10 WAYS TO REGROW FOOD IN WATER

It’s great news for those buying organic vegetables, but even if you aren’t, it’s a simple way to stretch those grocery dollars just a teeny bit further is to regrow food in water!

Romaine lettuce on a cutting board.

WHY SHOULD YOU REGROW FOOD IN WATER?

There are plenty of reasons to regrow food, but the most important ones to me are:

(1) IT’S ABSOLUTELY FREE.

You already bought the vegetable. All it costs is a few tablespoons of water – but if you’re smart about it, you can re-use water you’ve already used elsewhere, like from boiling pasta or water that you collected while waiting for the shower to get hot. Then it wouldn’t cost you a dime!

(2) IT’LL TRIM YOUR GROCERY BUDGET.

Little ways to save money really do add up to bigger savings, as long as you’re diligent about using them.

Now, you won’t get a huge harvest out of any of these items, but it is still food and every little bit helps. Even if it’s a few leaves of lettuce to scoop your tuna salad with, you can regrow food you didn’t have before and won’t have to buy.

(3) IT MAKES ORGANICS MORE AFFORDABLE.

Affording organic food just got easier! If you start with organic food, you’ll regrow food that’s organic… so you’ll reap the benefits of organic greens without actually paying for them!

(4) IT’S EASY.

Do I have to explain further? I mean, stick the plant in water and watch it grow. Really – it’s that easy!

Celery stalks cut off from the base.


I’ve listed below all the vegetables that can legitimately grow in water and water alone.

Sure, there are plenty more that can START in water and then be transplanted to soil. And yes, beans will sprout in water too – but unless the vegetable will grow into more vegetable that can be eaten as-is with only a cup of water, I kept it off this list.

GENERAL GUIDELINES TO REGROW FOOD IN WATER

  • You don’t need a lot of water – just enough to cover the roots. About 1/2″ of water seems to be sufficient otherwise the food can get moldy and slimy.
  • Be sure to check the water every 2-3 days to ensure that A) there’s enough water, and B) no rogue lettuce pieces fall off and slime up your bowl.
  • The size of container should be relative to the size of the food you’re growing. Lettuce and celery grows best in shallow bowls like these. Green onion and lemongrass can be in taller, skinny glasses like these.
  • You can regrow multiples of the same plant as long as you’re not overcrowding the area.
  • I haven’t tried this myself, but using a fertilizer could help with the yield when you regrow food – especially if this is more than a fun side project. I would recommend this Dr. Earth organic liquid fertilizer or a hydroponic fertilizer.

10 WAYS TO REGROW FOOD IN WATER

BOK CHOY

Cut off the bottom of the stalk and place in a small bowl of water. New growth begins from the center in 1-2 days with significant growth in less than a week!

CABBAGE

Place the root end in a shallow bowl of water and watch it regrow from the center. Be sure to harvest on the smaller side to get the best flavor.

CARROT GREENS

You can’t regrow an actual carrot, but you can regrow the carrot tops! Place the cut-off end of a carrot in a shallow bowl of water. Harvest the greens as they grow and add to salads. Better yet, make this amazing carrot top pesto and stop spending money on store-bought!

Celery bottoms with stalks cut off and a bit of regrowth coming out of the center.

CELERY

Cut off the bottom 2″ of the stalk and place in a small bowl of water. New growth begins from the center in 3-4 days. It might take awhile for a full stalk of celery to grow, but you’ll get great growth in the center for flavoring dishes. If you don’t know what to do with the leaves, dehydrate them and make your own dried celery powder.

FENNEL

Cut off the bottom 1″ of the base so that the roots are intact and place in a small bowl of water.

GARLIC CHIVES

Garlic chives are the green that grows from a clove of garlic and can be added to dishes that traditionally call for green onion chives like salads and baked potatoes. Place a garlic clove in a small cup and add water to the bottom without submerging. Roots will grow in a few days and shoots will grow shortly after!

Tip: Garlic starts to lose it pungent flavor when the shoots grow, so if you find a rogue clove in your fridge or pantry starting to shoot, place it in a cup of water to grow chives instead of throwing the clove away!

GREEN ONION

Keep the white part of the onion with any roots that are in still intact. Place in a glass with water and you’ll have a never-ending supply of fresh green onion!

Green onion sitting in a glass of water.

LEEKS

Cut off the bottom 2-3″ of the stalk and place in a cup of water. New growth will come from the center of the plant. Usually only the green part of the leek is used in cooking, but it can be used interchangeably with onions for a delicious, mellow flavor.

LEMONGRASS

Cut off 2-3″ from the bottom and place in a tall container with 1/2″ or so of water. New lemongrass shoots will grow from the center.

LETTUCE

Cut off the bottom of the head of lettuce and place it in a small bowl of water. New growth begins from the center of the in as little as 3 days and you’ll have a new half-head of lettuce in about 2 weeks. I’ve heard romaine re-grows best, but I’ve had success with green leaf and red leaf lettuce too.

Three romaine hearts with new growth coming out from the center.

GOT MORE SCRAPS TO REGROW FOOD?

There are plenty more vegetables that will regrow using just a small scrap of the original food. These listed below can be started in water, but should be transplanted to dirt for full growth and harvest.

  • avocado
  • basil
  • beets
  • cilantro
  • ginger
  • lemon balm
  • mint
  • mushrooms
  • onions (white/yellow/red)
  • parsnips
  • pineapple
  • potatoes
  • rosemary
  • sweet potatoes
  • turnips

And of course, you can save the seeds/pits from apples, cherries, lemons, nectarines, peaches, peppers (sweet and hot), plums, pumpkins and tomatoes to grow your own new vegetables!

We have several heads of lettuce regrowing on our kitchen table, which makes for a pretty and practical centerpiece! If you had a shelf near a window, you could keep all your plants there and just harvest when they’re big!

Just think – if we did all of the above ways to regrow food, we might not ever have to shop at the grocery store again!

IT’S SO EASY TO REGROW FOOD IN WATER!

  • You’ve worked hard to grow your garden or pinch pennies to afford organics or are doing the best you can with your budget — now it’s time to stretch those dollars even further and grow food in water!
  • Start with one of these shallow dishes or these taller dishes. Add in the food stumps (see above for details!). And keep the water fresh.
  • Fertilizer could help if you really want to work this system. This Dr. Earth organic liquid fertilizer or a hydroponic fertilizer would work well.
  • If regrowing your food in water isn’t your skill set, use those kitchen scraps to make chicken stock!

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