equal when making homemade broth: you’ll want to stay away from the brassica family (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), potato peels, artichokes, and squash.

Just about any part of a veggie can be seasoned and sauteed. Don’t forget zucchini and squash are easily used in sweet breads and desserts, which you can freeze for later. Next time you pick up some fresh produce, try to think outside the box and come up with new ways to enjoy more of your favorite veggies.

If you are looking for more inspiration, join the Garden to Table Membership.