10 Foods You Can Regrow From Scraps In Your Kitchen
Challenge yourself to regrow food from kitchen scraps. It’s a fun science project for a rainy day or free time with the kids who will love checking the plants’ daily progress.
In addition, you might be surprised by how much money can be saved by allowing this method to generate an endless supply of certain fruit and vegetables. Plus, in some cases, yields quicker results than growing from seed and is certainly eco-friendly.
Here is a list of common fruit and vegetables that are likely to regrow with minimal effort.
Growing ginger (pictured above) indoors is an excellent solution for those who want to enjoy its flavors year-round or who live in colder climates where it won’t thrive in the garden. It’s possible to cut a little here and there off of the plant as it’s growing. The other good news is that it can handle shade and partial sun for those who lack a ton of natural light in the kitchen.
It is best to find ginger that is organic as conventional ginger has often been sprayed with a growth inhibitor to prevent it from sprouting in store. Ginger prefers shallow, wide pots. Plant spare ginger with buds facing upward. New shoots and roots should form in a week or so which is when you can pull the ginger out of the dirt for use and restart the growing process.
Remember how fun it was to stick toothpicks into potatoes and suspend them in a glass of water? You could certainly do that for show. However, an easier way is to slice off a section of the potato that has an eye on it and simply replant it. This is a great way to get some mileage out of those potatoes in the big bags that you didn’t have time to eat. Sweet potatoes require being cut in half and suspended in water (like an avocado, below) in order for roots to form prior to replanting.
Think about this next time you’re whipping guacamole and chips… It is surprisingly easy to grow an avocado tree from seed. Rinse the seed (which if placed in guac also helps keep it from turning brown) but be careful not to remove any of the protective brown skin. Identify which end of the seed is the bottom where the roots will sprout, which is the flatter end. If the seed happens to be more round than oblong, the bottom can be more difficult to identify in which case it pays to take note of which direction the seed is facing when removing it from the avocado.
Pierce the seed with three toothpicks to hold the bottom of the seed in a glass of water. To prevent mold and fungus growth, the water will need to be changed regularly and it’s especially important that the bottom of the does not dry out. Roots will eventually emerge from the bottom of the avocado seed and a plant will sprout from the top. It’s O.K. to plant your seedling when the sprouted plant reaches about 6″ tall.
Save the bottom (leave it about 2″ tall) next time a recipe calls for chopping celery as it’s easy to sprout a new plant in just a week’s time. Set it in a shallow dish of water, place it in a sunny (but not scorching hot) location and be sure the change the water daily. You’ll quickly notice that the celery plant’s inner stalks will begin to regrow and form another plant.
Replant in a container or straight into the ground. From here it will take several months for the plant to mature. Celery requires moist soil and organic fertilizer to thrive.
5. Green Onions
Green onions are widely considered the easiest kitchen scrap to regrow. Use the green and save the white ends. Cover them with water in a glass. It’s important to change the water to keep the roots from getting slimy. Within about a week or so, you should have entirely new green onion stalks. This is an excellent way to have a consistent supply.
If you have a difficult time finding lemongrass—a staple in Thai cooking and many teas—growing your own can save trips to specialty stores. Simply place leftover root in a glass or bowl of water and let it bask in sunlight. New growth should occur in about a week. Then, it’s time to plant it in a container.
Take a 4″ piece of basil cut below a leaf node. Make sure that it hasn’t yet flowered, which means the plant is at the end of its life span. Place the cutting in a glass of water and move it to a sunny spot. Change the water every few days and small roots will begin to form over the course of 2-4 weeks. When the roots reach a few inches in length, go ahead and transfer the plant to a container. It’s best to keep it indoors or gradually acclimate it to a spot in the garden.
Save a handful of raw pumpkin seeds (do not roast them) and plant them in the backyard. Easy.
Here’s a fun to-do after Halloween is over… plant your entire pumpkin. Yes, apparently, digging a big enough hole to submerge an entire pumpkin (be sure to fill the hollowed-out interior with dirt, too) might just sprout an entirely new plant.
Regrowing carrots is a very easy thing to do but here is the thing… you can regrow the greens but not the root vegetable. So why would you regrow carrots? It’s an easy project for the kids and the greens are edible in salads. Have a pet rabbit? He or she will love munching on the greens.
All that is necessary is the very top of the carrot (as pictured above) placed in a shallow plate of water that is changed regularly. Transplant the carrot tops when roots appear.
Here is an easy way to add an exotic look to your yard but there is one tricky part. Grab the pineapple leaves and twist to separate the crown from the pineapple. Simply cutting off the top won’t work because too much flesh will be attached. The flesh will rot and kill any chances of regrowing the plant.
Pull off a few inches of leaves from the bottom and let the rest dry out for a days. You’ll then want to submerge the bottom of the crown into a large glass of water. In about several weeks, roots should appear and then it’s time to transplant the crown to the garden.
What kitchen scraps do you like to regrow?
Photo credits: ginger, Flickr/bensonkua; potatoes, Flickr/[email protected]; avocado seed, Flickr/kibrly; celery, Flickr/lizard10979; green onions, Flickr/gurms; lemongrass, Flickr/andrea_nguyen; basil, Flickr/roeshad; pumpkin, Flickr/rkramer62; carrots, Flickr/[email protected]; pineapple, Flickr/infomastern