The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

On The Table

March 13, 2013

Amanda Stone: Regrow kitchen veggie scraps

JOPLIN, Mo. — There are enough beautiful days here and there to give a girl the gardening itch. Sure, it's safe to plant cool-weather seeds such as beets, greens and carrots or potatoes and onions, but I want more.

There's a way to grow food inside that is so easy. Even someone with a crunchy brown thumb can grow windowsill plants from their kitchen scraps.

There are lots of veggies that you already have in your fridge that can be regrown. It's so amazing. Romaine, celery and cabbage can all be lopped off as normal, but instead of composting the stumps pop them into a bowl of water. In just a couple of days you'll see new growth shooting out of the center. It's easy and fun for you and the kids.

I use a ton of romaine, so I regularly try to fit another romaine stump in the cereal bowl of water. It starts growing within a couple of days. Celery takes a little more time, but will grow celery stalks within a few weeks. Once roots are established on your stumps, go ahead and plant them in soil. Easy homegrown veggies!

Check your pantry for sweet potatoes and onions that have those knobby little growths, indicating that you've had them for too long. No problem! Go ahead and chop them up for cooking, but save the chunks with growths. Put the chunks in water and wait for roots to appear, or just pop them in soil. Garlic is even easier. Just plant a clove in the garden. It will grow a bulb if you cut back the green tops occasionally. All of its energy will be focused on growing a big, beautiful bulb. I particularly love regrowing green onions. Snip off what you want to use, and they'll regrow the green before you know it.

Ginger and pineapple can be regrown as well. A little more time is invested, but you'll be rewarded with a beautiful plant while you wait for the prize. Cut off a hunk of fresh ginger, and plant it in soil with the little buds facing up. It will grow roots, a pretty plant and an entire new rhizome. Pull up the whole thing when you're ready to harvest and start again.

 Pineapple is super fun to grow. Twist the top off of a very ripe pineapple and remove the fruit until you have green spikes with little roots. Remove some of the leaves at the bottom, plant them in soil and water regularly until the plant is established. You'll see new growth within a few weeks. Eventually an adorable baby pineapple will appear in the middle. It will take about two years to fully mature, but if you're willing to give it the time, the reward will be so sweet.

Try these recipes using your indoor bounty, and remember that spring is just around the corner.


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