Waste Not, Want Not: Eating and Using Thinned Veg

Thinning vegetables is sometimes a necessity if you want to allow some of the plants to develop full-sized roots. This month, many gardeners will be thinning carrots, beetroots and other root vegetables. Many will end up simply placing those tiny thinned vegetables on the compost heap. But at this time of year you will often find that the plants you are thinning are large enough to make a tasty snack. Before you simply discard the plants you have thinned, consider using them in the kitchen. By using them sensibly, you could well end up with a more substantial amount of food than you might have imagined.

Baby CarrotsCarrots thinned at this time of year will often be around the size of your little finger or even slightly larger. You should not throw these away but should use them creatively. They can be added to add a little extra crunch to a summer salad, combined with, for example, courgettes, to create tasty fritters, or simply added to a slaw made with other crops such as cabbage, kohlrabi, Chinese vegetables and or beetroot, finely grated. The whole baby carrots, even those on the smaller side, can pack a punch when it comes to home grown taste.

Baby BeetrootBaby beetroot thinned to allow others space to grow may seem fiddly and not worth while. But you should definitely not throw out these little globes as they are one of the most delicious bonus crops around this time of year. The little muddy balls can be boiled, mud and all for around twenty minutes. Do not forget to remove the delicious leaves before doing so, these can be eaten too, either in a salad or cooked along the same lines as chard or spinach. Once boiled, the baby beetroot will pop really easily right out of their skins and can be eaten warm or cold, in a huge variety of different dishes.

KohlrabiKohlrabi are another crop that might be thinned. The small kohlrabi, around the same size as the baby beetroot perhaps, can also be eaten. They can be enjoyed cooked or raw and are particularly fresh and delicious when simply grated and added to a slaw or salad.

Whenever you do anything in your garden you should consider the no-waste philosophy. Another example of this would be that when you cut off sideshoots from your tomato plants, you might wish to consider planting these. With or without rooting powder, some of these could take root. It is worth trying to grow new plants rather than throwing them away and there is nothing lost if they do not take.

Did you know – several vegetables will re-grow from a stump – spring onions for example. Use the whole onion except for a tiny section with the roots on, then place it in water and a whole new spring onion will sprout up.

Try not to waste any of the resources in your garden and make the most of everything you grow.