How to reduce waste from your kitchen

With the coronavirus creating all kinds of disruption at work and at home - we’re all thinking about groceries more than we ever have. Why? Because there are scarcities and shortages where they didn’t exist before, and we don’t have the same freedom to come and go to the markets.

Luckily, there’s a very simple way to use what you already have at home to avoid extra grocery store trips and food waste: It’s called kitchen scrap gardening. 

Some veggies can be regrown by just adding water.

Celery stalks and romaine lettuce can easily be regrown at home  They can be chopped two inches from the bottom, placed into shallow water (without submerging), and left to grow roots on the bottom and new leaves on top.

Once they do, you can plant them in a pot, leaving just the leaves exposed. Then sit back and watch your new greens grow from your old!

What about regrowing fruits and veggies from seeds?

Seeds are a great way to propagate and re-purpose the fruits and veggies you have at home. Citrus seeds are some of the easiest to plant and grow. All it takes is letting your lemons, limes, or orange seeds dry out before placing them in some potting soil and letting the magic happen.

Apple seeds can be extracted, let dry, then packed in peat moss, put in a plastic bag, and placed in the fridge. It takes about 12 weeks for them to do their thing in there, and then you can put ‘em in some potting mix. It takes a while, but in time, a small tree will grow from the seeds you would have discarded, and it can be planted outside. 

Avocado fans, rejoice! The pit is technically the avocado’s seed, and it can be regrown right from it. You can use toothpicks to balance the pit (root side down) in water. Change the water every day or two.

In three to six weeks, you should be able to see the top of the pit splitting open. This is a good sign! It means that in a few more weeks, you’ll see leaves and roots will begin to grow. You can plant your avocado tree when it reaches seven or eight inches tall.

Here's your homegrown cheat sheet.

For a quick look at what you can easily grow from your food scraps (and how), here's a quick-hit list for easy reference. It includes some of what we've covered here in more depth, and some fun, new, and simple DIY growing ideas as well: 

  • Celery: Celery sprouts in water. Chop the celery stalks about two inches from the bottom and let it hang out in shallow water, without submerging it. Wait for it to grow roots on the bottom and new leaves on top before planting. In about three weeks, you should be able to pot it and expect fast growth.
  • Lettuce: Similar to its celery and carrot counterparts, if you chop the base of romaine or butter lettuce and let it soak in water, you will see roots start to form in a matter of a few short weeks.
  • Avocados: It's all about keeping the top of the pit dry while the bottom gets water. Allow this to happen in a warm, sunny spot, and you should expect to see roots between two and six weeks.
  • Onions: Another simple regrowing option, if you place an onion bottom directly into soil (or the ground), it will start to regenerate its roots. 
  • Pineapples: Cut the base of the leaves so the roots are visible, remove some of the leaves, and submerge the stem in a few inches of water. Change the water every day or two, and once the roots start to grow, replant your pineapple. Expect to wait about six months for a full pineapple. 
  • Apples: Take some apple seeds and let them dry completely, then pack them in peat moss and put them in the fridge. From there, they can be planted for a small tree to start to form in time.
  • Lemons and limes: Using spare seeds, dry them out completely, place them in some potting soil and let them do their thing.
  • Herbs (like basil, cilantro, and mint): Place the stems in a glass of water, keeping the leaves well above water-level, and watch the roots start to grow. Once they do, they can be potted or planted outside.