By: Liz Baessler
Fennel is a popular vegetable for many gardeners because it has such a distinctive flavor. Similar in taste to licorice, it’s especially common in fish dishes. Fennel can be started from seed, but it’s also one of those vegetables that regrows very well from the stub that’s left over after you finish cooking with it. Keep reading to learn more about how to grow fennel from scraps.
Can I regrow fennel? Absolutely! When you buy fennel from the store, the bottom of the bulb should have a noticeable base to it – this is where the roots grew from. When you cut up your fennel to cook with, leave this base and just a little bit of the attached bulb intact.
Regrowing fennel plants is very easy. Simply place the little piece you saved in a shallow dish, glass, or jar of water, with the base facing down. Place this on a sunny windowsill and change the water every couple of days so the fennel doesn’t have a chance to rot or get moldy.
Growing fennel in water is as easy as that. In just a few days, you should see new green shoots growing up from the base.
After a little more time, new roots should start to sprout from the base of your fennel. Once you reach this stage, you have two choices. You can either keep on growing fennel in water, where it should continue to grow. You can harvest from it periodically like this, and as long as you keep it in the sun and change its water every now and again, you should have fennel forever.
Another option when regrowing fennel plants from scraps is to transplant into soil. After a few weeks, when the roots are big and strong enough, move your plant to a container. Fennel likes well-draining soil and a deep container.
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As people around the world are spending more time at home, interest in home gardening is growing. Specifically, many are looking to grow their own vegetables at home.
If you’re thinking about starting a vegetable garden, you could get started using scraps from vegetables you’ve used from cooking. Regrowing food from leftovers is a smart economic choice, and can also be a fun, simple project for teaching kids about how plants grow.
The Kemper Center for Home Gardening put together the below tips for regrowing vegetables from leftover scraps.
There are two types of fennel to grow in containers: Florence fennel, which is grown for bulbs and herb fennel, which is grown for leaves and seeds and used as a herb.
Herb Fennel Types
Bulb Fennel Types
This article was co-authored by Andrew Carberry, MPH. Andrew Carberry has been working in food systems since 2008. He has a Masters in Public Health Nutrition and Public Health Planning and Administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
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Growing fennel is a wonderful way to add spice to recipes using home grown ingredients. The pungent aroma is considered inviting, while the rich, earthy flavor is known to significantly contribute to the taste of many dishes. Fennel is high in vitamin C and has been used as an herbal remedy for digestive issues for many thousands of years. In addition, its delicate, green fronds are aesthetically pleasing, making fennel an excellent addition to any garden. Start with Step 1 below to learn how to grow fennel.
By scraps, I mean, the parts that normally end up in the garbage or the compost bin.
Learning to reuse what’s left of your fruits and vegetables is both practical and fun. Ultimately, growing food from scraps is a good addition to your expanding gardening skills.
Take a look at this directory of kitchen staples you can enjoy all over again. You’ll be surprised by how much you can minimize kitchen wastes and use them as food source instead!
The humble green onions are my favorite to regrow. They’re no fuss, they taste great, and regrowing is easy as 1, 2, 3.
First of all, it is difficult to regrow other lettuce varieties from scraps simply because of their structure.
Romaine lettuce grows tall with firms ribs in the middle of the leaves. This section grows close together unlike the looseleaf or the summer crisp variety, making it ideal for replanting.
This allium vegetable is flavorful in itself, you’ll want more in your home and your dishes. Just put the base in water and leave it in a sunny area of your house.
The leaves will sprout within a week or so, and you’ll be able to use some leaves in the kitchen.
Unlike the common potato, sweet potato leaves are edible and healthy too. They grow from the sprout called “slips”.
To start the slips, put your sweet potato in warm water. Once the sprouts appear, take them off and plant on a warm ground.
Who doesn’t love ginger tea? I love mine with lemon and honey. Did you know they taste best when they’re brewed from free and organic produce ginger?
Select a few nice parts with good growing buds from your store-bought ginger. Plant them directly in a rich moist soil.
If you love Asian food, you’ll need to get yourself a hefty stash of this exotic spice herb in your garden.
There’s no need to keep buying costly lemon grass when you can regrow them from the base. Put them in a glass container on a windowsill. The bottom thick end should be immersed in water. Don’t forget to change the water every few days.
Growing garlic from the cloves you’ve neglected at the pantry will not grow into new bulbs. You’ll need a longer season to regrow garlic.
The greens are what you’ll get instead. By their own right, they will also do great in your dishes.
Did you take more basil cuttings than you would need? Well, don’t throw those away but keep them in a bottle of water to root.
Then you’ll have more basil to go with your recipes.
Regrowing carrots does not mean regrowing the entire root for the carrot itself. Regrow carrot tops for its greens as well, since both are healthy and tasty.
Grow carrots in a sandy, loose, and well-draining soil. Or better yet, use a raised bed.
Potatoes with wrinkly skin are usually destined for the trash bin. But they will be better off in your garden to generate more food.
Check out for shoots that have sprouted. Plant those potatoes in containers for less hassle growing.
Fennels are easy to keep and maintain. Moreover, the stalk, leaves, and seeds of fennel all have their uses.
Regrow the base and transfer in soil pots once the shoots start to appear. Now that’s one ingenious way of growing food from scraps!
Once the turnip begins to grow new sprouts, the taste and texture becomes unpleasant. What you can do is put the sprouting tops in a container with water, and transfer to a soil bed.
Harvest turnip greens, and produce seeds for planting.
Just like romaine lettuce and Chinese cabbage, bok chois are brassicas with firm stalks. They closely resemble a heart. This is where new plants will form and grow.
Growing cilantro can be quite tricky. They have a habit of going to seed rather quickly.
Good thing they can regrow from the stalk, which we usually just throw away.
We all know how mushroom can be quite costly in the long run. Store-bought oyster mushroom variety is one of the easiest mushrooms to grow and regrow.
I love including tomatoes in most of my dishes, but I often remove the seeds. I air-dry the seeds at room temperature, and use them to grow my own tomatoes.
Try canning tomatoes if you’ve got lots of harvests. Then save the tomato seeds for the next growing season.
Just like tomatoes, bell pepper is another vegetable I use in my dishes quite often. And quite frankly, I can’t remember ever buying pepper seeds from garden stores.
I grew my first bell peppers from over-ripened fruit bought from the market.
Rosemary grows well from cuttings so, don’t throw any extra cuttings away. Root them in a glass of water. Then transfer into pots in your free time.
Pumpkin or squash seeds make a great and healthy snack. But if you’ve got more than enough, save some pumpkin seeds to plant for the next growing season.
After squeezing the juice off of the lemons, the seeds along with the peelings usually end in the trash bin. Don’t throw those away.
Even lemon peelings have many great uses. Grow yourself a tree and learn how to grow lemon here.
Another great example of growing food from scraps is the sweet pineapple. The crown can grow and bear another pineapple for you to enjoy.
Grow pineapple crowns in containers and say aloha to your own fruit in about a year or so.
Growing avocado from the seeds or pit takes a special technique to make them germinate faster. Find out how to germinate avocado pit here, and grow an avocado tree in your backyard.
Much like it’s relative, the melons, cucumbers grow easily from seeds too. So don’t throw those seeds ever again. Instead, grow cucumbers at home for a fresh and hefty supply.
The Chinese or Napa cabbage tastes sweeter than the ordinary cabbage, which makes it great for soups. Plus, it grows with tall firm ribs with a midsection which can be regrown easily.
Regrow radish tops for their greens which taste great in potato stew or when sauteed. But if you want the bulbs, you’ll need to wait for the flowers to bloom.
Once the flowers dry out, you can take the seed pods and dry them for replanting.
Considered one of the easiest plants for growing food from scraps, mints are regrown from the top growth cuttings.
Plant in a container once they develop roots.
Taking the seeds from chilli peppers will also remove the pith where capsaicin is concentrated. This results in reduced spicy taste.
Dry the seeds, and plant instead.
Enjoy the pulp of these juicy fruits, but save the seeds to regrow. You’ll be amazed at what these good-for-the-dump seeds can grow into.
Beet greens and beets are healthy and taste great in salads too. Save those beet tops to reproduce new greens in just a few days.
Although it will take some time to grow a fruit-bearing apple tree, it still feels good to have your own.
Grow apples from seeds now and enjoy seeing it grow. In two years, you’ll be enjoying sweet apple fruits.
In just a year, you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful landscape and the fruits of your labor.
You won’t have to wait long to enjoy peach tree fruits grown from seeds. Within a year, you’ll have yourself a grown tree and the fruits that come with it.
Pears are so much like apples. They are grown the same way. They grow and bear fruits, and have lovely blooms for your garden landscape.
Amazingly, kiwi is a climbing plant that can be grown in a trellis or over an arbor. You have to take note, however, there are male and female kiwi vines, and only female kiwis bear fruits.
Some peanuts just can’t wait to grow back, can they? We just throw those early shoots right out.
Why not let them grow as they please and get them back in the soil for another round of peanut harvest?
Growing apricot trees from seeds may not guarantee a fruit-bearing harvest. But have you seen how beautiful apricot blossoms are? They’re a feast to the eyes.
Seeds from watermelon make great and nutritious snacks when dried and toasted. Save some and replant for more watermelons in the future.
Start growing food from scraps and learn how to in this video from Veggietorials:
After going through this list, I’m sure you’ll find growing food from scraps very convenient and easy. It may not answer all our food problems, but it sure is a fun project to do at home with your family.
This could well be a good strategy to pave your family’s way to food security and better well being.
Have you tried doing an experiment with one of these food plants? I tried growing green onion which is a favorite in my household. Do share your own experience by posting in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 11, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
An excellent vegetable known for its nutritious value as well as its digestive and antioxidant properties, fennel is an admirable addition to most of the summer dishes you can prepare, and its aniseed-like flavor will enchant you.
So the health benefits of fennel are well acknowledged, and fennel is delicious when integrated into culinary recipes with its light taste of aniseed.
Although the Mediterranean diet is where it is most present, fennel is grown more or less everywhere in mild climate regions.
Also, remember not to confuse fennel with dill because even though the two plants look alike and that dill is sometimes called the “bastard fennel”, they are quite different. Likewise, although the taste is very similar to that of aniseed, the leaves which are very different will help you tell them apart.