Growing Vegetables just got a lot spicier and dicier!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t hesitate before throwing my vegetable scraps into the compost bin. I’m doing my bit for the planet, right? I’m turning my scraps into rich compost. But it turns out that all along we could have been turning our humble food scraps into wholesome goods. While it doesn’t work for ALL fruits and vegetables, there is a lengthy list of scraps that can grow again from their leftovers. So, now we can not only enjoy our fresh produce, we can also turn it into an ever-lasting supply of food from the comfort of our own home (and garden).
Once a feared fat, avocado has slowly but surely become recognized what for it is; damn delicious and super healthy! So if, like me, you’re a fan of some avo on toast, then you’ll be happy to learn that it’s pretty easy to grow your own avocado tree from home using the leftover pit in the middle. It’s worth noting that not all avocado pits will produce roots, so you might want to try two or three seeds at once.
- The first step is to clean the avocado pit to remove any lingering avocado with some cold water, and then dry it using a towel.
- Next, grab four toothpicks and space them evenly a part into the pit. You’ll use these toothpicks to balance the pit of the avocado over the top of a glass jar.
- Fill the jar with enough water so that half of the avocado pit is submerged.
- Then place the jar into direct sunlight, changing the water every day for around 3-6 weeks. By then you should find that the top of the pit has begun to split open.
- A few weeks later, a stem, leaves and roots should begin to grow. Once the stem reaches around 7 inches in height, plant it in a pot that has plenty of drainage.
- Fill with soil and press your avocado sapling down into the soil, root-side down (leaving the top half of the pit uncovered) and then place your sapling into an area with quality sunlight and water regularly ’til them avo’s grow!
While it took me a while to develop deep affection for basil, our love has blossomed, and I now can’t be without basil in my kitchen. I’m forever making pesto sauce to pour over pasta, and basil is the star of the show. So regrowing my own basil plant? Hell to that yes.
- Gather a few basil stems that are roughly 4 inches tall. Strip away 3/4 of the leaves from around the stems, then place into a jar of water.
- Place jar in a sunny place, ensuring you change the water daily. It won’t be long before you start to notice roots are beginning to sprout up along the stems.
- When the roots are roughly 2 inches in length, it’s time to place the stems into a pot.
- Once potted, it’s important to place the basil in an area that gets around 6 hours sunshine each day, so a window sill may be the perfect home for your new basil plant.
- Water regularly, and you can begin to harvest the leaves once they’re fully grown. Please note that you won’t want to remove them ALL at once, so just take from your basil plant as you need.
3. BEAN SPROUTS
From stir-fries to wraps, bean sprouts add the perfect crunch. And you can use all kinds of beans to make sprouts, such as mung beans, alfalfa, lentils, chickpeas and even adzuki beans.
- Take your beans and soak them in a jar filled with a few inches of water.
- Leave overnight.
- Drain the water the next day and put the beans into an empty container.
- Cover with a towel.
- Rinse again the following day.
- Repeat this for the next few days until you begin to notice sprouts beginning to grow.
Who doesn’t love a crunchy carrot? I love dipping whole carrots into a tub of hummus. It’s like they were made to go together! When it comes to carrots, we tend to cut off and throw away the tops. Well, now you’ll think twice! From the top you can grow lots of yummy carrots!
- Place the top of a carrot flat side down into a bowl of water. Fill the bowl with an inch of water.
- Place the dish in the window so that it gets sunlight; change the water daily.
- The top of the carrot will eventually begin to sprout shoots. When this happens, plant the tops in some soil being careful not to cover the shoots.
- Harvest the greens until your carrots have grown to your taste.
I love throwing some celery stalks into my juicer with some apples – the combination is so delicious! So I was excited to learn that celery is considered one of the easiest foods to grow from its leftover scraps – so now I can have even more celery, hurrah!
- Cut the base of the celery off and lay it in a dish or bowl with just enough water to cover the bottom.
- Place this bowl in direct sunlight for as long as possible each day, and after around 7 days you should begin to notice leaves growing and thickening along the base.
- When this happens it’s time to transplant your celery into soil and wait for it to grow to full length.
Cilantro is a quick and easy way to add flavor to a dish. Whether you want to chop it up and top it over your tacos, or use it to infuse flavor in a curry, this potent herb is great to have on hand. And trust me when I say a little goes a long way! Like many herbs, it’s relatively easy to grow, so why not add it to your herb garden?
- Place the bottom of the cilantro stem into a glass of water.
- Place the glass near a sunny window.
- When the roots grow a few inches in length, transplant the cilantro into a pot. In just a few weeks you’ll notice new sprigs forming and voila, fresh cilantro!
Garlic can add so much flavor to dishes; I always have some in my kitchen. And when it comes to regrowing your own garlic, all you need is a single clove.
- Pull off a clove of garlic and plant it with the roots facing downwards in some soil.
- Garlic thrives when it’s under direct sunlight, so if it’s warm, be sure to keep it outdoors in the sun during the daytime.
- Once you notice new shoots, cut the shoots back and your plant will then produce a bulb. You can take part of this bulb and repeat the process to plant more garlic. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.
Ginger is something I usually forget to buy but discover I always need. It adds a lovely spiciness to smoothies, and works well to spruce up both soups and stir fries. But it’s not always cheap, so growing your own may be the budget friendly way to go!
- Pull of a chunk of ginger from a fresh chunk.
- Place the ginger chunk into potting soil, making sure the smallest bud is facing downwards.
- Plant the ginger in a garden pot that receives only indirect sunlight.
- You’ll notice the ginger will start to grow new shoots and roots; this is when it’s ready to harvest.
- Pull up the entire plant, including the roots. Remove a piece of the rhizome and then replant this again to continue your supply of fresh ginger.
9. Green onions
I live for green onions (or scallions) and am forever using them. They’re great chopped up finely in a salad or sandwich, and blending them down into green salad dressings just adds a wonderfully rich flavor! These guys are also a perfect garnish for just about any pasta dish. So before you toss out those leftovers, use them to grow more.
- Take leftover green onion roots, and place them into a glass, adding just enough water to cover them.
- Move the onions around so that the roots are pointing down.
- Change the water daily to prevent the water from becoming greasy.
- In around a weeks time, you’ll have new green onions growing! Wait until they’re fully grown and then you’ve got some green onions to use. Be sure to leave the roots in water to regrow so you have an endless supply of green onion goodness!
Lemongrass may be an ingredient that you have difficulty finding so why not regrow your own? It grows just like regular grass, so it may be the way to go.
- Cut the tops off of a bunch of lemongrass and place the stalks into some water.
- Change the water every few days.
- Over the next 2-3 weeks, you should notice roots growing. When the stems have developed a strong root growth, plant the stalks into either a pot, or your garden, in a sunny area. If you’re planting in winter months, use a pot so that it can be moved inside to keep warm.
- Once lemongrass is one foot in height, it’s time to be harvested. Simply cut off the amount you need, being careful that you don’t uproot the plant as you’ll want to grow more.
Lettuce is always great to have in your fridge. You can toss it into salads, wraps, or even juice it down. And luckily its very easy to regrow from scraps!
- When removing a lettuce leaf, be sure to leave around 1 inch at the bottom of the stem.
- When it’s ready place the stem into a shallow dish of water (1/2 inch of water should suffice) and place near to light, so on a window sill would be perfect.
- Change the water every two days and watch as your lettuce starts to grow shoots.
- When this happens your lettuce is ready to be re-homed in some soil outside where it will hopefully grow into delicious and fresh salad greens.
Mushrooms are readily available but something that has a lot of scraps, so why not turn these into your very own mushrooms from home?
- Remove the mushroom cap and keep the stalk.
- Plant these stalks in a mixture of compost and soil, and cover everything except for the very top of the stalks.
- Keep the mushrooms in a warm area with a lot of humidity, making sure the soil mixture is rich in nutrients. Try using a pot instead of directly in your garden as you’ll be able to control the temperature and humidity that they grow in.
- If your stalks take, new growth will happen relatively quickly. Once new mushrooms grow, you’ll be able to harvest these and repeat the whole process again.
Another great way to add flavor to dishes, we wouldn’t be without onions in our home. We chop them into literally everything! And they’re super easy to regrow from scraps! Plus they thrive whether they’re grown indoors or outdoors, so pretty much everyone can grow them whatever the season.
- Slice the end of the onion off (the part with the root) keeping half an inch of onion.
- Cover the onion with potting soil and wait for it to regenerate roots.
- Once the roots appear, remove the old onion bottom and allow the roots to fully grow.
- Harvest the onions once they’re fully grown.
Peppers can easily be regrown from their leftover seeds. When using a pepper, just collect the seeds and use these to grow your own. Peppers grow extremely fast, and they don’t require much maintenance.
- Place the seeds into some potting soil, and place under direct sunlight. If the weather is warm outside you could also plant these directly into your garden.
- Once the peppers are grown, harvest your crop and save the seeds to replant, and repeat the process all over again.
I love pineapple; it’s so wonderfully sweet and scrumptious. But while many fruits and vegetables are easy to regrow from scraps, growing pineapple is a task for those in it for the long-term commitment as it can take up to two years for a re-planted pineapple top to bear fruit. But rest assured, growing your own pineapple is extremely worthwhile, and when it does grow, you’ll be super excited!
- Select a pineapple with fresh, vibrant green leaves.
- Remove the top of the pineapple. You can do so by twisting it off; it will come off easily, and doing this will preserve the vital parts of the fruit needed for regrowth.
- Peel back the leaves around the bottom of the base, and then cut away the tip of the base to remove any excess fruit.
- Poke three to four toothpicks into the pineapple base. Aim for the area where you pulled back the leaves. Use these toothpicks to suspend the pineapple top over a glass jar.
- Add enough water into the jar to cover the base of the pineapple top.
- Leave the pineapple in a sunny area, making sure to change the water every few days.
- In about a week, the roots should begin to form. The green leaves should also grow longer and thicker.
- When the root is fully formed, plant the pineapple top into a planter. If you live in a warmer climate, you could also plant it straight into your garden, ensuring it’s exposed to both sunlight and water regularly.
- It can take a few months, but you’ll eventually find a pineapple growing.
Potatoes are such a household staple, and yet we waste potential potato growth by throwing out our potato scraps! All you need to regrow potatoes is the peel, so long as the peels have eyes on them.
- Cut your potato peels into two inch pieces, making sure that each scrap has at least 2-3 eyes on them.
- Let the peel sit in room temperature overnight (or for a few days) until they’ve dried out.
- Take your scraps and plant them in 6-8 inches of soil, making sure they’re at least one foot apart from one another.
- When planting, be sure that the eyes are facing upwards.
- It may take weeks for the potatoes to begin to grow, but after several months your potatoes will be ready to be harvested.
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