Re-purposed Veggies?

Romaine lettuce rooting with onion yet to go

A friend called me last week asking if I ever grew celery. I could only smile while sharing the short cut version of my successful celery growing experience utilizing celery from my refrigerator. The experience is one that led to seeking other means of creating shortcuts with re-purposed veggies.

You might be shaking your head at the concept of re-purposing any vegetable that doesn’t include a compost bin. Yet, there are many vegetables that will regrow from what we find in our refrigerator crisper if we want to experiment. with the idea.

Take a gander in your frig. As I do just that, I find things such as romaine lettuce, the proverbial celery, as well as red and yellow onions that all make for easy re-purposing and share similar means for regrowth. The base of celery and Romaine lettuce contain the means of regenerating a root system that will encourage new growth as long as the heart of the plant remains intact. Cut the leaves or stalks back to within an inch of the base of each respective vegetable and place the base in a shallow dish of warm water. Refresh the water on a daily basis and within a week, new growth should begin to grow from the center of the plant and ready to eat if harvesting new growth. If larger plants are desired, continue to refresh the water in the dish or bowl where the vegetable resides. As the roots develop from the base, move the plant outside into rich, well composted soil.

Onions are a bit easier to develop as they can be planted directly into the soil without the need of setting roots in water. Cut the onion an inch above the dry roots found on the vegetables. Set the rooted section into rich soil and lightly cover with soil. Water well. New onion growth will occur in short order.

Also found within the refrigerator are such things as cilantro and basil that can form roots within a few weeks if the stems are placed in water before planting in soil. Choose a few healthy single stems, Remove the leaves exposing four inches of the stem. Place in a glass of warm water and place the glass in a brightly lit window without direct exposure to sunlight. Within weeks, new roots will form allowing for transplanting into the garden. Be certain the roots are approximately four inches long before transplanting.

Re-purposing veggies can extend beyond what is found in the refrigerator. If you are into fresh sprouts on sandwiches or salad, you might try making your own. Just to name a few types of sprouts, try wheat berries, sunflowers, lentils, or mung beans that you might find in your pantry for a great start. Are you willing to try this?

Begin by placing no more than a few tablespoons of the berries, seeds or beans of choice in a clean canning jar and rinse. Then cover the future sprouts with water and cover the top of the jar with a piece of cheese cloth. After the long soaking, drain the water off and rinse the sprouts again. Turn the canning jar on its side for drainage with the cheese cloth back in place. Rinse the seeds a few times a day always draining out excess water. Within days, the spouts will be ready to add to your favorite salad or sandwich.

This means of sprouting can work in an entirely different manner. Another friend chatted with me about finding a bucket of old seeds and wondered if they were still good. I suggested he take a dampened paper towel and sprinkle a sample of seeds onto the damp paper towel and fold the damp towel onto itself. Keeping the paper towel damp will encourage those enclosed seeds to break dormancy if they are still viable. This idea may fall short of re-purposing – however, it supports not wasting anything!

There are many more types of vegetables that can be re-purposed for food that are a bit more labor intensive – or to try, if only to decorate your house such as sweet potatoes or avocados. If children are about the house, get them involved! Have some fun with these ideas. I would love to hear how you discovered re-purposing your vegetables!

Have a great weekend.

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