When your carrot seeds grow into tiny plants, about four inches tall, you’ll need to thin them. You’ll be pulling small, frail, or over-planted seedlings which are perfectly edible. Those plants you thin out may not become mature carrots, but you can still eat them; thinned plants needn’t go to waste.
Once your carrots have sprouted and are about two or three months along, you can begin to harvest them if you like. Obviously, early harvesting will impact your long-term harvest, but pulling your plants at this point offers both delicious, edible greens and tiny, tasty baby carrots, as well.
To pull your sprouts, and attendant baby carrots, simply:
- Loosen the soil around the base of the greens.
- Insert a garden fork a couple of inches from the plant.
- Pull the fork toward you and away from the carrot.
- Now that you’ve loosened the roots of your carrot, grasp the base of the greens firmly.
- Pull gently but firmly until the sprout and the small carrot come loose.
Using a twisting motion, remove the sprouted greens from the root, and store the baby carrots in a cool place.
Now your sprouts are out of the garden, it’s time to enjoy them; wash them carefully, then add to green salads, or even potato or macaroni salad. You can use your carrot sprouts in soups or stews, too. Add them as you would any other green (like dill or rosemary) to your cooking pot, or as a garnish when serving.
Carrot sprouts can be dehydrated, too, for use throughout the year. Dried carrot greens can be used just like fresh, adding flavor and color to anything you add them to.
It’s unfortunate that there is limited information on the nutritional value of carrot sprouts, however, they do contain many of the same qualities of carrots. Eating sprouts adds chlorophyll to your diet, which has many benefits.
In addition, carotene and vitamin A are also plentiful in all parts of the carrot plant. The carrot sprout also offers fiber; it is extremely low in sodium and contains no cholesterol.