Relishing nature’s edible offerings can add up when fruits, vegetables, and herbs become constants of your diet. Yet, while many of the tasty goods grow on trees, money certainly doesn’t. But there’s an alternative — do it yourself.
For several natural wonders of the kitchen, you don’t exactly need to be a farmer to grow your cake and eat it too. On this Earth Day, instead of throwing away leftover fruits, veggies, or herbs, here are ten you may be able to regrow again and again.
1. Meyer Lemons
Of the many varieties of citrus, lemon trees are probably the most accessible as indoor plants, though they are far more likely to bare fruit when outdoors. All it takes is a seed, so long as it’s neither dry or damaged.
Meyer lemons, in particular, are a hardier lot, smaller and sweeter than your average lemon, and easy to prune short, though left on their own they can grow to around twenty feet tall.
Carrots make for a wonderful science project for kids. Chop the tops off (roughly an inch), set them in a dish with about a half-inch of water, and leave them out to bask in the sunshine.
Once the carrot begins to sprout and grows roots, transplant it to dirt. Keep watering it and within a few weeks, it should begin growing carrots of its own.
Blink and you may miss this one’s entire growth cycle. Typically you use the stalk and toss the root, but that’s a waste. Try keeping at least an inch attached to the scallion roots and place a few in a small glass with water. You should have new scallions popping up in just days.
Just make sure the roots face down with enough water to cover them. Pro tip: Change the water every other day, so they don’t get slimy, or just transplant them in soil.
You don’t have to wind up in a tropical location to enjoy fresh pineapples, but you will need patience. On average, it takes two to three years for a plant to begin producing fruit.
Just slice off the top of the spiky fruit — about a half inch below the leaves — to grow a new one. Trim the exterior of the bottom until you can see bumpy, brown root buds. Make sure no fruit is left over, or it will rot. Dry it out for a few days, maybe even a week, before planting. Then get used to that sweet, tangy flavor (because, hey, you deserve it).
5. Romaine Lettuce
This trick is a vegetarian’s dream to discover. Take the stem of a romaine lettuce head, set it in a bowl with water (between half an inch and two inches), and leave out for healthy helpings of the sun on the windowsill.
It’s best to change the water every two days or so. In two weeks, you’ll notice new lettuce, and you’ll have a new head of romaine within the month.
Get ready to always have a ginger grow going. Considering it’s not the quickest to regrow, ginger probably doesn’t have a regular reservation at your day-to-day diet. Find a sheltered spot with filtered sunlight and plant a ginger root in rich soil that’s slightly moist.
It’s best to plant them sometime during late winter or early spring. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait 8-10 months for a new bulb to pop up that is ready for harvest. Once collected, keep part of the root (also known as a rhizome) to use, and immediately replant the other.
Time to start regularly impressing family and friends with fresh basil. Trim the stems down to four inches or so and keep it in a glass with two inches of water and let it get all kinds of sunlight. When the roots push their way to two inches, which likely takes two to four weeks, move them to actual pots to await a full plant.
Like basil, grow cilantro by keeping the stems in a glass of water, which you should then plant in a pot of soil once they seem long enough. Make sure they get plenty of sunlight.
You’ll see progress in just a few weeks, and will be able to enjoy fresh cilantro in a few months, earning a reputation as the wisest cook in town.
9. Sweet Potatoes
With these, you’ve got to go fresh from the get-go. Start with a good sweet potato. If it’s sprouting, that’s a plus. Place it in a mason jar half-filled with water with room for good sun. Change the water periodically to avoid mold. Once the sweet potato sprouts (or keeps sprouting), wait for them to get four to five inches in length and then pull them off.
Place the sprouts in a separate jar of water until roots start popping about. From there, plant them in a pot with ten inches of soil and wait for the goods to come. Keep in mind, they don’t dig on cold weather and they take months to grow. Planting in springtime or early summer is best.
These may take a bit more work than the rest, but they’re worth it. Remove your avocado pit (likely with a blade) and rinse it under cold water until it’s clean. This part is key because it’s going in water instead of soil, so you want to avoid anything funky on your pit.
Root the pit with the pointy side up and stick four toothpicks at equal angles along the side for balance. Place the avocado in a dish, so the toothpicks hold its suspended place. Then, fill the dish until the pit is halfway submerged, and make sure to change the water every few days.
When the stem is about 6 inches long, cut it to 3 inches and let it regrow. When the roots are thick, plant it and let the stem grow to about a foot. Again, cut it back to allow for more sprouting. Avocados develop into full-sized trees, so you’ll eventually need to move them outside.
Try planting in the late spring, early summer – and wait. It can take years before the trees begin producing fruit, but if you love avocados, you know it will be worth it.