When purchasing vegetables from a store or farmer’s market, most people don’t think beyond their intended use (e.g. tomatoes for sauce, carrots for a salad) and why would they? You buy, you cook, and you eat. But, no matter how frugal of a cook you may be, there are always scraps. If you are a conscientious and responsible cook, you likely compost those bits of ginger and ends of celery — or maybe create vegetable stock. However, for the super resourceful, there is a way to stretch your food (and food dollar a bit further).
A recent post on Wake Up World revealed the hidden (and marvelously thrifty) world of stretching your garden dollar. Items like leeks, scallions, and even celery and ginger can be cultivated from the scraps you would most likely toss. These sorts of kitchen hacks are doable, and for the most part easy. Here are a few that are worth noting (as well as doing):
Re-grow a garlic plant from a single clove planted root-end down.
Potatoes, as well as sweet potatoes, can easily be grown from a whole (or part of a) potato that has begun to sprout.
This will re-grow from the white root end of the plant. Once you cut off the stalk of the celery, simply place the root end in a bowl of shallow water. Keep moist and place in a window that gets some sun. After about a week or so you will start to see new roots and leaves form. Once roots have made a showing, plant in soil and you should have a whole new celery head in a few weeks. This same technique works for bok choi, cabbage, and romaine lettuce.
Ginger is also simple to grow; just take a knob of ginger with the newest bud facing upward and plant it in potting soil. Keep the soil moist with indirect sunlight. It will begin to grow new shoots and propagate. Once it is established, you can harvest it, use the ginger you need, and then replant – the cycle continues.
Leeks and Scallions
Probably the most simple of the kitchen hacks, simply take the whole white root of the leek or scallion and put it in a glass jar with water (no need for soil) and plenty of sun. The green leafy part of the plant will grow and you could take what you need by snipping off a bit of the green, while leaving the root intact and covered with water. Be sure to change the water every few days. This technique works well with fennel and spring onions as well.