One of the tenants of being a homesteader, regardless of if you are doing it large or small scale (or even micro homesteading like me), is self-sufficiency. Part of that is making the most of everything you have. In this case, that means not even wasting the vegetable scraps from the dinner you just made. To push things even further you can get multiple uses from kitchen scraps. Seriously! So read on to find out the vegetable that regrow from scraps.
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In my kitchen, I try not to waste anything. I keep my refrigerator “empty” which definitely helps save money and cut down on waste. On top of that, I always have one (or more) 1-gallon freezer bags in the freezer. Anytime I am cooking (which is often) I pop any scraps of garlic, onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms and a few other things into the bag and back in the freezer it goes. Why? Well, I save them up until the bag is full and then I use them to make vegetable stock or add them in when I am making chicken stock. I also want to give making bone broth a try but that’s a story for another day.
So at this point, you would probably assume I was done with these mere vegetable scraps. Right? Wrong! They still have ways to contribute to my little micro homestead! After I have used them in my stock-making ventures they can still be useful out in the garden helping to make new soil. I do this by adding them to my compost bin. I should point out that I don’t add any to mt stock as it is cooking so that I can use the scraps for compost. The last thing you want to do is start salting the earth (of your veggie garden)!
If you don’t feel like making stock with your scraps and don’t want to put them in your compost yet. (you do have a compost right? If not you should definitely start making your own soil) then you can use them to regrow more veggies! So let’s take a look at some of the vegetables that regrow from scraps.
Growing lettuce from scraps is an amazing way to make the most of something you bought from the store. I mention the store because if you were growing lettuce in the garden you would only harvest the leaves you need and leave it to keep growing (which I would strongly suggest as it is easy to grow and expensive to buy). So if you are looking to grow lettuce from scraps I am assuming it came from the store. The best type of lettuce to regrow from scraps is romaine. Anyway, all you need to do in order to regrow lettuce is to cut the leave about 1-2″ from the base. Then you can put the lettuce nub in a shallow dish of water. You are going to want about 1/2″ of water in the dish at all times.
It is going to be important to keep the water clean (no point in regrowing lettuce in scummy water!). So make sure to change the water every other day. You should notice some roots starting to appear pretty quickly. After about a week and a half, your regrown lettuce should be about as big as it is going to get. We aren’t growing a never-ending lettuce supply with this method. But you can definitely squeeze a bit more lettuce out of your purchase.
A great vegetable that regrows from scraps is the green onion. I love these things so much! I’m trying a new heirloom variety in my garden this year, the red welsh. Maybe you just made some delicious tuna fish sandwiches (with dill) or it’s taco Tuesday. In any case, if you used green onions you probably have some nubs left. However, in order to regrow them, you are going to have to save the bottom 2-3″. Then you can put them into a narrow glass and put in enough water to come halfway up the onion. As with the lettuce, make sure to change the water every other day. You should have some “new” green onions in a relatively short period of time.
I grow celery in my garden mostly for use in stews, soups and of course my famous Ceasars! I’m pretty sure it’s the national drink of Canada, or at least cottage country. I am curious about trying to dehydrate celery this year using my new food dehydrator. Much like growing lettuce from scraps you are going to need the same supplies to grow celery from scraps. So pretty much a shallow dish and some water.
The same rules of engagement apply when regrowing celery from scraps. Leave about 2″ at the bottom of the stalk and pop it in the shallow dish with 1/2″ of water. Change the water every other day and watch for roots and some new shoots to appear from the centre of the stalk nub.
My friend Andrea and I always get a kick out of growing what we call “cupboard potatoes”. What are they? Well, they are the potatoes I have, that I store in a “dark place” (aka my cupboard) and then forget about. By the time I find them again, they are turning into new lifeforms. Luckily those cupboard potatoes can be cut into pieces (one “eye” per piece), left out to “dry” for a few days and then planted to grow more potatoes! I love growing mine in a potato tower to save space. But this year I am going to channel my inner scientist and conduct an experiment. The hypothesis to be proven or disproven is “Do potatoes grow better in the garden or in a potato tower?” We shall all have to wait and see.
In terms of vegetables that regrow from scraps, you are going to get the best return on your investment with potatoes. You can actually get pounds of potatoes from a single potato! Which makes me happy as I love me some potatoes.
Ok, so I lied. The post title really should have been “4 vegetables and one fruit that regrow from scraps”. But that’s getting a bit long-winded, isn’t it? That’s my pineapple that is currently growing up in my sewing room. Isn’t that where you keep yours? No? I keep mine there because my sphynx cats Lion-o and Miss Kitty like to munch on it. I should point out that this is acceptable as it is a cat-safe plant, but I have my heart set on growing a pineapple, so I am protecting it. I honestly think I might throw a party if I ever see a wee pineapple emerging from the center of the plant. If nothing else I am making some Pina Coladas!
As with the potatoes, you will get a real version of the plant when you grow pineapples from scraps. I previous assumed (incorrectly) that pineapples grew from trees. Nope! The grow from the ground. Mind, blown! Growing a pineapple is not a quick venture. This is the start of year 2 for me and while it is growing well there is no sign of a new pineapple. If you want to know more about how to grow your own pineapple (very slowly) stay tuned for an upcoming post on the matter.
So there you have it, 5 vegetables that regrow from scraps. Fine, fine…4 vegetables and 1 fruit. Better? If you don’t want to regrow your vegetable scraps then you can always save the celery and onions for homemade stock. The rest can go into your compost. One thing I always try and avoid on my micro homestead is waste! So have you experimented with vegetables that regrow from scraps before? What have you regrown?