As I was scrolling through Insta earlier this year, I came across a post by @aimeebourque sharing how she regrew certain vegetables using just a small tray of water and a spot near the window. Talk about amazing! I’d never heard of this little technique before, and just loved, loved, loved how it was reducing food waste by reusing kitchen scraps!
So I thought I’d take a whack at it and give it a go! Plus, it’d help improve my green thumbs 👍
Why Regrow Food in Water?
There are many, many reasons to regrow food, particularly in water. Some of the best reasons being:
It’s Completely Free!
You’ve already bought the veggies, all you need now is some water. You want to be really clever with this and reuse water that you’ve gathered elsewhere, such as from boiling pasta, or water you’ve collected while waiting for the shower to warm up. It’s such a great waste-free alternative that’s so simple to do (plus saves on water costs!).
Reduces Grocery Costs
Finding little ways to save money really do add up in the long-run. Just keep in mind you won’t get a huge harvest out of these foods, but you will produce a little more than you would have had otherwise, and every little bit helps! The veggies you regrow will save you money you would have otherwise spent on purchasing them from the shops.
Organic Food Becomes Cheaper
Now we all know organic produce can be costly, but here’s a way to make affording organic food a lot easier! By staring with organic food, you’ll be regrowing food that’s already organic, without any harmful chemicals used! More benefits for you, without the extra costs.
It’s Super Easy To Do
All you need to do is place the plant in a container of water and watch it grow before your very eyes. It’s that simple.
There are plenty of veggies you can start by growing in water, and then if you choose, you can replant them in soil to produce a bigger harvest.
How to Regrow Veggies in Water
It’s a very simple process to regrow leftover veggie scraps, and a great way to minimise food wastage (other than composting). Some things to keep in mind when regrowing vegetables are:
- Only a small amount of water is needed – The veggies don’t need a lot of water, only enough to cover their roots. About 1/2 inch of water is suffice (you can add more if need be), otherwise the plants can become quite slimy and mouldy.
- Check on your plants regularly – Make sure to check the water every 2-3 days to ensure that; 1. There’s enough water, and 2. There aren’t any pieces of veggies that could have fallen off, causing them to potentially rot and build slime up in the bowl.
- Change up the containers depending on what veggies you’re growing – The size and shape of the container will vary depending on what size the food is. Lettuce and celery tend to grow best in shallow bowls, while green onions and lemongrass grow better in tall, skinny glasses.
- Ensure you don’t overcrowd your veggies – Feel free to regrow multiples of the same plant, but don’t overdo it so they’re overcrowding the area.
Regrowing Different Veggies
You won’t be able to completely regrow carrots in water, but rather than throwing away the green ends, place them in a container of shallow water and leave them in a bright spot (near a window with plenty of sunlight) to regrow the carrot greens. Change the water every couple of days, and within a few days, you’ll start to notice tiny green leaves sprouting from the tops. They make a wonderful addition to pesto, chutney, and salads.
Keep the white part of the onion with any roots still intact. Place it in a tall glass with water next a window with natural sunlight streaming through, and before you know it you’ll have a constant supply or green onions to use! These can regrow to full size, just like the original.
Cut off the bottom of the stalk and place into a small bowl of water. Within 1-2 days, new regrowth should start to show from the centre, and after just a week, significant growth should have occurred! You can either use the young leaves, or transplant the regrowing bok choy into soil. To do this, wait 7-10 days, or until the centre displays leafy new growth, then plant the bok choy so it’s almost completely buried, with only the tips of the new green leaves pointing up. Once you’ve planted it, water it generously and from thereafter, keep the soil moist but not drenched.
Cut off the bottom 2 inches of the stalk and place in a tall container with some water. New growth occurs in the centre generally after around 3-4 days. It may take some time for a full stalk of celery to grow, but during the meantime, you’ll get great regrowth in the centre which can be used for flavouring dishes. For the celery leaves, a great option is to dehydrate them and make your own homemade dry celery powder! If you like, after 2 weeks you can transfer to a pot or garden to sprout a whole new head.
Chop off the bottom 1 inch of the base so that the roots are still intact and place in a small bowl of water in a well sunlit area. The green leafy parts will start to grow and you can use what you need. Replace the water every few days.
Cut off the bottom of the head of the lettuce and place in a small bowl of water near a well-lit window. You’ll see new growth start to occur in the centre in as little as 3 days, with a new half-head of lettuce in around 2 weeks!
Chop off 2-3 inches from the bottom and place in a tall container with 1/2 inch or so of water. keep in a sunlit area and you’ll start to see new shoots growing from the centre. These too, can regrow back to their original size.
These are the greens that grow from a clove of garlic and can be used in dishes that would normally call for green onion chives such as baked potatoes or salads. Place a garlic clove in a small cup and add water, but don’t submerge it. You’ll start to see roots growing within a few days, with shoots following shortly after. When the sprouts are 3 inches in height, you can cut them for use leaving 1/3 of the shoot.
Note: Garlic starts to lose its strong flavour when the shoots grow, so if you find a lonely garlic clove in your pantry that’s starting to shoot, place it in a cup of water to grow chives instead of throwing it away.
Slice off the top portion of the beet, taking no more than 1/3. Fill a glass, mug, or bowl with water, then place the top of the beet in the water with the cut side facing down. Set the glass near a window with plenty of sunlight, and change out the water every few days to prevent bacterial growth and to help keep the water fresh. Feel free to use the beet greens once they begin to grow shoots. The beet will produce greens for several weeks.
Place the root end in a shallow bowl of water and it’ll start to regrow from the centre. Harvest it on the smaller side to get the best flavour. After 2 weeks or so, you can transfer to a pot or garden to sprout a whole new head.
Cut off the bottom 2-3 inches of the stalk and place in a cup of water. You’ll start to see new growth appear from the centre of the plant. Usually the green part of the leek is used in cooking, but it can be used in dishes as a replacement for onions for a change in flavour.
Other Scraps to Regrow
There are many other veggies you can regrow using a small scrap from the original food. The following foods listed can begin to be regrown in water, but should be transferred to soil for full growth and harvest:
- Lemon balm
- Onions (red, white, or yellow)
- Sweet potatoes
You can also save the seeds from lemons, apples, cherries, nectarines, peppers (both hot and sweet), peaches, pumpkins, tomatoes, and plums to grow your own fruits and veggies! Before you know it, you could be growing most of your produce!
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products.
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What veggies are you regrowing? What have you used them for? Share with me below!
9 Best Herbs and Vegetable You Can Grow Indoors in Water. Balcony Garden Web. Retrieved from https://balconygardenweb.com/best-herbs-and-vegetable-you-can-grow-indoors-in-water/
Tiffany. (May 15, 2015). 10 Ways to Regrow Food in Water. Don’t Waste the Crumbs. Retrieved from https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2015/05/regrow-food-water/
Bell, Melissa J. (December 10, 2018). How to Grow a Beet in Water Without Seeds. SFGate. Retrieved from https://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-beet-water-seeds-28164.html
Adrienne. (December 22, 2018). How to Regrow Food in Water. Whole New Mom. Retrieved from https://wholenewmom.com/whole-new-budget/grow-in-water-plants-that-grow-in-water/
Black, Tracey. (April 20, 2018). How to Regrow Food from Kitchen Scraps. Don’t Mess With Mama. Retrieved from https://dontmesswithmama.com/how-to-regrow-food-kitchen-scraps/