Don’t toss away those food scraps! Give your vegetables a second chance at life by regrowing them right in your own kitchen. You’ll also reduce food waste and save money in the long run with these simple tips for letting produce sprout anew from leftover produce remnants. Who knew creating your own indoor garden was this easy?
Green onions are one of the quickest and easiest veggies to regrow, and you may never need to buy them again. When slicing a bunch, save the last two inches of the stock, including the roots, and place them in a jar or glass with about a half-inch of water. Set in a warm, sunny spot and watch your green onions regrow in a matter of days. Replace with fresh water every few days to keep your green onions growing and growing.
Similar to green onions, you can save the root ends, place them in a glass with a couple inches of water and wait for your favourite Thai flavouring to regrow.
Alas, the orange part of the carrot is a taproot and can’t actually be regrown, but you can add the leafy top to your kitchen garden. Simply slice off the top of the carrot, about one inch thick. Place the piece, cut side down, into a bowl or jar with one inch of water. Set it in a sunny spot and water it every day. Harvest the greens for salad toppings, or sauté them with your other favourite veggies.
You only need the stalk of the mushroom for this fun kitchen garden experiment. Cover the stalk in soil, leaving only a little piece poking out of the top, and water it every couple of days. Voila! You’ll be sprouting a new crop of robust mushrooms in no time.
You can regrow bell peppers (and hot peppers) from the leftover seeds. Plant a few of them in a small pot filled with soil, and keep on a windowsill in direct sunlight. As a head’s up, peppers can sprout rather quickly but are relatively low-maintenance, so you’ll have a new crop in no time!
To grow potatoes from scraps, simply slice them into two pieces, letting them sit at room temperature overnight until they’re completely dry. If you plant them roughly one foot apart in soil you should see results within a few weeks.
Save those giant avocado pits and grow your own avocado tree! (No, we’re not kidding.) Clean off the pit, push four evenly-spaced toothpicks into it and balance the pit over a glass jar filled with water. Place in direct sunlight and change the water every two days. Within a couple weeks, the pit will split open and stems will start to take root. As a bonus, considering the price tag on avocados, you’ll be saving yourself money in the long run.
If you live for fresh ginger, try growing your own supply. Start by soaking a piece of ginger overnight in a glass of water, then plant it in a wide, shallow pot about two inches into the soil. Water it well and set it in a place where it can get indirect sunlight. After a few weeks, you’ll see the plant begin to sprout, and in three to four months, you can harvest. Replant a piece for a never-ending supply when sore-throat season hits!
Next time you’re whipping up a crisp Caesar salad, leave the base of your lettuce intact. Place it in a shallow dish with a bit of water and set in a spot with lots of sunlight, and it will start to sprout lettuce leaves. It may not grow into a full head of lettuce, but you’ll get just enough for a light salad, or a hearty BLT.
Forget about trying to find bok choy at your local grocery store. Create your own home supply by using the same method as lettuce. When you go to harvest, take the outer leaves first and let the inner, smaller ones grow bigger.
Similarly, you can regrow celery from the bottom two inches of the base. It loves the same set-up as lettuce: shallow pan, a little water and direct sunlight. You’ll have crisp stalks to snack on in no time!
Pineapple can take two to three years of growing, but if you’re looking for a tropical house plant that will eventually bear fruit, this one is for you. Slice off the leafy green top of the pineapple and remove all the fruit until you see the root bud. Place in a glass of water and let it rest in a sunny place until the roots grow, then transplant to a pot with soil. You’ll have the beginnings of your own tropical oasis.
There’s more than one way to turn a clove of sprouting garlic into even more. If you love garlic sprouts, you can set the clove in an inch of water and place in a sunny window. As the sprouts grow, snip and sauté them for a fragrant side dish. You can also pop that garlic clove into a pot of soil and in a few months, it will grow into a whole head.
Cilantro and Basil
Make a summer’s supply of basil or cilantro from your store-bought scraps. Take one long stem and strip the leaves from the bottom, leaving some at the top. Place the stem in a glass of water and set in a sunny spot, changing the water every few days until roots start to grow. Plant them in a pot with soil, and watch as it grows into a bush of pesto-worthy basil in no time.
Instead of toasting or tossing those pumpkin seeds from your gourds, rinse them and then soak them in warm water for a few hours. Plant them about an inch deep in a pot of soil and wait for your pumpkin plants to grow.