The average American spends more than $150 each week on food. It’s not surprising considering the commodity’s rapid rate of inflation. Take ground beef, for example: in 2009 one pound cost just $2.35 compared with $3.46 in 2014. That's a near 50 percent increase in five years. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service the price of beef, veal, pork, eggs, dairy, and fresh fruit all rose during the early part of this year.
With no indication that prices will decrease, consumers are looking for new and innovative ways to afford fresh, wholesome foods. One approach is to cut costs. There are a number of ways to reduce food costs but one is brilliantly simple: use food scraps that would otherwise be discarded to grow more food. Many fruits and vegetables can be regrown with minimal space, equipment, or agricultural know-how.
Vegetables with exposed root ends, like celery, scallions, and fennel, can easily be re-sprouted in a small dish of water then transplanted to a pot or garden. Lettuces can be regrown this way as well. Some root vegetables like beets and turnips can be regrown using their cut tops and carrots will quickly re-sprout their edible greens. Even potatoes will grow from dried-out peelings, provided there are two to three eyes on each piece of peel.
Though growing your own foods at home from kitchen scraps is unlikely to meet all your fruit and vegetable needs, growing some produce yourself will help reduce your grocery bill and provide you with fresh, wholesome foods you can feel good about. And, if you’re able to grow a significant number of fruits and vegetables at home, you could be traveling to the grocery store less often, reducing your transportation costs as well.
To grow this vegetable at home, simply save the base of the celery after the stalks have been removed. Place the base into a shallow dish of water, ensure that it receives direct sunlight, and once new leaves start to sprout, transplant it.
If you have unused white scallion ends, simply place them in a glass of water and wait for the green stems to regrow. Then, snip the green ends and repeat the growing process.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.