You don’t have to start a full-on garden if you want to enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables at home. While that’s a viable option, there is an easier way to cut down on your fresh food bill: regrowing fruits and vegetables from scraps.
This is a great option if you have only a sliver of space you can dedicate to gardening. If you want to give gardening a try but aren’t willing to commit a large amount of time, space or energy, this is for you!
Using your fruit and vegetable scraps to regrow can ultimately:
- Provide you with more sustainable food options
- Let you control the freshness of what you’re eating
- Help you cut down your food budget
- Provide you with healthier food
- Cut down your food waste
So, before you throw out your fruit and vegetable scraps, take a peek to see whether or not they can be re-grown first. While these aren’t the only six that can be regrown, they’re easy enough for beginners!
1. Green onions
Green onions are some of the easiest vegetables that you can regrow. You simply need to hold on to the bulb—which, let’s be honest, no one’s eating anyway—and you can grow them in any old jar with just water.
Setting up your new green onion plant is a piece of cake. You want to stand the bulb of the onion in a small jar root-down, then fill the jar with just enough water to cover the roots (but leave everything above the roots waterless).
Once you’re set up, find your green onion a sunny spot on the windowsill, and you’ll start to see green shoots emerge from the tops of the bulbs. It will take a little bit of time for your green onion kitchen scraps to grow, but you should see some full-fledged plants in about a week.
The best part is, you can cut off the bulb of your freshly grown onions and start all over again. If you do it right, this can become truly sustainable.
Another common kitchen scrap that a new green thumb can try out is a carrot—which, depending on how many you use on a regular basis, can be a real money save.
To regrow a carrot, you want to cut it about an inch from the top and place it cut-side down in a shallow container that has a bit of water in it. You should see green shoots start to appear in the next couple of days, then it’s time to transfer your seedlings to soil for them to continue the growing process.
The growing time for your new carrots can vary, so be patient!
3. Romaine lettuce
If you’re a fan of the Caesar salad, this next one will interest you. Romaine lettuce can be regrown by leaving roughly one to two inches from the bottom of the leaves, and placing the remaining stem in a container that has between half an inch to an inch of water.
One you’ve prepped your would-be lettuce, you want to place the container on a sunny windowsill, or somewhere where it can soak up those glorious rays. Next, you will need to change the water in the bowl every one to two days to keep them growing their best, or simply re-fill it if there’s nothing left.
Romaine lettuce from scraps can take between 10 and 14 days to grow. You can then simply cut off the portion you want to eat and start over again.
Potatoes make for a great choice for growing food from kitchen scraps – though you will need a whole potato to make it happen. It is also worth noting that potatoes are garden plants, and you’ll need a decent amount of soil to grow them.
First, take your potato and cut it in two pieces. Make sure each half of the potato has at least one eye (though two is better). You will need to leave the halves out at room temperature to dry before planting them in roughly eight inches of soil, one foot apart.
Potatoes make for a heavier duty at-home plant, and it will take one to two months for them to fully grow.
Who doesn’t like a fresh strawberry? This fantastic (but sometimes pricey) fruit can easily be regrown from scraps, so long as you’re willing to wait for the fruits of your labour—they don’t peak until their fourth year!
To regrow strawberries, you’ll first need to separate the seeds from the flesh. You can do this by hand, but it’ll be quite tedious. Instead, throw them into your blender for 15 to 20 seconds then let them settle for about 10 minutes. Put the mixture into a sieve and run cold water over it until you’ve gotten rid of as much pulp as possible.
Next, fill a tray with high-quality compost and dampen it. Sprinkle your seeds over it, then cover them lightly with another layer of compost (don’t press it down). Set your tray in a sunny area. When they start to germinate—in two to eight weeks—move them to pots.
Once it’s early spring and there isn’t a lot of risk of them freezing, you’ll want to plant them outside in their final spot. Strawberries like to hangout in a warm, sheltered area that sees lots of sun or partial shade.
Who doesn’t love a good tropical plant? Pineapple food scraps can be used to grow fresh, new pineapples so you don’t have to keep paying to replenish your stock. Full disclosure: the time it takes to grow a new pineapple can be anywhere from two months to three years, so if you’re planning on a future that doesn’t require you to buy any at the store you might want to grow more than one.
To start, slice your pineapple roughly a half-inch from the top, trim some of the outer skin, and remove a few of the lower leaves. Now that you’ve prepped your pineapple, find a place that has plenty of sunlight and let it dry out for three to five days.
With your pineapple fully dried, place the scrap crown-down either directly in soil, or use toothpicks to suspend it in water. If you opt for water, you’ll need to move it into a soil mix after two to three weeks when the roots are two to three inches long.
To see your pineapple scrap come to fruition, they’ll need at least six hours of full sunlight per day—but remember that this is a tropical plant that won’t do well in cold weather, so you’ll probably want to keep it indoors. You’ll also want to let the plant fully dry out between waterings.
Saving money sustainability
There’s a misconception that living more sustainably means spending more money. But, as with regrowing fruits and veggies from scraps, sometimes living green means saving money.
If you’re looking for more green living tips, download the free GarbageDay app and get them delivered right to your phone. There’s no better time to start than now.