9 Vegetables & Herbs You Can Regrow From Scraps at Home

Loading down our grocery carts with fresh produce is a very necessary strain on our budgets -- try as we might, we just can't sustain our lifestyle on cereal and cake. We'd be healthier and happier if carrots and celery were as cheap as cereal and cake, but since they're not, we need to find the best ways to stretch out our produce dollars. 

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One of our favorite ways to do this has become making little water gardens out of discarded scraps of vegetables. You've probably seen this done with green scallions -- with these, it's as easy as plopping the white roots (that you don't eat anyway) into shot glasses full of water. But the complete list of regrowable vegetables is actually fairly long. It won't save you billions, but it might save you a few dollars next time you're at the grocery store, and that's not something we're willing to pass up.

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  1. Green onions (about $1 per bunch): These babies are perf, if you're looking for a water garden primer. They fit best in a shot glass and if you change out the water every day, you'll have fresh scallions within a week.

  2. Garlic scapes (about $4 per half-pound bunch): You know those weird little roots that poke out of forgotten cloves of garlic in the bottom of your crisper drawer? They're called garlic scapes, and they can be made into a mean pesto. They're also easy to DIY -- submerge the very bottom of a clove of garlic in water (one will fit well into a shot glass, or five or six can be crammed into a shallow tea cup) and replace the water every day or so. The scapes will shoot out of the top, and they'll give whatever you put them in a lovely, mild garlic flavor. You'll save about $4 per half-pound bunch.

  3. Lettuce (about $2 per pound): Lettuce is the biggest and the baddest of the lot. It'll take more time, but if you leave two to three inches from the bottom of the head in water, you'll see new leaves sprout up in the center. You can leave it there or transfer it to soil after the sprouts start for leaves twice the size (and for a more filling salad).

  4. Carrot greens (about $2 per pound): You can't regrow an actual carrot, but you can replenish the green bit at the top, which you can make into another yummy pesto, or put into salads. Same deal as before -- just put the cut-off end of the carrot into a little water, and the greens will grow out of the top.

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  5. Celery (about $2 per pound): It only takes about two inches off the bottom of celery to regrow into new stalks -- place in a shallow bowl of water and you'll see new sprouts in the center after about four days.

  6. Lemongrass (about $2 per bunch): Lemongrass can be hard to track down in stores, so if you manage to find some, save the bottom three inches and grow out new stalks in a tall container with 1/2 an inch or so of water.

  7. Bok choy (about $3 per pound): It shouldn't take too much more than a week to see big growth from bok choy if you leave the bottom of the stalk in a bowl of water.

  8. Cabbage (about $0.50 per pound): The base of a head of cabbage will regrow, but the bigger it gets, the more the flavor gets stretched out. If you harvest it when it's small, you'll get more bang for you buck. 

  9. Herbs (varies, but about $2 per package): Nonseasonal herbs like basil, mint, oregano, sage, and thyme will regrow in a cup of water -- strip the leaves off the bottom few inches of the stems, and put in water. They'll grow roots first, then start sprouting.


Image via iStock.com/knape; unsplash/Harshal Hirve

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