avocado pit, green onions and herbs growing in water

As much as we try to avoid it, most of us are familiar with at least some degree of food waste. But did you know that 63 per cent of the food Canadians throw away can actually be eaten?[1] According to data published by our partners at Love Food, Hate Waste Canada and compiled by the National Zero Waste Council, that amounts to 140 kilograms per household annually, costing the average family $1,100 a year![2]

This is just one reason regrowing vegetables in countertop or kitchen gardens is trending. The other reason? Most of us are home anyway, and there’s nothing like fresh greenery for adding cheer. So if you’re looking for a fun hobby that can save you money, teach your kids green habits, and reduce your family’s carbon footprint,[3] you’re in the right place.

Here are 10 of the easiest vegetables and fruits you can regrow from scraps:

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1Green Onions

green onions regrowing in jar of water

Why we love them: “This is arguably one of the easiest veggies to regrow,” says Christine Tizzard, a Love Food Hate Waste Canada food waste champion and author of the upcoming cookbook, Cook More, Waste Less. With just a little care, the same stump will produce multiple new shoots for ongoing onions.

How to grow them: Instead of throwing out green onion stumps, place them in a cup or jar of water on a windowsill with lots of sunlight. Replace the water every other day, and in about a week, you’ll have new onions to add to recipes. (This same method can be applied to leeks and scallions.)

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celery stumps regrowing in jars of water

Why we love it:Celery leaves are great in salad or soup, or as a garnish,” says Tizzard. You can also plant sprouting stumps in your garden when the weather turns warm and the stalks will eventually start to regenerate.

How to grow it: Using a sharp knife, trim the stalks off the celery so you’re left with the base. Place it in a clear bowl of water with the stalk stumps facing up. Put the bowl on a sunny windowsill and change the water every other day. Celery leaves will start to sprout in about a week.

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potato sprouting in soil

Why we love them: Potatoes are so versatile and can be cooked in so many different ways. “It’s also awesome that from every potato, you can grow more potatoes,” says Tizzard. “So you can just keep the cycle going.”

How to grow them: Cut a potato in half (save your freshest spuds for cooking—a gnarly or sprouting potato is just fine here) making sure each half has at least a couple of eyes. Let them sit out to dry. When no longer moist, plant them about a foot apart in the garden (or start them indoors in a large pot of soil and transplant later in the season).

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4Beet Greens

bunch of beets with green tops

Why we love them: A beet top will produce greens for several weeks, and they’re delicious in salads, sauteed with garlic and butter or blitzed into fresh pesto.

How to grow them: Slice the greens from the top of the beet, with at least 1/3 of the beet still attached. Place the beet top in a small jar of water and place in a windowsill. Change the water every few days. The greens will start to grow more shoots and leaves.

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5Romaine Lettuce

three cups of lettuce regrowing in water

Why we love it: Fresh baby romaine leaves are delicious in salads, great for dipping (try them with hummus) and make a healthy garnish for cheesy nachos and tomato juice-based drinks.

How to grow it: Place the stump in a bowl with about a half inch of water; set the bowl on a windowsill. Once you notice sprouts, you can transplant the sprouting heart into your garden. To keep romaine growing outdoors, cut the heads off at the soil line, leaving the base and roots.[4] They’ll just keep going!

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woman slicing a tomato

Why we love them: There’s pretty much nothing better than a garden-grown tomato, in any manner of recipes. Plus, the seeds from just one tomato can yield many, many plants.

How to grow them: “Last year I just sliced a past-its-prime tomato into rounds, placed them into pots and lightly covered with soil,” says Tizzard. “I couldn’t believe how well it worked!” Other options include rinsing and drying tomato seeds and starting them in a pot of soil on the windowsill; you can transplant them to a sunny place in your garden once the plants are a few inches tall.

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hand holding pepper seeds over soil planter

Why we love them: Much like tomatoes, a single pepper can provide seeds for many plants. We also love experimenting with different varieties for a range of flavours. Plus, peppers are hardy and they grow quickly.

How to grow them: Harvest the seeds from a very ripe bell pepper and allow them to dry fully. Once the seeds are dry, you can start them in a container indoors (peppers like warmth!), sowed in moist potting soil. Once they sprout and it’s warm enough outside, you can transplant to the garden.

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8Avocado Pits

avocado pit in water sprouting a green plant

Why we love them: “Avocado plants are super cute, even if they are unlikely to yield an actual avocado,” says Tizzard. “Plus, because it’s a longer growing period, this is a neat project to do with kids, to show them the life cycle of a plant.” An avocado tree will grow from an avocado pit, but don’t expect it to give fruit (yes, it’s actually a fruit!).

How to grow them: Not all pits will grow roots, so hold on to a few pits to try at once. Clean the pits off and then spear them with a few toothpicks, in order to suspend the pit, pointy-side up, over a glass of water. (The pit should be half-submerged.) Place the glasses in a sunny window and change the water every day or so. The pit will eventually split and start to sprout; when the plant is around seven to eight inches tall (which can take a few months), you can transplant it to a pot.

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parsley in jar of water

Why we love them: Herbs are easy to freeze and use year-round—just toss washed and dried fresh herbs into a freezer bag for a taste of summer throughout the year.

How to grow them: Many herbs (think basil, cilantro, oregano, etc.) are regrown the same way—keep a sprig or stem and strip the leaves from the bottom. Then, place the sprig into a jar of water and put the jar in a sunny location. Change the water every couple of days and, when the sprig sprouts roots, transplant to a pot.

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ginger regrowing sprouts in pot of soil

Why we love it: Ginger packs big punch in terms of flavour. With this easy method, you’ll always have fresh ginger at hand.

How to grow it: Pull a chunk of ginger off a fresh root and place on top of a pot of soil with the buds or sprouts facing down. It’s best to use past-its-prime, sprouting ginger for this exercise, but you can do with a new root, too—it will just take a little longer. Put the pot in an (ideally warm and humid) spot with indirect sunlight and water periodically, just enough to keep the soil moist. The ginger will grow roots and new shoots.

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Article Sources

  1. Love Food Hate Waste. Food Waste in the Home.
  2. Love Food Hate Waste. Food Waste in the Home.
  3. Love Food Hate Waste. Food Waste in the Home.
  4. Food Revolution Network. Infographic: 19 Foods You Can Regrow from Scraps.

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