Reduce Your Food Waste By Growing Fruit and Vegetables From Kitchen Scraps
If bread baking and Tiger King bingeing have lost their quarantine luster, there’s a new way to spend your quarantine time. And it’s the healthiest one yet. What if your vegetables could re-grow indefinitely? No, it’s not a manufactured sci-fi vegetable from the future. It’s a pretty routine gardening hack that saves money, reduces food waste, and keeps a fresh supply of healthy veggies in your kitchen every day of the week. And it’s easy.
Here’s the good news: You don’t have to be a gardening expert to regrow vegetables. (You don’t have to be an expert to grow from seed, either.) Depending on what you regrow, you can do this in your kitchen, or, eventually, relocate the vegetables to your garden.
1. Leafy Vegetables
Leafy greens are the healthiest foods you can put on your plate. Full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, if you’re going to prioritize a singular food group, go with greens. It’s easy to opt for the pre-bagged greens but it’s even easier to grow your own. Whether romaine lettuce, celery, napa, or even bok choy cabbage, you can use that inedible base to sprout up healthy new greens. Simply place the cut off base where the leaves or ribs all connect and put the cut side up in a small dish or tray with about a ½ inch of water (or about half as much water as the height of the core). Regularly change the water and within a few days, you should have fresh new greens. Move these to the garden too once they have roots.
2. Root Greens
Turnip and beet greens are incredibly healthy and versatile. And like other leafy greens can re-grow too, even though they’re technically root veggies. When cutting fresh turnips or beets, leave about a half-inch of the vegetable top in half—not the stringy root but the top where the greens grow. Place cut-side down in half as much water and change regularly. Fresh greens will appear soon.
3. Bulb Vegetables
Green onions, leeks, and fennel can regrow easily, too. Cut down to the inedible white roots, and like with the leafy green cores, place them cut-side up in water halfway to the top. Then, refresh the water regularly. You can regrow from onion and garlic bulbs, too. But plant them directly in soil, not water. Cover the root base and keep the top exposed. Remember: the root is the scraggly hard part, not the pointy tips! Have a garlic bulb that already sprouted? If you see that green shoot pushing out through your bulb, place the garlic in a small amount of water and it will start to regrow. Then you can transfer to soil.
Store-bought cilantro, basil, and parsley can re-root in a few days. Remove leaves toward the bottom of the stems and place in (warm) water like you would a bouquet of flowers. After the roots start to grow in a few weeks, you can plant in soil. Herbs like lots of sun and water but can grow quite a lot in the right environment!
Okay so don’t expect a ripe, juicy pineapple to regrow in two weeks, but there’s merit in this one. After the oh-so-satisfying twisting off of the pineapple top, pop it into some water or soil. It should root in a matter of weeks. You won’t see fruit anytime soon, but you will have a lovely houseplant. And if conditions are good, in a few years, you could actually have a pineapple, too!