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Foods -- Vegetables

Is it safe to eat the leaves of vegetables?

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The general rule is if it is not commonly eaten, then there is probably a reason. Grape leaves - canning instructions: whole grape leaves, washed 2 tablespoons salt in 1 quart water 1 cup bottled lemon juice 1 quart water Bring salted water to a boil. Add grape leaves; blanch for 30 seconds. Drain. Form into loose rolls and place upright in pint canning jars. Add lemon juice to second quart of water and bring to a boil. Fill jars to within 1/2 inch of top with hot mixture. Seal. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. Grape leaves. Freezing instructions: Wash grape leaves. Blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds. Cool promptly in cold water. Drain. Pack into freezer containers or plastic bags. Freeze. Radish tops - do not eat. High nitrate. Rutabaga leaves - do not eat. Large quantities may cause digestive upset. Rabbit tobacco leaves - species Gnaphalium obtusifolium. Plant is safe for human use. Dried leaves can be used as an herb. Beet leaves - young tender leaves are edible. Use raw or cooked. Carrot tops - do not eat, are high in nitrate.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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