August is the harvest month par excellence. But did you know that you can keep harvesting different vegetables - such as leeks, onions and white cabbage - by simply 'regrowing' them. So if you handle it handily, you only have to buy these vegetables once.
The moment journalist and 'leftover champion' Daisy Scholte realized that vegetables are just plants, "everything" changed in her own words. She wrote about it in the book Delicious cooking with leftovers . "If you take care of a plant on the windowsill, it will stay alive. That also applies to vegetables such as lettuce. Put it in a little water and it will last for weeks."
Scholte discovered that she could grow new specimens from scraps of vegetables using the same principle. "In the vegetable department you can see that a number of vegetables still have roots. A leek or a spring onion, for example."
Directly in the ground or in the water
When you have those vegetables back with nutrition and water, they will grow again. Scholte: "Leeks, but also spring onions or fennel, can be eaten at first. Keep the butt - a few centimeters above the root - over and put it in the ground. If you take good care of it, the leeks will grow back."
"It's amazing what keeps growing if you take good care of it." Thomas Luttikhold, founder of Wastewatchers
White cabbage, bok choy and celery are best placed in the ground in a bowl of water before planting. "Change the water regularly, after a week new plants start to grow", says Scholte. 'You then put them in potting soil, allowing the plants to protrude slightly above the ground.'
Onions can go straight into the ground: "After you have planted the bottom of an onion in the soil, with the roots down, new plants will grow out", Scholte explains. "Carefully separate the plants and replant them in soil, slightly apart. After a few months you can harvest your own onions."
Potatoes that have taken root in the pantry can be propagated by cutting them into pieces about four inches, each piece having at least one offshoot. "Plant them with the shoots up and new potatoes will grow."
Ginger and pineapple
Thomas Luttikhold, founder of Wastewatchers, is also intrigued by keeping vegetables alive and allowing vegetables to grow. According to him, you can easily let ginger continue to grow in a pot with soil. "It is best to use fresh and not too much dried ginger. New stems quickly grow from the small green-white buds on the ginger root."
More examples of vegetables that you can regrow:
- Garlic: (edible) sprouts grow naturally from a garlic bulb.
- Basil: place a few loose leaves in a glass of water and wait for roots to grow.
- Mushrooms: plant the stems in a layer of wet soil. Adding coffee grounds accelerates growth.
- Lettuce with a root ball: the lettuce continues to grow in a bowl of water. You simply pick what you need.
Slightly more difficult, but definitely worth a try, is growing a pineapple plant from a pineapple. Luttikhold succeeded after a few unsuccessful attempts by cutting off the crown with leaves at the top and pulling the bottom leaves off. "Then small brown roots appear, from which a new plant can grow."
Finally, a general tip from Luttikhold: "Just try it, it's amazing what keeps growing if you take good care of it. And you will see, you will get a lot more appreciation for food in general."