You Can Eat Carrot Tops—and No, They're Not Poisonous

The popular myth of carrot tops being toxic has been perpetuated through continual hearsay and personal anecdotes. I have yet to find any scientific study that says, once and for all, carrot tops will kill us.

Much of this ballyhoo originated from a 2009 New York Times blog post where the author presented no actual evidence that they might be toxic, and whose sole source did not even claim that carrot tops were toxic.

But the rumors persist, so I thought I’d bust the most common myths I’ve seen online in the hopes that people will share the knowledge and not be afraid of these delicious and underused greens!

Myth #1: Carrot greens contain alkaloids and all alkaloids are bad because substances like caffeine and cocaine are alkaloids.


Surprise — all leafy greens (including “good for you” greens like spinach and kale) contain varying levels and types of alkaloids, some higher than others.

Myth #2: Carrots are related to Queen Anne’s lace and hemlock, which are poisonous.


Despite all of them belonging to the same family (Apiaceae, known as the parsley family), a distant relation to poison hemlock does not make carrot tops, Queen Anne’s lace, or wild parsnip poisonous.

Myth #3: Supermarkets don’t sell carrot tops, so they must be poisonous.


The reason we don’t find carrot tops more often is because even after they leave the ground, the leaves continue to draw moisture and energy from the root, so they’re removed to preserve the carrot.

Myth #4: There have been accounts of people getting sick from eating carrot greens.


All this basically means a person could have an unexpected cross-reactive allergy, food allergy, or food intolerance to carrot greens  — but that does not make them poisonous.

Myth #5: But there has to be a good reason why we (as in we in the US) don’t eat carrot tops!


Just because these plants are not culturally popular in the kitchen does not mean they’re not nutritious or can’t be eaten.

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