Whether you’re trying to save money, or try a little garden experiment with your kids, regrowing food from scraps is a great way to start! There are certainly some vegetables or herbs that do better than others.
Some see a short term gain, others can be a long term game. Either way, get the most out of what you already have at home and start growing your own food from scrap!
If you’ve ever gone grocery shopping you will find that some things are always more expensive than others. This is especially true if you try to shop organic, or pesticide-free.
The markup on organic fruit and vegetables are extremely high and are discouraging to the average shopper. So why not do a little experimenting with food scraps?
You can also prepare for your vegetable growing season by saving seeds from the foods you buy and start your own harvest the next time around!
Be Realistic About Regrowing Food
I provided the list below to include foods to regrow that you will actually produce a vegetable from and within season. While you can try to grow a pineapple or avocado tree, I wish you luck on your 5 year journey in doing so.
Regrowing pineapple from scraps and avocado trees from pits is a lengthy process and will yield no immediate results.
Other items that I did not include are ones where you can grow something from the original scrap, but not the product itself. This includes veggies such as carrots and garlic.
It’s misleading to say you can regrow carrots or regrow garlic because you wouldn’t be growing an actual carrot or a clove of garlic. What you would be growing is leafy carrot greens and garlic scapes.
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Here are some of the easiest foods to regrow from scraps
Green onions are a great vegetable to regrow and yield quick results. If you find that you have leftover green onion, peel off the outer most layers until you have a mostly white stalk. Then, cut the onion 1-2 inches above the roots.
Make sure to use clean and sterilized scissors or knife. Next, simply place the root end into a small cup of water, partially submerged. You want to make sure the roots are well covered and the top end of the onion is sticking out of the water.
Change the water daily. I prefer using room temperature water as to not shock the roots. You will see regrowth in up to two days! After about 7-10 days, or once you start getting long stems, transfer them into nutrient rich soil.
As the onion will grow from the same roots multiple times, keep cutting the green tops off for fresh green onions!
Saving the seeds from your squash plants are a great way to save money, not time. Since pumpkin is usually sold by the pound, and can be quite large, they tend to be a little more expensive. Regrow squash vegetables and enjoy for seasons!
It’s sometimes hard justifying the cost of the fancy varieties, so it’s worth buying once and then saving for good! After you’ve done your kitchen work with the squash you are using (whether butternut squash, zucchini, spaghetti squash or acorn squash) separate the seeds and set them aside.
Rinse the seeds well with cool water and allow to dry on a paper towel for 5-7 days away from sunlight. Once dry, either keep the seeds for your next appropriate growing season (check the frost dates in your area) or start your seeding in soil.
Bell peppers are just the type of vegetable you want to learn to regrow from scraps because where I live, these can get expensive! You can also regrow hot peppers, which make for an amazing spicy garden!
If you plan on growing these from scraps right away, you can put them directly in soil. Otherwise, you will want to rinse them and set them aside to dry for 7-10 days and store in a cool, dry, dark place.
If you are planning to plant them immediately, make sure you start them indoors first and have a grow light. Peppers need high temperature soil to thrive and a lot of light. You can start these seeds in early spring indoors and have nice mature plants to put in the ground once the weather warms up!
Celery is another great vegetable to regrow from its cuttings and show to your kids! They growth rate is rather quick and you will see results in days. To start, keep the bottom end of the celery at the root intact.
Cut 1-2 inches above the root and insert toothpicks into the the middle of the stalks. Place the toothpicks so that they are arranged as if the celery were a square. So you’ll want to put one toothpick on the front, back, left and right sides. Then, rest the celery on top of a short glass so that the toothpicks raise the celery and prevent it from resting on the bottom of the glass. This is to avoid root rot.
Keep in a sunny area and change the water every 2 days. You should start seeing little leaves sprout from the center in about 3-5 days. Once you have 1-2 inches of new growth, plant in soil, usually 10-14 days.
Lettuce starts growing super well in water, naturally as it is a vegetable made of mostly water! Cut off the bottom of the head of lettuce 2 inches from the base (where the root is). Then, place it in a small bowl of water. The roots will begin to take and new growth will begin to form at the center of in as little as 3 days.
You can continue to regrow your lettuce hydroponically and you’ll have a good amount to harvest in about 2 weeks. If you’re growing hydroponically, meaning only in water, you will most likely only get one cutting.
While most leaf-lettuce plants produce leaves throughout the season, they will only do so if planted in the ground. My favorite varieties to regrow are romaine and butterhead lettuce.
So sweet potatoes can be are a food you can regrow in two ways, really just depending on your preferences. The first way is to cut a potato in half and rest both pieces, cut side down, in water.
Make sure there are a few eyes on each side. Change the water every 1-2 days. You should see this vegetable start to regrow around 2-3 weeks. Once you see root growth and stems coming from the top, you can then plant right into the ground!
Regrow sweet potatoes from potato slips
The other way to do it is by growing your own potato slips. Slips are the little offshoots of growth that come from a mature sweet potato. You will need to use the same method as above, by putting it in water, but waiting until you see slips forming.
You will see slips growing your potato around 2 weeks. Allow them to grow 4-5 inches and then carefully remove them from the base of the potato. You can then either plants the slips directly into the ground, or allow them to grow roots while keeping them in water.
Herbs to Grow from Cuttings
Herbs are my favorite things to regrow because I really just love cooking with fresh herbs over dried. Having a commonly used herb on hand pays for itself a million times over.
The best thing about them is that you can enjoy them year round with just a windowsill garden or choose to grow perennial ones outside.
You can regrow perennial herbs, that come back year after year, and transfer into the ground when ready. Mint, rosemary, sage, and thyme are all hardy enough to withstand winters and can be transferred into the ground when ready.
To grow these, take a cutting from your fresh herb (on a nice healthy stem) and place in water. Change the water regularly and place it in direct sunlight. Once you see roots growing, you can transfer into the ground and enjoy forever!
To regrow annuals, my preference is to keep them growing in pots inside. Using the same method as above, but transfer to a pot with soil and place directly in sunlight. Grow basil, dill, and parsley for flavorful and bright dishes! Water regularly and use often!