Ugh! Am I the only that cringes when looking at the grocery bill? I feel like it just keeps creeping upwards despite my best efforts to only buy what I need. But what if the solution to saving a couple of grocery dollars lies right in your kitchen? You can regrow vegetable scraps instead of throwing them away.
Regrowing vegetables and herbs may seem like a daunting task, but it is easier than you think. I will be honest with you, though, it requires a bit of patience, but it will all be worth it when you see your efforts take root. (pun intended!)
This is a simple, no-fuss DIY project that you can turn into a family affair. My daughter, Anya, and I had such a fun time regrowing and planting our vegetables. Are you ready to flex that green thumb? Then let's get started!
Food You Can Regrow From Scraps
You don’t need a fancy setup to regrow vegetable scraps. All you need to start with is some reasonably-sized clear containers that have room for the roots to grow (I use the ever-versatile mason jar). Have some toothpicks handy (you'll soon understand why). Get some fresh water and identify a spot in your kitchen that gets plenty of sunshine. That’s it!
The aim here is to eventually transplant your sprouting scraps to a soil-filled container or pot on your windowsill or balcony garden, or right into the ground if you have an outdoor garden. Make sure to cover the roots and base area with water or soil while leaving the top part exposed.
Grow Scallions, Celery, And Leeks From Scraps
For scallions, celery, leeks, and other vegetables with bulb-like bases, start with cutting off the ends and leave at least 1 inch that can be submerged in water. If you are using a mason jar like me, insert toothpicks in vegetables like celery or sweet potatoes to create “spokes” about half an inch above the root area. This is to make sure that only the bottom part of the scrap is in water.
Insert the scrap into the water-filled jar or container and place it in an area that receives plenty of sunshine. Make a point of changing the water regularly. Roots will soon appear, and green growth will be seen at the top. Transplant once sufficient roots are established.
Regrow Vegetable Scraps: Lettuce, Cabbage, And Bok Choy
For leafy vegetables that form heads, like lettuce, cabbage, and bok choy, you need to cut off the base. Make sure you have at least one inch to work with. GardenTech advises that the cut side should be placed facing up in a shallow bowl filled with just enough water to cover the base (around ½ inch full).
Find a sunny spot for your scraps and replace the water every one to two days. Once you’ve gotten enough growth in the roots, replant in your garden.
Regrow Garlic From Scraps
Regrowing garlic is slightly different because while you can’t grow garlic bulbs in water like scallions, what you will get are slender green stalks. These sprouts are great on baked potatoes, in salads and dips, or as a garnish.
If you have a bulb that has started to sprout, put it in a bowl or jar filled with water that is enough to cover the root end without submerging the whole bulb. Otherwise, it will rot. For cloves, you can use toothpicks to create spokes that will keep it upright in the water. As always, make sure your growing vegetable gets plenty of sunshine and change the water regularly.
Here’s a handy tip from Food Revolution Network: wait until the sprouts get to at least 3 inches tall before you start using them and never snip off more than one-third of the stalk.
Onions regrow best in soil. Cut off the root end of your onion, leaving at least ½ an inch. Place it in a soil-filled container with the top part facing upwards and cover it up. Keep the soil moist by watering regularly and ensure it’s getting enough sun. Once the green stalks appear, you can transplant to your garden or just keep growing it right where it is.
Carrots, Turnips, And Beets
It's very easy to regrow vegetable scraps that are root veggies. Cut at least ½ an inch off the tops of firm, fresh vegetables. Soft ones will likely rot before they root. If the tops have leafy greens, cut off most of them and leave a ¾ inch stub.
Place these tops upright on their cut ends in a shallow bowl of water. Don't submerge the tops. Place them somewhere with enough sunlight and transfer to your garden once they have sprouted roots and greens. You may get more tops than roots, but the cut greens make a nice addition to soups and other recipes.
How To Regrow Potatoes
Just like onions, potatoes do best when regrown in soil. If you have potatoes that have already sprouted, cut out one-inch wedges that contain the sprouts. Leave the pieces to dry for one or two days.
Plant them in a pot or the garden with the potato wedge and skin fully below the soil surface and the top of the sprout showing. Water well and give lots of bright light.
If you don’t have a sprouting potato, any old regular potato will do. Take one and create “spokes” on it using toothpicks. Place the bottom of the potato in a jar filled with water. Leave the jar in a sunny area. Over time, sprouts and roots will develop. Use this process with white potatoes or sweet potatoes.
Basil, mint, rosemary, cilantro, thyme, and parsley… it’s easy to regrow these herbs.
Select several stems of your desired herb that are at least 4 inches long. Strip all the leaves from about 75 percent of each stem with a sharp knife. Put the stems in a jar of water and place in a sunny (but not too hot) location. Change the water every other day. You’ll soon notice new roots forming along the stems.
When the roots grow to about 2 inches in length, plant the individual stems in your garden and in an area that gets at least six hours of sunshine each day. Water regularly. You can start snipping for use when the herbs are fully grown but make sure you don’t remove all the leaves in one go.
Regrowing Tips and Truths:
- Keep the tops of your regrowing vegetables moist by spraying with water 1 to 2 times a week.
- While they are regrowing, keep the vegetables away from a direct heat source, like near an oven.
- Not everything takes. If it’s been a week and there’s no sign of new growth, try again.
- Regrowing enough vegetables to support your diet would take a lot of space and time. Unless you are actually growing a vegetable garden. Even then it would still be a while before you truly enjoy the benefits of your homegrown produce.
If You Liked This How To Regrow Vegetables From Scraps Article…
- You can try your hand at other DIY projects like making your own bath bombs with essential oils.
- Or mix up a bottle of herb-infused massage oil right in your kitchen.
- Want to make more eco-friendly choices in your house? Learn more about moving towards a zero-waste kitchen.
Which vegetables or herbs have you regrown successfully? Let me know in the comments!