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9 Vegetable Parts You Probably Didn’t Know Are Safe For Consumption

Vegetable scraps aren't only fit for compost making or preparing stock, they can be enjoyed individually too. From carrot tops to broccoli leaves, there are numerous parts of vegetables that are commonly discarded because many people don't know that they are edible. Read on to know more.

By Cookist

Enjoy the perks of sustainable living by employing the use of every part of your vegetables instead of discarding them. Here's a compilation of 9 vegetables and parts of them that you didn't know are safe for consumption:

Sweet potato leaves


The leaves of the sweet potato plant possess a mild flavor and are in surplus amounts during summer. You don't have to wait for the potatoes to mature before harvesting the leaves which means that they are available throughout the season. The stems and leaves are both edible and turn silky soft when cooked just like spinach. They can be used to make soups and stir-fry.

Pepper leaves

It may be hard to believe but the leaves of sweet pepper and hot pepper plants are safe for consumption. They contain lower amounts of capsaicin and are therefore more tolerable than the peppers themselves. You can incorporate pepper leaves into oriental dishes as well as braised and stir-fries.

Leek tops


Leek tops are commonly discarded and it doesn't help that they are usually dirty. But, they only require thorough cleaning and they'll be ready for cooking! Cook this dark green end of leeks in a few tablespoons of oil, tossing and turning over medium flame until they’re soft and fragrant.

Cucumber leaves

Fresh, crisp cucumber sprouts have a mild flavor and they easily take on the flavor of other components of any dish they're added to. Just make sure you don't over-pick the leaves, to avoid stunting the growth of the cucumbers.

Carrot tops


Experts have established that unlike common belief, carrot tops are not toxic. Although their strong and earthy flavor may not suit some people's taste preferences, they remain perfectly edible. Carrot greens can be used as a condiment like in carrot top salsa, to make salads or cooked alongside other food items, in soups, and pasta.

Broccoli leaves

The billowy leaves of broccoli are actually a vegetable in their own right and should be cooked using similar methods like other tough greens. They make ideal options for sautéed salad bowls, soups, stir-fries, and braised dishes because of their mild flavor.

Radish tops


The tops of spring and summer radishes as well as winter radishes are safe for consumption just like other greens. Winter radishes come with the perk of being available throughout the season as they continuously grow after being plucked — even their seeds can be pickled to make a delicious snack.

Squash shoots

The entire part of the squash plant is edible regardless of the stage of growth it may be at, from sprout to fruit. To harvest, snip off the last few inches of the squash vine where you see new growth. This cluster of stems and leaves is called a squash shoot, and it’s the most tender part of the vine. Remove the tendrils and cook the rest.

Tomato leaves


Last but not least are tomato leaves which are best used in small amounts in sauces, soups, and salads because of their potent and distinctive flavor. You can also add them to tomato sauces for a dash of flavor.

Now that's sustainable living at its best!

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