There are many health and environmental reasons to grow your own sprouts. While you can purchase them at your local grocery store or health food store, it is so easy to grow them at home. Growing your own is a great way to have a supply of gourmet varieties, ensure access to high quality fresh foods year round if you live in a colder climate, or simply to become more aware of the food you are eating.
I prefer the jar method which involves using a wide-mouth mason jar and either sprout lids from a health food store or cheesecloth and a rubber band.
You’ll need only a few basic supplies to get started sprouting. They include: organic sprouting seeds, nuts, legumes, or grains (such as mung beans, alfalfa seeds, clover seeds, broccoli seeds, and garbanzo beans.) Avoid sprouting kidney beans as they are poisonous if eaten raw or sprouted. Make sure the seeds you choose are from a reputable supplier that can guarantee they haven’t been heated during processing, which prevents them from sprouting.
-Large wide mouth mason jars
-Sprouting lids for jars (Sprouting lids are typically available in most health food stores but you can use cheesecloth and rubber bands over the top of the jars if you prefer)
Now you’re ready to get sprouting.
Grow Your Own Sprouts
- For hygiene’s sake, wash your hands before handling seeds. Use seeds, grains, nuts, or legumes. For simplicity, I’ll be referring to any of these items as seeds throughout the instructions.
- Remove any broken or discolored seeds, stones, twigs, or hulls that may have found their way into your sprouting seeds.
- Place one type of seed in the jar. Use about a teaspoon of seeds or one-third cup of beans. Remember they will grow in size during the soaking and sprouting process.
- Cover the seeds with pure water. If you are using a few tablespoons of seeds, cover with at least one cup of water. If you are using beans, nuts, or grains, use at least three times the water of the amount of seed. In other words, one cup of water for one-third cup of mung beans, for example.
- Allow the seeds to soak for about 6 to 12 hours. I find it easiest to start them before going to bed. They absorb the water while I’m sleeping and are ready to start sprouting in the morning.
- Cover the jar with the sprouting lids or cheesecloth. If you’re using cheesecloth, secure over the top of the jar with a rubber band. Drain off the water.
- Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and drain off the water again. Set upside down in a clean, cool spot in your kitchen area, preferably on a slight angle to allow excess water to drain off. Alternatively, use a stainless steel dish drying rack which gives the sprout jars the perfect angle for draining.
- Rinse the sprouts a few times a day. Be sure to drain them well each time.
- Once the sprouts are ready to be harvested (this amount of time differs for each variety; alfalfa or mung bean sprouts are ready in about a week), place them in a large bowl of cool water and stir them around to loosen hulls and skins from the seeds (this is an optional step). They’ll usually come to the top so you can remove them. Don’t worry about removing every hull. Doing so helps prevent spoilage so the sprouts will last longer. Drain sprouts well and store in the refrigerator covered for a week to 10 days, depending on the sprout type.
TIP: To increase the mineral content of your sprouts, add a piece of kelp or other type of seaweed to the water while the seeds are soaking.
Image of alfalfa, leek, sprouts and watercress via Shutterstock