5 Foods You Can Grow From Scraps
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In an effort to help curb food waste, we're sharing tips on how to take pieces of your unused produce and grow more groceries, greens, and grub in general. Here are 5 plants you can easily repurpose with a little TLC.
Some folks might think that growing vegetables and herbs is a difficult task, but we're here to let you know it's pretty easy. All you need is some water, sunshine, and bits and pieces of your favorite produce. Trust me—I'm no expert, but I have four of the five plants listed below growing in my backyard. If I can do it, you can, too! So clean out your fridge's produce drawer, and plant up some pots with these 5 easy-to-grow edibles.
Eating healthy should still be delicious.
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Plant up this aromatic herb and then grab some fresh Mozzarella and pizza dough from your local grocer to make a divine Margherita 'za. Just take your unused pieces of basil (make sure the stem is intact) and stick them in a glass of water in a spot that gets plenty of sunlight. After the roots have grown a bit—about 1 1/2 to 2 inches), it's time to plant them in a pot. You'll have a big basil bush in no time!
Photo: Stefanie Grewel / Getty
I know I use this kitchen staple in almost every recipe, so why not grow it at home? Oh, the money I'd save! To grow your own onions, just cut off the bottom portion of an onion (make sure the roots are still intact), preferably leaving up to around 2 inches of the onion attached. Let that piece dry for hours or a couple days—depending on how quickly it dries, and once it's calloused, plant that portion roots down, and then cover about 1 to 2 inches of soil. Give it some water, put it in some sunshine, and take it out of the pot once leaves start sprouting. There might be more than one plant growing from the bottom, so separate those, and replant in a larger container or bed. Then it's sunshine, water, repeat. Boom! Homegrown onions.
Once you get rosemary started, you'll have a giant bush to pick from before you know it. And it's also incredibly simple to grow—just take a 2 to 3 inch stalk of rosemary and place in water. Once it starts sprouting roots, plant it up. Then, you know the drill—sunshine, water, and maybe sing it some Otis Redding until it tries to take over your yard or garden.
See basil above. You can grow a nice, hearty cilantro plant by following those same steps.
This one's so easy you'll consider quitting your day job to become a pepper farmer. You know all those seeds in the middle of your pepper? Take them out and put them in some soil that's got direct sunlight. Add some water, maybe hum it a song (anything but Pitbull—peppers don't respond kindly to Mr. Worldwide), and wait on your harvest to arrive.
Bottom line: Instead of spending an arm and a leg on grocery store produce, get your Johnny Appleseed on and plant the earth! Your wilting produce—and your pocketbook—will thank you.
25 Foods You Can Grow From Your Kitchen Scraps
Whether you go all out with a basement hydroponic system or just a few planter boxes inside your windows, you can grow plants year round.
But did you know you can grow many of the food plants from the kitchen scraps you would normally throw away.
Just imagine you could have an constant supply of your favorite food fresh from your indoor mini garden.
Here are 25 food plants that are easily grown indoors started from scraps.
Lettuce, Bok Choy and cabbage are relatively easy to grow from scraps. Instead of throwing out those leftover leaves, simply place them in a bowl with just a bit of water in the bottom. Keep the bowl somewhere that gets good sunlight and mist the leaves with water a couple of times each week. After 3 or 4 days, you will notice roots beginning to appear along with new leaves. When this happens you can transplant your lettuce or cabbage in soil.
Celery is one of the easiest foods to grow from leftover scraps. Just cut off the bottom or base of your celery and lay it in a bowl with just a bit of warm water in the bottom. Keep the bowl in direct sunlight as long as possible each day and after about a week, you will begin to see the leaves thickening and growing along the base. When this happens, you can transplant your celery in soil and wait for it to grow to full length.
3 Lemon Grass
If you love using lemongrass but have a difficult time finding it, simply regrow your own. Lemongrass will grow just like regular grass. You just place the root that is leftover in a glass bowl or jar with enough water to cover it and leave it in the sunlight. After about a week, you will notice new growth and when this happens you can transplant your lemongrass in a pot or in your herb garden.
4 Bean Sprouts
If you love cooking with bean sprouts you can grow them yourself as well. You just need to soak a tablespoon or so of the beans that you want to grow in a jar with shallow water. Leave this overnight and in the morning, drain the water off and put the beans back in the container. Cover the container with a towel overnight and rinse them the next morning. Keep doing this until you notice the sprouts begin to appear and then until they reach the size that you want. This works well with mung beans and wheat berries.
Avocado seeds can be used to grow a steady supply of this super food. You just have to wash the seed and use toothpicks to suspend it over water in a bowl or jar. The water should come up enough to cover the bottom inch of the seed. Keep the container in a warm place but not in direct sunlight and remember to check the water every day and add more as needed. It can take up to six weeks for the stem and roots to appear and once the stem reaches about 6 inches you will need to cut it down to 3 inches. When leaves begin appearing, you can plant the seed in soil, remembering to leave about half of it above ground.
Virtually everyone knows that potatoes can be grown from potato peelings. You need peelings that have eyes on them. Cut those peelings into two inch pieces, ensuring that there are at least two or three eyes on each piece. Allow them to dry out overnight and then simply plant them about four inches deep in your soil. Make sure that the eyes are facing up when planting. It will take a few weeks before you see the potato plant begin to grow.
7 Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes can be grown much like regular potatoes. You just have to cut the sweet potato in half and suspend it using toothpicks above a container of shallow water. Roots will begin to appear in just a few days and sprouts will be seen on top of the potato around that same time. Once those sprouts reach about four inches or so in length, just twist them off and place them in a container of water. When the roots from this container reach about an inch in length, you can plant them in soil.
Ginger root is very easy to grow and once you get started, you can keep your supply of ginger full. You just need to plant a spare piece of your ginger root in potting soil, making sure that the buds are facing up. You will notice new shoots and new roots in about a week or so and once this happens you can pull it up and use it again. Remember to save a piece of the rhizome so that you can replant it and grow more for the next time you need it.
You can grow your own pineapple even if you don’t live in the tropics. You just cut the top off and insert a few toothpicks to hold it above a container filled with water. Keep the container in direct sunlight. If it is warm outside, sit it on the porch or deck during the day and bring it in at night. Remember to change the water every other day or so and keep the container filled so that it reaches just about the base. You will notice roots in about a week or so and once they are formed you can transplant into potting soil. If you live in a cooler area, it is best to grow your pineapple indoors.
Garlic is really easy to grow and can be done from just one clove. When you buy garlic, you get several cloves so just pull one off and plant it with the roots facing down in potting soil. Garlic likes plenty of direct sunlight so in warmer weather, keep it outdoors in the sun during the day. Once you notice that new shoots have established, cut the shoots back and your plant will produce a bulb. You can take part of this new bulb and plant again.
For more information on the other plants listed head on over to the source article.
Here are a couple of indoor garden videos to give you some ideas.
We have found an excellent video on Youtube and you can see how you can grow your kitchen scraps. The Creator shows you the results from days to weeks to months down the track.
It’s a great way to see how quickly they root. Click Play above ^
What Do You Need to Regrow Scraps into Plants?
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Since the whole point of regrowing kitchen scraps is to avoid spending a lot of money, it defeats the purpose to spend a lot on supplies.
However, you may need some things to get started:
- Potting soil or gardening soil — The soil in the ground might not be ideal or nutritious enough to grow thriving veggies. If you don’t compost and make your own soil, I’d recommend buying gardening soil to establish your garden. I watch for sales on dirt and then stock up!
- Pots — though you can recycle and upcycle any type of containers you have on hand! I made a container garden out of an old wooden wagon!
- Garden trowel and/or shovel — I love my serrated edge diggerbecause in addition to digging and planting, I can use it to cut roots or rip open bags of soil!
Growing a pineapple indoors is a little bit more difficult, but not impossible. All you need to do is cut off the top portion of the pineapple and leave it floating on top of water in a container. You can use toothpicks to make the plant more stable. Keep the container in direct sunlight and wait about a week or two for the roots to appear. Once the roots are visible, transplant the pineapple directly into a pot of soil. Here’s a great youtube video that explains the process in more depth.
Instead of throwing away that white, bottom part of romaine lettuce that no one likes to eat, go ahead and regrow it into a new head of lettuce. Place it in a bowl or glass with a little water at the bottom and wait about 2-3 weeks for it to grow. You’ll notice that roots are beginning to form. After this time you can go ahead and transplant the lettuce into a pot of soil. Make sure to mist the leaves occasionally with with water and change out the water every few days.
Celery is incredibly simple to regrow from leftover scraps. Place the bottom part of the plant inside a small glass of water. Roots take about 2 1/2 weeks to appear or even longer. When the roots appear, go ahead and transplant the celery into a pot of soil. Have some patience with this one as it can take another few weeks once the plant is placed in soil.
Don’t just regrow the avocado… regrow the entire tree. Cut the avocado in half and take out the big seed in the middle. Wash the seed off and stick a few toothpicks in it to keep it hovered above a glass. It’s important not to drown the seed. You want about half of the seed drenched in water and the other half exposed to the air. The first thing that’s going to happen is that your seed is going to crack and half and grow out the top. After a few months you should see a full grown stem coming out of the seed. At this point it’s safe to transplant to soil and have your very own avocado tree.
6. Ginger Root
This has to be one of the easiest foods that you can regrow. Simply buy ginger root from your local grocery store and soak it in water for 24 hours. Cut off the part with a stem on it and stick it in a container with soil. If the root doesn’t have a small stem sticking out of it, leaving it by the window sill will make it eventually grow one. Just take the plant, water it once a day, and in a few days you’ll start to see a tall grass coming out of the dirt. From there the ginger will start to grow more. It’s as easy as that. Just make sure that the temperature stays above 55 degrees farenheit. You can eat the grass that comes out
Sometimes lemongrass can be extremely difficult to find at your local market. That’s why once you buy some, be sure to hold on to it so you can easily regrow more at home. This one is similar to growing green onions. Cut off a small piece of the end with a sharp knife, stick it in a glass with water and set it by the window sill. After a week you should notice some new grass coming out. From there you can transplant it to a pot of soil. This one can even grow during the wintertime.
8. Bean Sprouts
This one doesn’t take much work, but there a few steps involved. You can either chop off the bean part of the sprout or buy just the beans at your local grocery store. Soak them in a cup of water completely, mixing them around with your hand. Leave them soaked for 24 hours and the seed should start to germinate. After that, cover them in 2 paper towels, one on the bottom and one on top. Wait a few weeks and they should grow tall like grass!
Cut off a small piece (about 1/4) of your potato that has at least a few eyes on them. Let it dry for a few days on a towel on the top and bottom. Once they aren’t wet anymore, put them in a pot of soil that’s a few inches deep. Try to keep it out of cold weather and give it some sun if possible. Water every few days and in a few weeks you’ll have a potato plant growing in your own home.
It doesn’t matter what color of onion you want to regrow, as they all use the same method. Take your knife and cut off a small portion of the top. Leave on the peel to prevent it from rotting and let it float in a cup of water. You don’t want it completely submerged, but just enough so it sticks out. Make sure the stub is the part that is upside down in the water. If green sprouts start growing, you know you’re on the right track. Change the water every other day.
11. Sweet Potatoes
Difficulty : Moderate
When we talked about growing regular potatoes, we mentioned that you need to cut the potato into small pieces and places it in a pot of soil watering it regularly. There’s also another method to grow regular potatoes or sweet potatoes. Instead of placing them in the soil, you’ll have much greater success if you cut them in half and use toothpicks to suspend them over a glass of water. The great thing about sweet potatoes is that they are an excellent staple food and lost a lot longer than normal ones. This is one of the healthiest vegetables you can grow and just a few will produce hundreds. Once they start to grow roots, you can put them in soil.
Difficulty : Moderate
Garlic is another easy food to grow that can be done from taking one clove. Peel the skin off the clove and place it in a glass with a little bitter of water, completely soaking the garlic. Change the water every couple of days to avoid bacteria. Once shoots start to sprout after a couple of weeks, place the garlic in a pot of soil. Before you know it, you’ll have your own garlic cloves and shoots. Garlic really likes sunlight, so if possible place it near your window sill as much as possible.
Difficulty : Moderate
While very simple to grow, we marked growing pumpkins as having a moderate difficulty due to its sheer size. After carving pumpkins on Halloween, save the seeds and spread them over soil and make sure to cover them completely. Water them daily and in a few months you’ll have a brand new pumpkin. This food is great as it can usually survive harsher weather conditions. Since pumpkins can grow to be quite large, it may be difficult to grow indoors in a small pot of soil.
Just cut off about an inch from the bottom of the fennel bulb and place it in a pot of soil. Give it about a cup of water daily and leave it in as much sunlight as possible. You’ll usually have to wait several months before you can harvest the crop. This is one of the easier foods to grow, but does require some soil. Just make sure that the fennel bulb is completely covered when planting it in soil.
Difficulty : Easy
This technique can be used for any type of mushroom. For those of you who have bought portabellas before, this type of mushroom can be extremely expensive, so growing them at home can save you lots of money. The process of regrowing this plant from scraps is very easy Take off the head of the mushroom and plant the stalk in a pot of soil. Make sure to leave a little bit of the top area exposed and try to leave the plant in an area with high temperature and lots of humidity for best results. Wait a few weeks and you’ll have a new mushroom head. If you want, you can even watch this video on how to regrow you mushrooms in used coffee grounds.
Difficulty : Easy
Whether it be bell peppers, cayenne peppers or jalapenos, any type of pepper is extremely easy to grow. When you cut the peppers in half, take the white seeds that you see inside and spread it over a pot of soil. Cover the seeds and water them daily with a nice dose of sunlight. Wait a couple of months and you’ll have a whole bunch of peppers growing in your pot of soil.
Difficulty : Easy
Just like peppers, instead of throwing away or eating the seeds inside of tomatoes, cut them out, dry them off with a paper towel and cover them in a pot of soil. After a couple of weeks you’ll notice that the plant starts to be a couple of inches above the soil. At this point you can plant outside if desired. However, tomatoes don’t do well in cold weather so it might be best to leave indoors depending on where you live. Water every couple of days until you get a full-grown tomato plant in your very own kitchen.
Difficulty : Easy
Sprouting basil is just as easy growing green onions. Every stem has the ability to grow into a new plant. Take a stem that’s at least 6 inches long and place it in a small glass of water. After a about a week, you can transplant the plant into a pot of soil. It’s important to use high quality soil or else the plant will die and start to fall over. Give the plant water every 2 to 3 days, and in a few months the plant will be fully-matured. The plant will get quite big if left to keep growing, so use plant stakes to hold them up.
Difficulty : Hard
A pound of cherries can easily cost $5 dollars or more. Instead, grow your very own cherry tree. It may take a long time before your cherry tree is fully grown, but it will definitely save you some money on this expensive, but delicious fruit. Take the pit of the cherry, clean it off and place it in a container full of soil. Water it regularly and after a few months you can transplant it into a pot of soil. Due to its size, I highly recommend moving this one outdoors, although it can be done from inside.
Difficulty : Easy
Regrowing cilantro is very similar to regrowing basil. Take a small stem that’s at least a few inches long and place it in a small glass of water. Don’t leave the plant completely submerged. When the roots grow to be 2-3 inches long, take the stem and transplant it into a pot of soil. In just a few weeks the plant will be ready to harvest and eat.
Difficulty : Easy
This can be done for both green an purple cabbage. Cut off a small slice at the end of the cabbage with the stem on it and put the stem facing down in a pot of soil with the rest facing up in the air. Make sure to water every couple of days and within a couple of months you’ll have a brand new piece of cabbage. For optimal growth, make sure to keep it in lots of sunlight.
Difficulty : Moderate
Beets are popularly grown for their roots, but their leaves are also edible. When you regrow this plant, make sure to get some extra vegetables by eating the leaves. Cut off the bottom portion of the beet where the root was and stick the bottom-half in water with the other half exposed to the air. This can be best done by sticking a few toothpicks in the side and leaving it hovering over a cup full of water. You’ll notice that roots will be a lot more elongated after 3 weeks. From this point you can transplant it into a pot of soil and wait a a month or two for it to fully mature.
Difficulty : Moderate
Rutabagas take about 90 days until maturity and do quite well in the winter. After harvesting, you can even pressure can them or keep them in a cool cellar until you want to eat them. Planting them is very similar to planting a beet. Cut off a small slice at the bottom of the plant that has the root on it. Stick it over a cup of water and wait a few weeks until you see elongated roots. Once those are grown, transplant the rutabaga into soil and wait a few months until it’s fully grown. You’ll be surprised about how fresh and delicious it tastes when you grow it yourself.
Difficulty : Moderate
We placed this plant near beets and rutabagas because the way they grow is very similar. All 3 plants start out growing roots along with green leaves sprouting out from the top. Cut off the end with the stem and wait for roots to grow. Once this happens after a couple of weeks, transplant the turnip to a pot of soil and wait about 3 months for the plant to fully mature. Just like beets and rutabagas, turnips do a lot better in harsher weather conditions than most other vegetables.
Difficulty : Easy
You know the top part of the carrot that no one likes to eat? Keep it instead and grow a new one. What you need is a glass, some water and 1 inch of the carrot type. Remove any green that you find on the top of the carrot. This makes it easy to see if new green is sprouting out. Make sure to change the water every few days. After about 1 week you should notice some progress. This is when you can place it into a pot of soil. After about a month the carrot should be fully matured. This one is easy and excellent for kids.
Difficulty : Hard
Almost everyone loves apples, but no one likes to eat the seeds found within the core. Before you toss them, keep them and place one in a pot of soil. Water it daily and after a week or two you should notice a tall stem sticking out of soil. The problem with this fruit is that if you wait long enough, the apple can grow into a full-grown tree. This might be a little too big for your kitchen, but you’ll never be short of apples. This works for any type of apple. Keep the soil moist but not drenched in water.
Difficulty : Hard
Peaches can be grown just like an apple. Take the seed from the core of the peach. Soak it in water for a day so that the seed starts to germinate. Dry off the seed completely with paper towels and place it in a pot of soil. Water it daily and keep the soil moist, but make sure not to drench it in water. Wait a week or two to see if you see a stem sticking out of the soil. After a while, you may want to consider transplanting your pot of soil to outside. If kept growing, this seed will grown into a full-size peach tree.
Difficulty : Hard
Lemons are used in so many different types of recipes such as a topping to salad or even in tap water. Take the inner seed of a lemon and place it a few inches beneath the soil in a pot near your home. Near a window sill is preferable for sunlight. Water the pot every day keeping it moist but not drenched in water. If within a couple of weeks you notice a small, green stem sticking out from the dirt, the plant is healthy and will keep growing. In a few months you’ll be able to pick off a lemon from your brand new tree. If you’re afraid it might be too big for your kitchen, transplant it outside.
Difficulty : Hard
Instead of eating the nut, take one and dry it. Place it in a pot of soil and water it daily. When the plant becomes a few weeks old and you notice a stem sticking out from the soil, transplant it to outdoors. It’s best to save this one for the summer as hazelnut trees don’t do well defending themselves in cold weather. The only problem with growing hazelnuts is that a tree usually takes a few years before it can start bearing nuts. If you really love nuts and you’re patient, this one can be done.
Difficulty : Moderate
All you need for this is a glass of water, toothpicks, potting soil and some radishes. Take a radish, cut it in half, and cut off some of the green leaves on the top, but make sure to leave at least a small portion. Place the top half dangling over water by using toothpicks to suspend it in air over the glass. Just make sure that it’s not completely submerged. In a few weeks you’ll notice that roots are starting to grow out from the bottom. From there you can transplant it to a pot of soil if desired. It’s a really easy process. If it doesn’t work, try using the bottom half instead.
31. Bok Choy
Difficulty : Easy
Regrowing bok choy is really easy and can be done just like lettuce. Cut off about an inch-long piece of bok choy from the bottom and place it in a glass of water. Wait about two weeks and you’ll already notice that leaves are fully-sprouted and roots have grown. If you want, you can eat the leaves now or continue to let it grow by transplanting it to soil. From there you’ll have to wait another couple of weeks. Just make sure to change the water every couple of days.
Difficulty : Easy
Growing leeks has never been easier. All you need is some scraps along with a small glass of water. It’s along the same line as celery. Cut the leek down by the white part on the bottom leaving the roots in-tact. Put a few toothpicks in it to suspend it in the water, giving it some stability and making it so it’s not completely submerged in the water. Every couple of days change the water. Within a few weeks you’ll have fully-sprouted leeks. Cut off the white part again and regrow them a second time. You can transplant this one to soil, but not necessary.
Difficulty : Moderate
Rosemary can easily be regrown by using cuttings. You’ll most likely need a pot of soil for this one. Cut off a leaf or stem from a big plant and place it in a cup of water and let it grow for a few weeks. After that, transplant it to soil, keeping the soil moist but not drenched. Wait a few months and you’ll have a fully-grown rosemary plant. This one doesn’t do too well in the winter, so try and save it as a summer project.
Difficulty : Moderate
Mint is an excellent leaf for taste and is a great plant to grow indoors due to its high price. Similar to rosemary, take off a stem and place it in water for a few weeks. It will start to sprout roots. At this point, it’s best to transplant this one to soil if you want it to sprout into a whole new plant. Wait a month or two and you have a full mint plant. I love taking these leaves for mixed drinks and smoothies.
35. Lemon Balm
Difficulty : Moderate
Lemon balm is true to its name with a nice, bright, lemony scent. You’ll definitely want to use soil for best results with this plant. First take off a small leave and place it in water for a few weeks. Once roots start to grow out, transplant the stem into a pot of soil. It should be ready in about two months. Make sure to water 1-2 times a day, but don’t make the soil too wet. This one is my personal favorite to grow since it freshens up the scent of the kitchen.
By regrowing vegetables at home, you can cut off a lot of money from your monthly grocery bill. Produce is only getting more and more expensive along with the price of gas. Do yourself a favor by growing fresh fruit and vegetables from your very own kitchen.
Since you’re going to be growing at home, it’s best to buy organic plants. Even though it’s slightly more expensive, you’ll only be buying at organic prices one time. From there, you can keep using scraps to regrow the same plant over and over again.
See a plant that’s not on the list and is easy to regrow? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!
Chestnuts– Choose a sunny area where multiple trees can be planted to ensure cross pollination, ensuring more future chestnuts. Plant the nuts in soil in this area.
Mushrooms– Save the stem and plant in a pot of soil. Keep in a pot in a humid area. The head will regrow.
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Most gardeners grow sweet potatoes for the big, sweet tubers. Many gardeners are surprised to hear that the leaves are also edible. Not to be confused with regular potatoes with potentially toxic leaves. Sweet potato leaves are packed full of vitamins and nutrients. They are great in place of spinach or greens in any dish.
The leaves from both sweet and hot pepper plants are delicious and completely edible. They have a milder taste than the peppers themselves. And don’t worry, the chemical that gives peppers their heat is on the inside of the fruit. So it doesn’t matter whether you eat leaves from hot or sweet peppers, they will both have a mild peppery taste. heat from peppers
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What To Do With Leftover Food Waste
Fruit and vegetable scraps, eggs shells, coffee grounds and other food scraps can get a second life if you are creative. Keep in mind that most of these tips for food recycling do not apply to meat scraps.
Some areas of the country have domestic food waste production programs, however, my area does not so I have to get creative. If you would like more info on reducing trash production at home, check out my post on zero waste living for more information.
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Use vegetable scraps to make homemade stock
Making homemade stock from chicken bones and vegetable scraps is something I do regularly. Fill the crockpot with water. Add in one chicken carcass with meat removed. Or, whatever leftover chicken bones you have.
Into your crockpot, toss things like onion skins, carrot peels, garlic skin, celery trimmings, etc. Add a few spices. I like pepper corns and bay leaves. Turn on the crock pot, put on the lid and turn on high for 4 to 6 hours. Then, let it cool
Composting food scraps at home
Whether you choose to buy a plastic backyard compost bin or start your own worm farm, there are lots of ways to turn your leftover food scraps into food for your garden. If you have a large backyard, you can just make a compost pile right on the ground, which makes things a lot easier.
If you live in an urban area, check out my post about urban composting for tips that might make it easier. Just remember, composting is a bit of a science. Check out the Environmental Protection Agency for more information on composting food scraps at home.
Use certain foods in the garden without composting them
While composting is great, some foods you can use in your garden without even composting them. Egg shells just get crumbled up at the base of your plants to get rid of slugs and caterpillars. And the dreaded tomato hornworm caterpillar that loves to eat my tomato plants. Or the slugs that eat my garden fresh rhubarb!
Coffee grounds are another food that can be used in the garden to amend the soil organically. If you want more ideas, check out my post about foods that can be used in an organic garden to improve soil health.
Regrow food from food scraps
Certain foods like celery and green onions can be regrown after you chop off the part you normally eat. My son loves doing this and will often sprout celery and plant it outside after I trim off the stalks from the one I buy at the grocery store.
How do you regrow celery? Very easy! Take the base of the celery once you cut the stalks from it and rinse it off. Put it in a shallow bowl of water and set it on the counter in a bit of sun. Change the water daily. You will eventually see it sprouting up from the center.
Once the growth seems significant (in about two weeks or so), transplant it into a pot of soil outside. Or, you can leave it inside if you have a sunny spot to grow it. This is one easy thing you can grow inside during the colder months. Check out my post on things you can grow in November for more indoor gardening ideas.
Feed your chickens approved leftover food scraps
Well, this is one that I sadly cannot do since I don’t have chickens. I do feed plenty of carrot tops and other vegetable trimmings to the dog. She absolutely loves them! But, if you DO have backyard chickens, feed your vegetable waste to them.
You can also see if there is a neighbor that has chickens (or pigs!) who might like your food waste. My local farmer is always looking for scraps of fruits and veggies for his pigs!
Some food scraps that you think are inedible actually aren’t. They may not jump up and scream ‘EAT ME’ but things like watermelon rinds, carrot fronds, orange peels and other leftover food bits are actually edible.
Check out my carrot top pesto recipe if you want to turn your carrot fronts into a delicious meal. Check out Love Food Hate Waste for more food waste recipes.
You don’t need a back yard or even any soil. All that is needed is a piece of produce that was otherwise destined for the trash can.
The vision of FoodCorps is “to create a future in which all our nation’s children––regardless of race, place, or class––know what healthy food is, care where it comes from, and eat it every day.” This dream encapsulates many of the benefits of growing plants with kitchen scraps. It reduces waste and saves money, not to mention that it’s just downright fun.
Save Money, Have Fun By Growing Food From Scraps
Garden Season’s Ultimate List of Kitchen Scraps You Can Regrow
By scraps, I mean, the parts that normally end up in the garbage or the compost bin.
Learning to reuse what’s left of your fruits and vegetables is both practical and fun. Ultimately, growing food from scraps is a good addition to your expanding gardening skills.
Take a look at this directory of kitchen staples you can enjoy all over again. You’ll be surprised by how much you can minimize kitchen wastes and use them as food source instead!
1. Green Onions And Spring Onions
The humble green onions are my favorite to regrow. They’re no fuss, they taste great, and regrowing is easy as 1, 2, 3.
2. Romaine Lettuce
First of all, it is difficult to regrow other lettuce varieties from scraps simply because of their structure.
Romaine lettuce grows tall with firms ribs in the middle of the leaves. This section grows close together unlike the looseleaf or the summer crisp variety, making it ideal for replanting.
- Slice the base two inches from the stalks.
- Put it in a jar filled with water. Make sure a third of its length is soaked.
- Keep the water clean and place it in a sunny area like the window sill so it can grow abundantly.
This allium vegetable is flavorful in itself, you’ll want more in your home and your dishes. Just put the base in water and leave it in a sunny area of your house.
The leaves will sprout within a week or so, and you’ll be able to use some leaves in the kitchen.
5. Sweet Potato
Unlike the common potato, sweet potato leaves are edible and healthy too. They grow from the sprout called “slips”.
To start the slips, put your sweet potato in warm water. Once the sprouts appear, take them off and plant on a warm ground.
Who doesn’t love ginger tea? I love mine with lemon and honey. Did you know they taste best when they’re brewed from free and organic produce ginger?
Select a few nice parts with good growing buds from your store-bought ginger. Plant them directly in a rich moist soil.
7. Lemon Grass
If you love Asian food, you’ll need to get yourself a hefty stash of this exotic spice herb in your garden.
There’s no need to keep buying costly lemon grass when you can regrow them from the base. Put them in a glass container on a windowsill. The bottom thick end should be immersed in water. Don’t forget to change the water every few days.
Growing garlic from the cloves you’ve neglected at the pantry will not grow into new bulbs. You’ll need a longer season to regrow garlic.
The greens are what you’ll get instead. By their own right, they will also do great in your dishes.
Did you take more basil cuttings than you would need? Well, don’t throw those away but keep them in a bottle of water to root.
Then you’ll have more basil to go with your recipes.
Regrowing carrots does not mean regrowing the entire root for the carrot itself. Regrow carrot tops for its greens as well, since both are healthy and tasty.
Grow carrots in a sandy, loose, and well-draining soil. Or better yet, use a raised bed.
Potatoes with wrinkly skin are usually destined for the trash bin. But they will be better off in your garden to generate more food.
Check out for shoots that have sprouted. Plant those potatoes in containers for less hassle growing.
Fennels are easy to keep and maintain. Moreover, the stalk, leaves, and seeds of fennel all have their uses.
Regrow the base and transfer in soil pots once the shoots start to appear. Now that’s one ingenious way of growing food from scraps!
Once the turnip begins to grow new sprouts, the taste and texture becomes unpleasant. What you can do is put the sprouting tops in a container with water, and transfer to a soil bed.
Harvest turnip greens, and produce seeds for planting.
14. Bok Choi
Just like romaine lettuce and Chinese cabbage, bok chois are brassicas with firm stalks. They closely resemble a heart. This is where new plants will form and grow.
Growing cilantro can be quite tricky. They have a habit of going to seed rather quickly.
Good thing they can regrow from the stalk, which we usually just throw away.
We all know how mushroom can be quite costly in the long run. Store-bought oyster mushroom variety is one of the easiest mushrooms to grow and regrow.
I love including tomatoes in most of my dishes, but I often remove the seeds. I air-dry the seeds at room temperature, and use them to grow my own tomatoes.
Try canning tomatoes if you’ve got lots of harvests. Then save the tomato seeds for the next growing season.
Just like tomatoes, bell pepper is another vegetable I use in my dishes quite often. And quite frankly, I can’t remember ever buying pepper seeds from garden stores.
I grew my first bell peppers from over-ripened fruit bought from the market.
Rosemary grows well from cuttings so, don’t throw any extra cuttings away. Root them in a glass of water. Then transfer into pots in your free time.
Pumpkin or squash seeds make a great and healthy snack. But if you’ve got more than enough, save some pumpkin seeds to plant for the next growing season.
After squeezing the juice off of the lemons, the seeds along with the peelings usually end in the trash bin. Don’t throw those away.
Even lemon peelings have many great uses. Grow yourself a tree and learn how to grow lemon here.
Another great example of growing food from scraps is the sweet pineapple. The crown can grow and bear another pineapple for you to enjoy.
Grow pineapple crowns in containers and say aloha to your own fruit in about a year or so.
Growing avocado from the seeds or pit takes a special technique to make them germinate faster. Find out how to germinate avocado pit here, and grow an avocado tree in your backyard.
Much like it’s relative, the melons, cucumbers grow easily from seeds too. So don’t throw those seeds ever again. Instead, grow cucumbers at home for a fresh and hefty supply.
26. Chinese Cabbage
The Chinese or Napa cabbage tastes sweeter than the ordinary cabbage, which makes it great for soups. Plus, it grows with tall firm ribs with a midsection which can be regrown easily.
Regrow radish tops for their greens which taste great in potato stew or when sauteed. But if you want the bulbs, you’ll need to wait for the flowers to bloom.
Once the flowers dry out, you can take the seed pods and dry them for replanting.
Considered one of the easiest plants for growing food from scraps, mints are regrown from the top growth cuttings.
Plant in a container once they develop roots.
29. Hot Peppers
Taking the seeds from chilli peppers will also remove the pith where capsaicin is concentrated. This results in reduced spicy taste.
Dry the seeds, and plant instead.
30. Cantaloupe, Melon, and Honeydew
Enjoy the pulp of these juicy fruits, but save the seeds to regrow. You’ll be amazed at what these good-for-the-dump seeds can grow into.
31. Beet Greens
Beet greens and beets are healthy and taste great in salads too. Save those beet tops to reproduce new greens in just a few days.
Although it will take some time to grow a fruit-bearing apple tree, it still feels good to have your own.
Grow apples from seeds now and enjoy seeing it grow. In two years, you’ll be enjoying sweet apple fruits.
In just a year, you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful landscape and the fruits of your labor.
You won’t have to wait long to enjoy peach tree fruits grown from seeds. Within a year, you’ll have yourself a grown tree and the fruits that come with it.
Pears are so much like apples. They are grown the same way. They grow and bear fruits, and have lovely blooms for your garden landscape.
Amazingly, kiwi is a climbing plant that can be grown in a trellis or over an arbor. You have to take note, however, there are male and female kiwi vines, and only female kiwis bear fruits.
Some peanuts just can’t wait to grow back, can they? We just throw those early shoots right out.
Why not let them grow as they please and get them back in the soil for another round of peanut harvest?
Growing apricot trees from seeds may not guarantee a fruit-bearing harvest. But have you seen how beautiful apricot blossoms are? They’re a feast to the eyes.
Seeds from watermelon make great and nutritious snacks when dried and toasted. Save some and replant for more watermelons in the future.
Start growing food from scraps and learn how to in this video from Veggietorials:
After going through this list, I’m sure you’ll find growing food from scraps very convenient and easy. It may not answer all our food problems, but it sure is a fun project to do at home with your family.
This could well be a good strategy to pave your family’s way to food security and better well being.
Have you tried doing an experiment with one of these food plants? I tried growing green onion which is a favorite in my household. Do share your own experience by posting in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 11, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.