One of the easiest and best ways to make the most out of your vegetables is to re-grow them. It’s one of the best ways to make your dollar go further while minimizing food waste. Of course, we always try to get the most out of all of our groceries and vegetables and fruits make it easy!
If you’re part of our My Food Box subscription, then you know that the produce we provide varies in each box. Sometimes you’ll be able to use all of it in your recipes and sometimes you might find yourself with a little extra and right before it goes bad – don’t worry, it happens to all of us.
Luckily, many of the things included in My Food Box can be re-grown and eaten again. It’s so convenient and also helps you know you don’t waste a dime while feeding yourself or your family.
One of the biggest benefits of growing your own vegetables from scraps is that you ensure that you always have these items on hand! Think of how convenient it would be to shop for produce. And in your own home!
There are more than 25 fruits and vegetables you can grow from scrap and we will try and group them together to make it more digestible (get it?).
When we think of root vegetables, we think of things like onion, garlic, beets, potatoes and carrots. Root vegetables are ideal for re-growing because there is no guesswork where the roots will come out. Ingredients like onion and garlic are very common in a lot of our recipes, so it’s nice to have them on hand whenever we need them. Plus, we know that they are grown without pesticides and other chemicals.
Most root vegetables are propagated by cutting off the “top” or root and either planting it in soil or putting it in water. Onions, for example, can be planted directly in the soil and new bulbs will begin to grow while green onions do better in water. Green onions are the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to growing vegetables from scrap.
Potatoes can be placed whole in the ground or you can suspend them in water until roots sprout. The green offshoots can then be transplanted to a garden and will make their very own potatoes. Sweet potatoes can be propagated similarly, although after you see how beautiful the sweet potato vines are, you might consider just keeping them as decor.
Since we live in Colorado, you will be able to grow these vegetables indoor in the winter as well! Keep them away from cool drafts and in a sunny spot and they will thrive. There’s nothing better than having a year-round garden!
Leafy greens like cabbage, lettuce, fennel and box choy can all be re-grown from their base as well as celery and lemongrass. We love re-growing leafy greens from scraps because they grow so quickly and can feasibly replenish before the next time we need them.
If you have an old head of lettuce or cabbage, all you need to do is cut off the bad parts and leave about one to two inches above the base. Then you put it in a shallow dish with water and in just a few days you will see new growth! Immediate gratification can be nice and growing leafy greens from scraps will give you exactly that. Plus, they will just keep re-growing until you don’t want them anymore, so it’s a very sustainable veggie to grow in your home.
If you are trying to have leafy greens year-round, then it’s best to keep them indoor as opposed to taking them outside during the warmer months.
It’s not just vegetables you can grow from scraps, you can repurpose your fruits as well! After all, most of the produce that we eat came from seeds at one point – it only makes sense that we can repurpose the seeds we get from our fruits. Cherries, apples, peaches, lemons, pumpkins and tomatoes are all examples of fruits that you can re-grow.
Other than cherries, all you have to do is remove the seeds from the fruit and allow them to dry completely before planting them in the soil. Remember that fruit trees do not produce fruit in the same year that they are first grown, so planting fruit is a more long-term commitment. It’ll be worth it in a couple of years when you have your very own peach tree though. Cherries need to have their pits germinate for 12 weeks which can be done by potting them in tight soil and refrigerating them.
An exception to the seed rule is pineapple which can be re-grown by cutting the top off and either suspending it above water or planting it directly in the soil. Generally speaking, most things prefer to be planted in soil because of all the nutrients it provides.
While herbs can technically be considered leafy greens, we think they deserve their own category because they serve a completely different purpose and you re-grow them differently than the other greens we mentioned. Herbs like basil, cilantro and rosemary can all be re-grown so that you can have your own indoor herb garden. All you have to do is make sure you have at least 3-4 inches of the stem that you can place in water, ideally in a window sill or somewhere with similar light.
After a few weeks, you will notice small roots shooting out from the stem, and once those appear, you are clear to replant them in soil. You’ll see that these will grow fairly quickly so you’ll be able to have your first harvest sooner rather than later. You can grow these inside year-round so you always have herbs available.
We hope this article gave you all the tips and tricks you need to start re-growing your vegetable scraps. Maximize your dollar and minimize food waste. We consider that a win-win!