When I lived in Maine I attended a macrobiotic cooking class. We would meet at the woman’s house (I think her name was Susan) and she would prepare a macrobiotic meal for us, while explaining what she was doing and the philosophy behind macrobiotics. Then we would all eat the meal together at the end.
She would often pick the vegetables straight from her garden - bring them in, chop them up and cook them right there, fresh as can be. One time she made a carrot dish for us, with baby carrots from her garden. She chopped the greens up as well and tossed them right into the saute. It was delicious.
Normally I don’t use wild carrots. Obviously they do have a close resemblance to their deadly family member poison hemlock (and water hemlock), both very common in this area. And though I have identified all three and feel secure in my identification, I’ve read that wild carrots just aren’t worth it. So occasionally I will pull them up and inhale the wonderful smell of carrot, and then longingly toss it aside.
Our yard is full of wild carrot this year. Wild carrot is distinguished from poison hemlock by the little hairs found up its stalk. It also smells strongly of carrot and does not have the purple mottled stalk of its deadly relative. I decided to include it in this week’s share of our Community Supported Foraging (our wild food csa.) So of course I had some myself.
Wild carrots, also called Queen Anne’s Lace, is Daucus carota, which you may recognize is the exact species of cultivated carrot. They are exactly the same plant, differentiated only in the subspecies. By the time the carrots are wild, they are white rather than orange and are much smaller (though the greens are still full and lush.) Some people are sensitive to these greens and can have a rash reaction on their skin. The greens are edible, however, just as cultivated carrot greens are.
I also like to include a recipe for each new edible in the share. Because the carrot part of the wild carrot are relatively small, I decided to include the greens in the dish. I lightly sauteed the carrots, greens and some mint from my garden in olive oil, with a little tamari and water at the end to steam. I turned off the heat and added chopped chives and garnished it with chive flower petals at the end.
Making this dish inspired me to cook some brown rice and tofu, and enjoy a delicious macrobiotic type meal reminiscent of my days in Maine (20 years ago!) And I must say: I enjoyed this wild carrot dish more than I enjoy cultivated carrots! Cultivated carrots are too sweet and mushy. These wild carrots don’t have the sweetness and they are tougher, but that only adds to them, not detracts, in my opinion.
If you are sure about your identification of wild carrot, I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did!
Recipe: Wild Carrot and Mint
- wild carrot root and greens, chopped (I used all the roots in the share - they’re so small, but only half the greens.)
- one stalk mint, leaves removed and chopped
- one chopped chive or onion grass
- chive flower (or red clover flower, petals pulled out) to garnish
- olive oil
In olive oil, saute chopped wild carrots roots for about five minutes. Then add chopped carrot greens and saute until wilted. Finally add chopped mint at very end, sauteing just a bit, adding tamari and a splash of water to steam.
Turn off heat and stir in chopped onion grass.
Remove from heat and garnish with pulled petals from red clover or chive blossom.
(Suggestion: you can also saute some red clover blossoms right into this dish, and then garnish with a fresh one at the end.)