Four Flavourful Root Veggies You Can Grow From Leftovers
Our latest blog look at flavourful root vegetables you grow from leftovers. It’s getting towards the start of the winter, but as the Autumn rolls on don’t be discouraged with regards to your garden – there’s still a lot you can do from the warmth and comfort of indoors, and still a few bits and pieces you can plant out, especially those plants that stay warm below ground. It also happens that the ones we’re about to show you make for great winter soup ingredients.
The best trick we’ve recently picked up is getting tasty plants to grow from leftover food scraps from veggies you can pick up at either your local supermarket or grocery store – the more local the better. We hope that you can get these four flavourful roots flourishing indoors and outdoors after reading this guide.
The pungent cloves of garlic make anything taste amazing, and garlic bread is a staple snack or accompaniment to any winter soup. It’s pretty easy to get your garlic out and planted. As a rule of thumb we suggest using organic garlic to try to grow your own, as it rules out it being sprayed or otherwise tampered with to make it not sprout.
Sometimes if left long enough, your garlic will sprout on its own. If not, plant individual cloves facing upwards either directly in the soil or container. It’s really that simple, and they’ll grow outside over winter, and be ready to harvest next Summer, when the garlic plant’s leaves start to go brown.
Continuing this theme of pungent flavour, your spring onions can also be fairly easily regrown from scraps. It’s not altogether difficult and if you have a sunny spot to plant them, it can be quite a quick process. Again, try to find organic ones if you can with the longest roots you can find.
To start your onion project, simply cut down the spring onion until it’s about 3-4 inches long and use the top part for cooking. Then the bottom parts of the onion can be placed in a small jam jar of water, and with adequate light and changing the water in the jar every few days, will regrow, sometimes quite fast.
This one’s trickier – if you can find yourself some organic ginger, you might notice that the root is growing ‘eye’ buds somewhat like a potato. This is where the root is trying to sprout to continue growing. If you can get the piece of the ginger root which is sprouting separated from the main piece, you can plant it.
Use a small pot with potting soil and bury the root with the new shoot above the soil. The ginger root likes to be kept warm, moist and not in direct sunlight, so it’s a good one to put in a sunny room, but not by the window. The root will increase in size and if you’re feeling brave you can dig it up and harvest it indefinitely.
This citrus-tasting treat is a great all round herb, and lemongrass is just as easy to grow as these others. Again we can’t stress this enough, find some organic stuff if you can. Lemongrass resembles spring onions when small, but can grow into something much bigger and bushier if allowed to live wild and free in open soil.
Get your lemongrass roots and leave them in a jar of water roots down, just like the spring onions. Make sure to change the water every few days, and the lemongrass should regrow in the same way as the onions. Except, this plant is a little different. Once it gets tall and gnarly enough, it can be potted up like a delicious little grassy houseplant and used indefinitely for that famous flavour.
Cooking and Tips
It’s fairly easy to get these plants growing, but given that they all vary in the amount of time they take to grow, what can you expect to be using first?
Well, the lemongrass and spring onions will grow the fastest and quickest, and the combination of the two finely chopped add depth to many dishes. Budget instant noodles can get a little bit more interesting by adding the pair to the noodle soup, and almost any dish can benefit from adding these two quick growing flavoursome roots.
Your ginger will grow better if you take better care of it – keep it away from the cold but move it outside as the days get warmer. The longer you leave it, the bigger the ginger root will grow and the more you can remove. You can also just replant more and watch your ginger prospects multiply for the long term. Ginger goes great in curries and of course ginger biscuits, but in order to bake with it it needs to be powdered – check online for guides.
As for the garlic, we’ve already mentioned garlic bread, but this one takes the longest to grow as it’s complex. If you put down a lot in the winter you might have a lot by the Summer, so plan accordingly. Once you have grown your new garlic it likes to be stored in a cool, dark, dry well ventilated place. It doesn’t keep for ages, but there are a few ways to make it last longer by roasting or preserving it in oil too.