Gardening

Use, Regrow, Repeat: 4 Vegetables that Regrow in One Week

June 10, 2015

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: As proof that kitchen miracles so exist, here are four vegetables that regrow in one week with just water and sunshine.


Day one

It often seems like some form of magic happens in the kitchen: If you shake heavy cream in a jar, it soon becomes butter; if you roast vegetables or citrus, their flavor becomes so much more robust. One simple ingredient can make an entire dish come together instantly, like a pinch of flaky sea salt sprinkled on chocolate or extra-virgin olive oil drizzled over vanilla ice cream (helpful suggestions from Alice Medrich).

But the wonders of the kitchen don't stop once you've finished cooking: Even once you've used however many scallions—or carrots or fennel fronds—as you need in a recipe, the others needn't go in the compost. They can last a long time. A really long time. You just need to regrow them and—here's another miraculous part—it only takes one week.

Here are four vegetables that only need one week of water and sunshine to regrow to a point where you can use them. You should change the water when it gets cloudy, but otherwise, this method requires barely any effort. Just chop, regrow, repeat:


One week later

Romaine lettuce

Reserve about 3 inches of the butt of the lettuce. Place, bottom down, in a a cozy mug or bowl that will allow the lettuce to lean without falling over, will hold enough water to cover the bottom half of the lettuce, and will allow sunlight to reach the lettuce. Fill with water until the bottom half of the lettuce is submerged. Put the container in a sunny window. You should see growth by the next day, and you may even have enough to cook with in one week. What’s more, bok choy and celery can be regrown in a similar fashion.

Scallions
Chop off the green part of the scallion, using it however you'd like, but leave about an inch of the white bottom intact. Put the stubs in a narrow drinking glass or shot glass so the scallions can lean without falling over. Make sure the container you choose is clear, allowing sunlight to hit the scallion roots. Fill the glass with a bit of water, and place the container in a sunny spot. You should see some exciting growth after a couple of days. One blogger said she bought a bunch of four scallions and has been regrowing and reusing them for two yearsLeeks will regrow just as easily as scallions when treated the same way.

Fennel
Fennel has such a strong taste that you don’t need more than a few snips of fronds from the bulb to add to salads, dressings, and stocks. Therefore, keeping a bulb on-hand in your kitchen windowsill works perfectly. Place the bulb in a mug or bowl that can hold enough water to cover the bottom half of the bulb while still allowing light to hit it. Fill with an inch or so of water. After one week in a sunny spot, green shoots will sprout from the top.

Carrot Greens
You can reserve the tops of carrots and regrow greens from them. Just chop off the tops of the carrots, leaving about a half-inch to an inch of the top. Place in a shallow container, add water, and put in a sunny spot. After a week, you should see some strong carrot greens. And really, all members of the turnip family (beets, turnips, parsnips) can regrow their greens this way, not just carrots.

More: At a loss as to what to do with carrot greens? Check this out. And this. And this.

Other vegetables that can easily be regrown with a bit more time:

What vegetables do you regrow in your kitchen?

Photos by James Ransom

41 Comments

becky N. December 3, 2017
I meant to say, plant the pineapple top in soil, not the fruit.
 
becky N. December 3, 2017
You can grow a new pineapple plant from store-bought. Cut the top off of the pineapple, then just plant it in soil. Be sure to leave the part just under the leaves above ground, or it will rot. Needs sunshine, and don't overwater it.
 
Libby C. June 2, 2017
Are parsnip greens edible? I grow them in my garden (for the roots); I know some people wear gloves when harvesting them because the greens often cause a skin rash from contact.
 
Zoe August 27, 2018
I know this is over a year old, but if anyone sees it and is curious, I’ve eaten them many times. Didn’t know about the rashes but I sauté them with a little coconut oil and a lot of garlic and they’re delicious!
 
FS June 1, 2017
Celery is fun and rewarding to regrow. Just cut off the end with about an inch or two of stalk. Place in shallow water - deep water will cause rot - and watch the pretty green leaves grow. Also, keep away from your cats. Mine love to crop the new growth ... :)
 
Ann @. June 1, 2017
Regenerating some ramps in my kitchen window as I write this. It's now week two and they are starting to grow three little mini bulbs from the cutting. With such a short window of availability in the market (not to mention the price) it's worth a try!
 
Jeff W. May 28, 2017
"And really, all members of the turnip family (beets, turnips, parsnips) can regrow their greens this way, not just carrots."<br /><br />Umm... no.<br /><br />Carrots and parsnips are in Apiaceae with parsley, fennel, dill, celery, caraway, lovage, coriander, cumin, anise, &c. <br /><br />Beets and turnips are in Brassicaceae with broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, kale, collards, bok choy, brussels sprouts, &c.<br /><br />The two families are completely distinct. Please fix your article to have accurate information.
 
Kim February 20, 2017
Love this post Leeks are great to regrow as well.
 
Nancy D. February 20, 2017
Question: why do I want carrot greens?
 
nancy E. September 21, 2016
The fennel buld is what you buy fennel for and in Canada it is not cheap. It is delicious though and here you are trying to regrow the greens and sacrifice the bulb. Pure idiocy. Try braising your fennel, try it in salads, put it in chowders but do not waste it like this.<br />
 
fisher6188 August 26, 2018
Here in Southern California, fennel grows wild in a field close to me.
 
catalinalacruz August 26, 2018
Wild fennel is a different plant from the one we buy in stores that has a bulb.
 
peg D. April 30, 2016
What do you do with carrot greens?
 
Cătălina C. May 2, 2016
I'm wondering the same thing...
 
Bob December 2, 2015
I tried to regrow. It works pretty well.
 
John December 2, 2015
It didn't work for me. Maibe next time.
 
John December 2, 2015
I tried a it a view times and it failed, but I keep on trying but now different after reading the comments.
 
Anne July 23, 2015
Works so easily! I'm on my second batch of scallions (I plant the first batch in soil once they started to grow) Can't wait to try romaine!
 
fisher6188 August 26, 2018
I have been doing this with scallions for years except that I put the roots right in the soil. I haven't bought scallions in a long time.
 
Fifa A. July 23, 2015
Mints can regrow easily too, just pick a thick sprig, discard all leaves but 3 leaves on top of the sprig then place it in a glass of water. After a week roots will emerge and usually you will have a living, thriving mint plant after 6 weeks.
 
Gary August 26, 2018
if you plant any type of mint in the ground be careful. Mint is not much more than a weed and will spread and take over the area it is planted in. I grow it in a large plastic planter and trim it to fit the planter every month or so.
 
NancyFromKona August 27, 2018
For those of us who have a yard, mint can be a valuable asset and much more than a weed: find one that tastes great rather than propagating from seed since seeds do not always come true (my favorite is a spearmint called ‘Mojito’, spearmint is what most authors want when asking for fresh mint in a recipe); since slugs do not like mint, use mint as a barrier around plants slugs do like (see slughelp.com); mice don’t like it either but do like eating my tomatoes so tomatoes are now under planted with mint; if my home’s foundation got any sun I’d use it to repel ants, mint does OK in partial shade. It is a great groundcover with roots so shallow it is relatively easy to remove and then the leaves get sprinkled over fresh fruit, sautéed sugar peas, salad rolls and how about those Mojitos? The plant’s small flowers are a pollinators delight which improves the health and the yield of a garden.
 
Kim H. July 22, 2015
I will give a try on re-growing these veggies. For health reasons, I am thinking about going all veggies, fruit, rice and fish. Any thoughts on a good transition to this lifestyle<br />
 
dennisse July 7, 2015
I don't think this works anyways. I have tried it 3 times and it has failed each time
 
Ericka S. July 7, 2015
In regard to worry about not receiving nutrients and vit from soul.. I would think you could first root plants in water and then transfer over to soil.
 
Ericka S. July 7, 2015
The comment below also reminds me how my husband, frequently feeds our chickens cheese it's and ritz crackers.
 
Ericka S. July 7, 2015
Meant to say "minerals" above
 
Dan C. July 6, 2015
This is a terrible idea. Without soil, where are you getting potassium and nitrogen from?? You will be eating vegetables that are devoid of minerals and develop a potassium deficiency. It's like raising a chicken on candy corn and water. Sure, it will grow up and be fat, but what sort of nutritional value do you think it has?
 
Fifa A. July 23, 2015
You can use nutrients for hydroponics, it's loaded with minerals needed for growing vegetables. You just have to make the solution with the exact measurement.
 
Amanda D. May 12, 2016
What if you just put them in dirt? Will they regrow quickly? I know that must seem like a stupid question but I'm new to this. I had heard root vegetables didn't grow till it got colder.
 
Dawn L. June 17, 2015
You forgot celery that can be regrown too the same way you described for the romain