From Kitchen Scraps to Gardening to Soup

Growing up in the Bronx was a unique experience as far as city life goes. My grandparents’ house was a magical place filled with beautiful flowers, vegetable gardens and fruit trees. We had our own mini farm. We canned tomatoes and made wine.

There were efforts to have a vegetable garden when I moved to Orange County years ago. It was a lot of work and since there were so many farms, easier to support the local farmers for fresh veggies.

During this pandemic, I find myself watching videos for distraction and inspiration. Scrap gardening caught my attention.

Scraps from the graden soaking in water on a kitchen counter
Scrap gardening is easy! Pictured are scallions in a glass, romaine lettuce in 3 bowls and leeks far right. Just place bottom of vegetable in water and watch it grow. Photo credit: Claudia Jacobs

What is scrap gardening?

Kitchen scrap gardening is growing food from the kitchen scraps instead of it ending up in the compost or garbage. It is super easy. All you need is the bottom of the vegetable, a jar or bowl, water and sunlight. Once it grows, you can plant it.

My first attempt: green onions/scallions. This is easy and a quick grow. Just put the bottom bulbs in a jar or glass, because it is a tall plant. Watch it take off! After chopping up the new growth in a recipe I thought it would take a while for it to grow back. Nope! It was a day or 2 to notice how tall the scallions grew!

Next attempt was a leek. Sure enough, it is sprouting. I have 3 small bowls of romaine lettuce bottoms starting to grow. Other vegetables to try are celery, garlic, ginger, herbs and more.

Freezing avocado

This one had to try it since I love fresh avocado. It is either not ripe or too ripe. There seems to be 1 day of perfection, so the freezing concept appealed to me.

Wash the skin of avocado. Cut in half and peel. Put them on a tray and flash freeze them then transfer to a freezer bag.

Honestly, this was disappointing. Unless you plan on throwing it into a shake or dressing, the texture changes dramatically. I tried it semi frozen, too cold and mushy. I tried thawing it in fridge first, turned into brown mush. If there is a secret to this, let me know.

A father and son cooking in the kitchen
We should all be eating more fresh vegetables. With scrap gardening, you can grown your own and get the kids involved to encourage both gardening and eating healthier.
Photo Credit: Metro Creative Connection

Soup’s on!

Having a compromised immune system has me limiting my food shopping and very picky of where and the time I go to the store. It may be once a month. Trying to waste less to avoid the shopping runs, I make scrap soup. Simple and easy with no rules, just use what you have.

Vegetable soup: save the leafy tops of celery, parsley stems, leek tops, carrots, potatoes, asparagus bottoms, onion skins. The onion skin adds a rich color to the broth. You can freeze these scraps till you have enough for soup. Simply put the scraps in a pot of water. Add bay leaves and peppercorns and let the pot simmer. Strain, discard whatever you can’t use in the soup. I save the carrots and firmer veggies and puree it right in the broth with an emersion blender. Season to taste. Asparagus bottoms can turn into a delicious cream of asparagus soup. Add cream to make a creamy soup.

Got an idea? Please share.