How to regrow food from scraps
Don't toss those old potatoes or celery scraps. Put them to work and grow a kitchen garden from leftover bits and pieces.
Tue, Jul 30 2013 at 4:00 PM
The next time you’re chopping or preparing vegetables, don’t throw out the leftover pieces. Those seeds and scraps can often be regrown in your kitchen or vegetable garden, saving you money and reducing food waste.
Take a look at just a few of the many veggies you can regrow. For the best results, use organic produce because some chemicals can discourage sprouting.
Lettuce, cabbage and bok choy
Instead of discarding the base of these leafy plants, put them in a bowl of shallow water for the leaves to regrow. Place the bowl in a location with ample sunlight and occasionally mist the leaves with water. After a few days, roots and new leaves will appear and you can transplant your leafy veggie into soil.
Have some extra mung beans or wheat berries? Simply soak a few tablespoons of them in a jar or container overnight. The next day, drain the water and rinse the beans and then put them back in the container and cover it with a towel. Rinse the beans the next day and recover. Beans will likely sprout in just a day or two, but keep rinsing and recovering the beans until sprouts have reached the desired size.
Wash the seed and use a few toothpicks to suspend it (broad end down) over a container of water. The water should cover about an inch of the seed. Place the container in a warm place out of direct sunlight and add water as needed. Roots and stem will sprout in two to six weeks, and when the stem reaches 6 inches in length, cut it back to about 3 inches. When the roots are thick and the stem has leaves, plant it in soil, leaving the seed half exposed. Keep the water moist and make sure the plant gets plenty of sunlight. When the stem is 12 inches high, cut it back to 6 inches to encourage new shoots to grow.
Take a section of the ginger root and plant it in soil where it will get indirect sunlight. It grows well both indoors and outdoors. When you need ginger for a recipe, simply pull it up, harvest some of the root and then replant it.
Stick the white root base into a cup of water and place it somewhere it’ll get plenty of sunlight. Change out the water every few days, and as the onions grow, simply trim off what you need and let the plant regrow again.
Cut off the base of the celery and place it in a saucer or shallow bowl of warm water in the sun. It may take about a week for leaves to thicken and grow in the middle of the base, but once they start, you can transfer the celery to soil.
If you have extra garlic cloves lying around, plant them in soil in full sun. When a tiny stalk sprouts from the bulb, cut it off and give the garlic several weeks to fatten up.
When your potatoes start to grow eyes, cut them into 2-inch pieces that contain eyes. Let them sit out overnight so the exposed sections can dry out, and then plant them in soil about 4 inches deep, eyes facing up.
Cut the potato in half, poke toothpicks midway into the halves and rest them in a container of shallow water, cut portion facing down. Within a few days, roots will begin to grow from the bottom while stems will appear at the top. Once the sprouts have reached 4 to 5 inches in length, twist them off and set them in a shallow bowl of water. Slips will begin growing from the roots in just a couple of days, and once the roots have reached an inch long, plant them in soil.
Twist the top off the fruit and peel back the bottom leaves of the base. Once several layers of the base are exposed, cut off the tip to get ride of the excess fruit. Poke a few toothpicks into the pineapple top and use them to suspend the fruit in a container of water. Keep the container in a sunny area, and change the water out every few days, keeping it filled to just above the peeled base of the top. Roots will appear in about a week, and once they’re fully formed, transfer the plant to soil. Keep the plant inside unless you live in a warm climate.
Related on MNN:
- 7 things you can make instead of buying
- 20 uses for leftover fruit and vegetable peels
- How to grow a garden from the grocery store
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