Don't throw out those peels, cores and cuttings after you make a delish veggie dish. Get one step closer to a sustainable lifestyle, learn to garden and boost your fresh produce intake by growing those scraps into new, edible plants—without spending a dime. Sounds like a win-win! These are my six favorite vegetables to regrow from kitchen cuttings.
These pungent green stalks make a tasty addition to soups, salads and dips. Next time you buy green onions at the grocery store, cut off the white end. Plant this piece, which should be about 1 inch long, in a small pot filled with good soil. Make sure you put the side of the onion about 1/2-inch deep with the tiny roots facing downward. Keep the pot in the sun and give it plenty of water. Within just a week or two, you'll be able to snip off the new green growth, wash the onions, chop and enjoy! You can also try this method to regrow lemongrass, fennel and leeks. Because it's so simple, this is a great project for beginning gardeners as well as little ones.
Next time you have a salad, place extra lettuce leaves in a large bowl with a small amount of water. Put the bowl in the sun and moisten the leaves once or twice a week. You'll start to see new roots and leaves grow within a few days. Transfer the roots into soil, either in the ground or in a pot, to grow a brand-new head of lettuce. This technique also works wonders for cabbage and bok choy. Even if you don't transplant the lettuce leaves, you can still dine on the new growth and save some money at the grocery store.
To regrow onions, cut off a 1-inch-thick piece of the root base. Plant it directly in potting soil, either in a container or in the ground outdoors. Keep the top of the onion scrap exposed to the light and keep the soil moist. You'll have a new onion in about three to four months, or you can trim and use the greens that emerge.
Chop 2 inches off the base of your celery. Place this portion in a bowl filled with water. Moisten the top of the celery with a spray bottle every day and switch out the water every few days. Once you notice new roots emerge, you can transplant the celery into the ground. The process usually takes five to seven days from cutting to potting.
It couldn't be easier to regrow garlic. Next time you buy a bulb, remove a few cloves to plant in the garden or in a pot. Place the cloves 4 to 6 inches apart with the pointy side up. If you plant your garlic in a container, you can harvest garlic greens all year long. These tasty treats can be used in any recipe as a substitute for green onions. If you plant the garlic outdoors, do so in early fall before frost occurs in your area. The following fall, you'll be able to harvest fresh garlic bulbs.
Basil and Cilantro
Fresh herbs are expensive when you buy them at the grocery store. Next time you purchase these pricey plants, remove the stems and bottom leaves. Place them in a cup of warm water with the cut side facing down and place it in the sun. When you notice roots growing, you can transfer your basil or cilantro to the garden or a pot to get the full benefit of these culinary delights.
These six selections are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to regrowing your garden scraps. Once you get in the groove, there's no end to the ways you can limit your waste and get creative with veggies.