30 Delicious Foods You Can Grow From Leftover Scraps
Ever wish you could just magically have fresh food in your fridge without having to go to the grocery store each week? Consider food reuse! It may sound gross but it saves a ton of money and limits waste. If you have kids, it a great way to teach them about issues like saving money, environmentally friendly gardening and reducing waste.
Follow the few simple steps below and instead of tossing those leftovers, you can actually grow new food! If food is starting to get past its prime for freshness and taste– don’t let it go to waste! Let’s get started growing food (and money) out of your refrigerator!
*Herbs make an excellent potted or small space garden that can be kept in your kitchen (or other window!)
Basil– Save 4 inches of the stem and place in a glass of water next to a window with plenty of sunlight. They will grow in a few days and can be replanted in soil.
Cilantro – Use the stems and place them in a glass of water near a sunny window. The roots will start to grow in a few days. The cilantro can then be moved to soil.
Fennel– The fennel bulb can be placed in a container of water and put in a sunny window. It will start to regrow within a few days and can then be planted in soil.
Garlic– Take one clove of garlic and face the root down in soil. Garlic can easily be multiplied by simply saving one clove from each plant and replanting to repeat the process.
Ginger– Save one ginger root and plant in soil. New ginger will start to grow within a week.
Apples – Instead of tossing the core, save the seeds. Dry these out for a couple days and plant in a sunny area.
Cherries– Cherry pits should be rinsed and dried well. These can be packed in a container with soil in it in the refrigerator for 10-12 weeks and then planted outside for a future tree.
Lemons – Save the lemon seeds and dry for a couple of days. Plant them in a sunny area.
Peaches – Save the pit and dry out for a couple days. Plant the pit in a sunny area.
Pineapple – Cut off the top. Using toothpicks, suspend over a container with water so that the base just touches the water. Place the container in direct sunlight. Roots will begin to regrow in a week or two and can be transplanted to a pot with soil.
*Fruit trees take a while to grow, so these re-use items are a bit of a time investment.
Avocado –Using toothpicks, suspend a cleaned avocado seed with half submerged in a bowl of water. Keep the bowl in a warm, non-sunny place. Look for a root to grow in about 4-6 weeks. If the root gets longer than about 2-3 inches, it should be cut back to that length. Plant the seed in soil once leaves begin to grow. Leave ½ of the seed above ground. Expect the tree to grow slowly.
Bean Sprouts – Cover the bottom of a shallow container with water. Place Mung Beans in the water overnight. Drain the water and put the beans back into the container. Cover this with a towel overnight. Continue the process until the beans sprout to the length you desire and “harvest.”
Celery – Secure the base of the celery in a container with warm water near a window with plenty of sun. Once leaves begin to grow it can be replanted in soil.
Green Onions – Save some of the white ends and place in a container with water in a sunny spot. They regrow quickly so change the water every few days. You may have new green onions within two weeks! This is a process that can easily be repeated to continue to renew your green onion supply.
Leeks – Save the ends and place in water in a sunny spot. They will begin to regrow in a few days.
Lemongrass – Save the roots and place in a container with water. Place in a sunny spot. They will begin to regrow and can be moved to soil in a week.
Lettuce, Bok Choy & Cabbage – Save a few leftover leaves. Put the bottoms of the leaves in a container of water and place in a sunny spot. Mist the tops of the leaves every few days. Once roots grow, in a few days to a week, can move into soil, replanting the roots.
Onion– Take about an inch cutting from the bottom and plant in soil with the roots down.
Peppers– Save the seeds when coring. Rinse them and dry out for a couple days. Plant the seeds in an area with plenty of sun.
Potatoes – Take inch or greater cuttings from potatoes around the “eyes.” Potatoes that are older and already sprouting are excellent choices! Plant in soil with the “eye” facing up. The potato will begin to sprout from the ground in a couple weeks to a month.
Pumpkins – Save and clean seeds from the inner scrapings of a pumpkin. Dry well and plant in soil. Pumpkins do best in “hills” with about 5-6 seeds a few inches apart from each other in a circle so that they can vine out in different directions.
Sweet Potatoes – Using toothpicks, suspend 1/2 of a sweet potato over water in a container. Place container in direct sunlight and watch roots sprout from the bottom and sprouts will begin on the top. When roots have reached an inch long, the sprouts should be moved to a separate container of water. Plant the sprouts in soil when they have reached an inch long.
Tomatoes– Rinse seeds and dry them well. Plant in potted soil indoors. When the plants grow to a few inches in height, they can be moved to be planted in soil outside.
Turnip, Beets & Parsnips – Save the tops and place in a container with water and put in a sunny spot. They will regrow within a few weeks.
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.