Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Leaf-to-root means utilizing a plant from the leaves to the root. The concept helps you throw away less food and adds variety to your cooking. So you have enough energy for Bet22.

In the culinary scene, nose-to-tail has been an important concept for some time. What used to be taken for granted is becoming interesting again – utilizing an animal from head to tail. 

With plants, there’s the equivalent leaf-to-root: from leaf to root, you use every usable piece of a plant. There are several reasons why this is a good idea:

  • You avoid food waste.
  • You enrich your kitchen with new flavors and recipes.
  • You benefit from the valuable ingredients of the whole plant.

Leaf-to-root cooking works best with fresh organic vegetables:

The above-ground leaves of roots or the skins of fruits often come into contact with synthetic chemical pesticides in conventional agriculture.

Leaves become limp and rotten quite quickly. If you want to use a vegetable including the leaves, you should therefore buy it as fresh as possible. In season, you can buy good quality vegetables such as carrots or beet with leaves at the market.


With Leaf-to-Root, the name says it all. This concept focuses on what we often throw away from food, starting with the leaves. However, many vegetables have edible leaves – for example, carrots, beets, kohlrabi, cauliflower, turnips and radishes.

Young, tender leaves can be used raw. For example in a

  • salad,
  • smoothie or
  • pesto. 

Older, larger leaves are often fibrous and bitter and are therefore better suited for cooked dishes. As a substitute for leafy greens such as spinach or chard, they taste great in, for example

  • Soups and purees,
  • pasta dishes,
  • casseroles and quiches or
  • curries.


Probably the easiest step to leaf-to-root cooking: eat fruits and vegetables with their skins on. It’s easy with carrots or apples – but what about onions or asparagus? There are great leaf-to-root recipes for their skins, too.

Here’s how you can use up vegetable and fruit peels:

  • Just eat them along if they’re edible.
  • Boil vegetable peels in water to make a flavorful vegetable stock. You can also extract flavor from other vegetable waste, such as the woody parts of a broccoli stalk.
  • Many vegetable or fruit peels can be dried or made into homemade vegetable chips.
  • The peel of organic citrus fruits can be grated and frozen. If needed, you can use them to flavor both sweet and savory dishes.


In addition to peels and leaves, other plant parts have found their way into leaf-to-root cuisine. 

Blossoms and buds: There are many edible blossoms that enhance the look and taste of salads, for example. You can pickle chive or wild garlic buds. They make a delicious substitute for capers.

Stems and stalks: 

  • With leafy vegetables like chard or spinach, you can eat the stems as well. Just chop them very finely or cook them longer so that the leaves and stems end up cooked together. 
  • The stems of parsley can also be chopped and cooked.
  • For the stalks of broccoli or cauliflower, just remove the woody parts and you can cook them too. 


  • If you’re processing a squash, you can roast the pumpkin seeds.
  • The healthy papaya seeds, for example, make an exciting pepper substitute.


Not all foods can be eaten “from leaf to root.” Some plants have inedible or poisonous parts. Here’s where you should watch out:

  • Potato peels contain toxic solanine. Typically, the concentration is quite low. However, it can be different in immature, improperly stored or damaged potatoes. Peel potatoes with many shoots or green spots before you eat them.
  • The stems of tomatoes also contain solanine and are therefore not edible.
  • Some foods have a high nitrate content, especially the leaves. These include, for example, beet, leafy vegetables such as spinach or chard, fennel or radish. Since nitrate can form harmful nitrosamines in the body, you should only eat nitrate-rich foods in moderation. However, you can reduce the nitrate content if you blanch the leaves and then pour away the cooking water.
  • Rhubarb leaves contain a lot of oxalic acid, so you should not use them. Other foods such as spinach, chard and beet also contain oxalic acid. As with nitrate, you can get rid of some of the oxalic acid through the cooking water.

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