Quarantine Conservation Fun, Part 1
The initial two weeks of self-quarantine have now stretched into six, and no definite end in sight. With stores sometimes short of produce, here’s what I’ve been doing to keep fresh veggies in stock.
Most people throw out the ends of lettuce and celery when they’re used up. However, in a few weeks you can regrow the entire plant. Here’s what you do:
1. Trim the top of the celery or lettuce back until it is about 3” tall. Peel off any dead leaves from the outside. Slice a very thin layer of the dried base from the bottom of the plant where the root was so that it can suck up moisture. Just like you do when you get fresh flowers, you recut the stems so the flowers can drink.
2. Plant the base in potting soil, covering at least 1”. The planter doesn’t have to be too big, one that is approximately 6” across will do. Or, as a last resort, plant it in the dirt alongside a houseplant. Just make sure that you NEVER use systemic fertilizer or one containing pesticides. Organic works best.
3. Water the stem and in approximately a week the top of the plant will begin to regrow. (Actually, the plants in the photos below were planted about four days ago.) When the plant is mature enough to eat, I find it best to just take the leaves or stalks that I need and leave the root growing so that I can have a continuous supply.
4. The same thing can be done with carrots, beets, etc. Just cut the tops off, plant the base in the dirt and water. With root vegetables make sure you have enough space for them to grow. Get the kids involved and experiment!