If you use a lot of vegetables in your cooking, chances are you probably end up with some vegetable scraps that you don’t know what to do with. Although we typically think of these odd parts as the pieces of vegetable that we can’t eat in our actual meal, they’re actually much more useful than that if you’re a little resourceful. As it turns out, you can actually regrow your own vegetables from these scraps if you know what to do—and it works with a wide range of common veggies!
Today, we’re bringing you a complete guide to regrowing your own vegetables out of whatever scraps you have lying around. Although a couple of these examples may need a little bit more space outside or in a pot of its own, most of these can be done right in the kitchen in either a glass of water or a tiny window planter. With that in mind, here are 10 ways to regrow common veggies and herbs.
If you’ve bought a big head of lettuce before, you’ve probably noticed the root end of it which looks like a thick nub. When making salads, we typically just tear leaves away until all that’s left is a strange middle chunk and this root part. As it turns out, you can re-use it. As you cut your lettuce, leave about two inches of the base intact and set the stump in a glass with half an inch of water in it. Put in the sunlight and be sure to change the water every day. In about five to seven days, new leaves should be sprouting and roots will be coming out! Transfer it to a pot or into the soil and you can start taking leaves off after they’re six to eight inches tall.
2. Mint and Basil
Fresh mint and basil are very useful to have in the kitchen as they can make many a dish taste more delicious. But they’re also expensive to buy repeatedly. To cut down on costs, cut about three inches away from a fresh stem and remove any leaves that are on the bottom two inches. Put the cut stems in a cup of water with the leaves above the surface. Once it grows some roots and is about two inches tall, you can switch it over to soil for fresh new leaves.
3. Green Onion
Once again, green onions are very delicious as a food topping but they also go bad pretty quickly if we’re not paying attention. To keep making your own, trim the bottom two inches of these onions off and keep them in a half-inch of water with sunlight. Change the water every other day and it should begin to grow. After five to seven days, you can either move it into soil or keep it in the water for convenience!
Anyone who’s looking for a healthy snack knows just how useful celery dipped in peanut butter can be. Re-using these scraps is a lot like lettuce: keep the bottom two inches and put it in a glass with half an inch of water in sunlight. Change the water every other day and in five to seven days, the center leave should have turned a deeper green. Once you see that change, move it into soil and harvest when it has full stalks.
Keeping this one requires you to also cut your onions correctly. To do os, you’ll need to keep the base root intact and cut around it during your prep work. Regardless, keep one to two inches of the root and plant it with a thin layer of soil covering the cut off top layer. Eventually, some green tops will break the surface of the soil and fall over, at which point the onion is good to harvest.
If you’re anything like us, you probably use garlic in almost every recipe you make. To grow it yourself, just pull one clove off of a head of garlic and plant it with its roots facing downward in soil. Make sure it’s in direct sunlight, either in a bright window or outside in the sun. Eventually, it will grow new shoots—cut these back and it will produce a bulb that you can re-use over and over again.
7. Bean Sprouts
Bean sprouts are a nice salad topping that comes packed with plenty of nutritional benefits. Fortunately, growing them is pretty simple. All you have to do is soak a tablespoon of your beans in a jar with about half an inch of water. Leave it out overnight and in the morning, drain the water and put your beans back in their container. Cover it with a towel overnight and rinse them again in the morning. Repeat this process until sprouts begin to appear and you’re all set!
Avocados are a particularly delicious and particularly expensive addition to your kitchen. But did you know you can grow them yourself? All you have to do is take the seed out of one of your avocados and use some toothpicks to suspend it over water in jar or bowl (with the bottom half of the seed covered in water). Put it somewhere warm but not in direct sunlight, checking the water every day and adding to it as necessary. Though it may take up to six weeks, eventually it’ll sprout a stem that can grow up to six inches. Trim it to three and wait for leaves to appear before planting it in the soil!
Because ginger is basically all root anyway, it’s very easy to grow new ginger to use. All you have to do is keep a knob of the original root and keep some of the eye buds pointing upwards, planting it shallowly in some soil. If you water it lightly, it’ll produce new shoots in a couple weeks. In a few months, you can harvest a little bit of the root at a time.
Finally, cilantro is another simple one to do in a glass. Once again, leave a couple inches of the stem behind and put the bottom of it in a glass with an inch or two of water. Leave it on a sunny windowsill and once the roots grow a few inches long, transplant it into a pot. You should have some new sprigs of cilantro in just a few weeks!
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