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Smart Thoughts

Learn to Grow Vegetables from Kitchen Scraps

What do you do with kitchen scraps? Toss them? Banish them to the compost pile? Here’s a better idea — turn them back into vegetables! A surprising variety of veggies will regrow with very little effort. All they need is water, soil, light and some TLC. Here are the top five veggies to regrow from kitchen scraps.

Green Onions

This is our top selection for one simple reason. It’s effortless. To regrow green onions, cut the bulbs, drop them in a jar, and shake them a little until the roots are pointing downward. That’s it. Set them in the windowsill, change the water every few days to prevent rot, and voilà! An endless supply of fresh, free, organic green onions. Give them about a week to grow. Then eat and repeat.

Leeks

The process for regrowing leeks is almost identical to the green onion method. But there’s one important extra step. Leeks are much thicker and heavier than green onions. So you’ll want some extra stability. Begin by removing the leaves and chopping off the stalk. Discard the leaves and use the stalk in your recipe. Insert three toothpicks evenly around the edge of the remaining bulb. You want them sticking straight out from the bulb, parallel to your growing surface. Place the bulb in a glass of water. Use the toothpicks to suspend the bulb just above the water’s surface while letting the roots dangle into the liquid. Soon, the stalk will begin to regrow. Trim as needed for your recipes and change the water a couple times per week. They just keep growing and growing.

Herbs

Cilantro, basil, mint… Just about every herb you can buy at your local grocer can be regrown in the comfort of home. Take a small cutting from the bottom of the stem, and leave a few leaves attached. Place the stems in water and set them in a bright window sill. After a couple of weeks, you’ll notice robust roots growing in the glass. Now, it’s time to transplant. Place your new growth in a pot of rich soil. In a few weeks, you’ll have healthy bunches of super fresh herbs. Grow a wide variety of fresh herbs for a zesty addition to any meal.

Lettuce

Regrowing kitchen scraps can yield a bounty of fresh produce. Need proof? Let us turn our attention to lettuce. To regrow lettuce from scraps, cut away the leaves about an inch above the base or stem. Place in water in a sunny spot. (Notice a trend here?) Next, transplant your lettuce into soil — inside or out. With five to ten heads of lettuce, you can grow crops for the entire season.

Potatoes

This one takes a tad more planning. (Or laziness, depending on how you look at it.) Set a few potatoes aside and wait for them to produce eyes (those little roots that sprout from the sides). Chop them in half and bury them about four inches down in the soil with the eyes facing upward. You’ll have plants in a few weeks. Bonus tip: If your peels have eyes on them, you don’t even need the potato. Just use the skin. But bear in mind, the skin is the most nutritious part of the potato. So leave it on, and chow down!

If you want to grow vegetables from kitchen scraps, the possibilities are endless. From ginger to celery, carrots to garlic the ideas are virtually limitless. The next time you whip up a gourmet meal, don’t just clean up your kitchen. Clean up on grocery savings with fresh-grown vegetables from kitchen scraps!

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