Ever wonder how to grow sprouts? You’ve seen the little containers of sprouts in the market, and have probably paid too much for them. Time to find out how to grow sprouts yourself!
Growing your own sprouts is a great way to incorporate fresh, healthful, and live food into your diet in a safe and easy way! With a relatively small effort, you can have a steady supply of a delicious and economical vegetable right from the kitchen counter.
Don’t Buy Sprouts in the Market
I didn’t grow up eating sprouts. My first experience with sprouts was from salad bars, and hippie-inspired sandwiches made in funky restaurants, and I fell in love with them. So, I would buy those clamshell packages of packed alfalfa, or mixed sprouts, at the grocery store. It was hard to tell how fresh they were and impossible to use them before the bottom third or half started to smell like funk. Gross!
Occasionally you would read about some sprout recall because of bacteria, or it would be hard to find organic, or local sources. Eventually, I was just put off by trying to have them available at home, and enjoyed them in salads and wraps when I could get them. I had no idea how easy it was to grow sprouts until years later.
Almost by accident, I stumbled on a large jar with a screen at the top and a mason jar style screw top at my friend’s herb shop. When I asked her about it, she told me that it was a sprouting jar. Who knew? With a small investment in the jar, some sprouting seeds, and armed with not much more than a pamphlet worth of instruction, I was all in and ready to grow sprouts! Since then, we have enjoyed sprouts regularly for sandwiches and salads. The quality and freshness of homegrown sprouts cannot be matched by commercially available sources.
Growing Sprouts: Getting Started
Having the right equipment is essential. At least, it is for me. I guess there are people who are growing sprouts in mason jars with cheesecloth and rubber bands and I say more power to them, but when I started, there were at least four people regularly eating at my house and we went through sprouts pretty quickly. We also really piled them high on salads and in sandwiches, tacos, whatever (like on a sandwich with Better Than Tuna!). Therefore, I was grateful for the big jar.
Sadly, that original big jar broke only about two weeks ago. (safety tip: don’t pick the jar up by the cover if it isn’t securely screwed down). I didn’t realize how much I had grown to love having them on hand until I looked down at this beautiful full harvest of sprouts dotted with shards of broken glass.
We have moved to Florida from Connecticut, so I couldn’t go back to the herb shop to find a replacement. With a little online research, we found a great sprouting jar from NOWRealFood.com. We bought two jars so that we can have a second batch growing as we enjoy the previous one.
Where to Get Sprouting Seeds
The most important element is a good supply of quality seeds for sprouting. Sprouting seeds are often available at health food stores and I’ve seen them at most WholeFoods. I buy mine locally or from mountainroseherbs.com. They have the best sprouting seeds I have ever used. That being said, it’s important to understand that the sprouts are sensitive to heat and humidity. You need to have them at an indoor humidity of around 70% and temperatures below 80°F (about 27°C) for optimum growth. It is something to keep in mind if you live in a warm climate as we do.
The Kids Love To Grow Sprouts, Too
Anyway, on to the process. I want to take a moment to say that this is an EXCELLENT way to get kids involved in the kitchen and excited about eating vegetables. Kids are often excited to eat and share the food they grow, and this provides results in just a few days, with visible progress of growth every day. I confess that I never stop getting a thrill from watching the progress.
Nutritional Value of Sprouts
Besides being a delicious addition to your diet, these little gems pack a lot of nutritional benefits. They are rich in vitamin K, which assist in the blood clotting mechanism for healthy healing. Vitamin K also supports the absorption of calcium, which is essential for strong bones. Alfalfa sprouts are a source of iron and B complex vitamins such as folate, an essential nutrient for fetal development. Alfalfa sprouts contain the amino acid, lysine. Lysine deficiency can lead to fatigue, hair loss, and muscle soreness as well as a compromised immune system. The sprouts are also a source of omega-3 fatty acids.
If you have never tried it, I encourage you to start growing your own sprouts. It is fun and easy, and watching them grow feeds your spirit. Do it. Then make a hippie-inspired sandwich.
Growing your own sprouts is a great way to incorporate fresh, healthful, and live food into your diet in a safe and easy way! With a relatively small effort, you can have a steady supply of delicious and economical vegetables right from the kitchen counter.
Water (preferably filtered)
Sprouting seeds of your choice
Start with a clean and well-rinsed sprouting jar.
Pour in about 1/4 cup of sprouting seeds (yield will be about 4 cups) and cover with about 1 cup of filtered water and gently swirl.
Allow to soak for about an hour (I have read to soak overnight, but I have never done that.) and then gently drain off the water.
Lay the jar on its side out of direct heat and sunlight. Laying the jar on its side, maximizing the air needed for sprouting.
Every day, gently rinse the sprouts with filtered water and drain, returning it to its side position. In hot weather, you may want to rinse twice a day, but always drain very well and handle them gently.
After about 4-5 days, the sprouts are ready. I gently transfer them to a container in the fridge to free up the sprouting jar for the next batch. The fresh sprouts will last several days, but be sure that they are not standing in any residual water from the sprouting jar.
remember to keep the jar out of the hot sun, or temps that are too cool
Georgia is an unpretentious foodie who, at 50, transitioned from a vegetarian diet to a whole foods plant based diet and is loving it. She works as a nurse, plays as a quilter, loves to run, hates to race.
She thinks dogs are actually angels (in dog suits).