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Re-Growing Vegetables From Table Scraps

Re-Growing Vegetables From Table Scraps
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The root ends of many vegetables can regrow into delightful sprouts in your kitchen.

I stopped by my daughter’s house the other day and noticed she had numerous vegetables sprouting from bowls and glasses on her kitchen windowsill. I was intrigued and she told me she was re-sprouting everything from Romaine lettuce to garlic and onions.  The shoots were tender and very green and it made sense in a minute, although I had never thought of it.

Here are the facts 

Many vegetables can be easily re-sprouted in a bowl of water or a glass. The new sprouts are super-tender and flavorful and make a great addition to a sandwich, soup or salad.  Here are some of the best vegetables that my daughter has used and that I researched on the Internet.

Romaine Lettuce

This may be one of the simplest vegetables to re-grow. You can keep them on the windowsill in the kitchen or put them outside if the weather is nice.  You simply cut off the root end and trim the bottom a bit and place them in a bowl of water.  Within weeks they’ll sprout and they’re great on sandwiches, hamburgers or in a soup or salad.  Bundle them up if you have more than one Romaine bunch and watch them grow.

Bok Choy 

Much like Romaine, Bok Choy will quickly re-sprout when the root end is placed into a bowl of water. Here again you can use them to top a sandwich, add to soups or top a salad.  They’re super-tender and very flavorful.


Believe it or not but garlic will sprout from a water-filled glass. Just take a garlic clove and drop it into a shot-glass or tall glass and the clove will sprout tender, green sprouts that are great in a deli-salad like potato salad or as a topping to a Ramen noodle soup or on baked potatoes.


Some people call them green onions. They have a bulb at the bottom with root ends and if you cut off about an inch of the root end and put it in a glass of water, they’ll sprout.  I’ve even added a little Miracle-Gro to these roots and wow did they sprout.  These guys just keep on going and as you harvest they will send up more sprouts.  You might want to change the water from time to time to keep it fresh.

Carrot greens

Carrot tops are a great addition to a soup or salad. You can grow them easily in your kitchen or on the back porch by taking the carrot top and placing it into a glass of water.  The carrot tops will sprout and grow and grow and you can harvest them over and over again.  You can also do this with parsnips, radishes and turnips if you like the flavor of those greens.


Basil is a very expensive herb at the grocery store and as an annual has a short season. But you can re-sprout basil from a cutting placed in a glass of water.  In fact, you can take the root ends and place them in water and they’ll delivery fresh, leafy basil to you all summer long and into the fall and winter.  Just remember to change the water from time to time and you can have basil all year-round.

Some more complicated possibilities 

There are kitchen scraps you can sprout in the kitchen but need to be planted outside. This includes onions roots, lemongrass and celery.  You sprout the roots in a bowl or glass and then transplant to the garden.  They need soil to fully grow but it’s a big head-start from either growing from seed or paying the premium for a sprouted plant at the nursery.

If you’re really ambitious you can plant a pineapple crown in the ground but it will take three years for it to mature to a fully- grown pineapple plant. The same is true with sweet potatoes and ginger root although they will yield in about a year or less.

The bottom line 

Re-growing vegetables in your kitchen or on the patio is a great way to save a little money and get a fresh and flavorful result. It’s fun to watch the plants slowly grow and the taste is worth the little wait.  Give it a try the next time you chop off the root-end of Romaine or before you toss those scallion bulbs away.


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