How To Grow Safe Sprouts

Getting Ready to Start Sprouting Seeds

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It is so much cheaper to grow your own sprouts!A 2% bleach solution is required to disinfect your seeds from food-borne bacteria.Make the filter lid out of a nylon for free!
It is so much cheaper to grow your own sprouts!
It is so much cheaper to grow your own sprouts! | Source
A 2% bleach solution is required to disinfect your seeds from food-borne bacteria.
A 2% bleach solution is required to disinfect your seeds from food-borne bacteria. | Source
Make the filter lid out of a nylon for free!
Make the filter lid out of a nylon for free! | Source

How to Grow Alfafla Sprouts

Sprouts are Cheap, Nutritious, and Easy to Grow

I have always loved to munch on crispy earthy sprouts of any kind. They just add a freshness and great taste to so many things. I wouldn't even flinch when dropping four or five bucks on a container of nest-like greens! They are that good, and that good for me. Then I discovered that growing sprouts for myself was really easy, and very coast effective! This also gave me the feeling of knowing exactly how fresh, and how clean my food really is. Since hearing about pretty recent sprout recalls, growing my own beneficial organic sprouts has played a major roll in my world of produce consumption. Today, you will be learning a fast, inexpensive way to quadruple the amount of sprouts you have for eating, and for a lot less green! Let's take a look at some vegetable sprout know-how!

Why Grow My Own Sprouts

Alfalfa Sprout Recall and the E. Coli, Salmonella, Listeria Concerns

It is no secret that in both 2011, and again in 2012 sprouts were placed under a recall. Concerns surrounding Listeria, Salmonella, and E.coli contamination was the reason. These potentially deadly bacterial pathogens have been found in several produce recalls over the past ten years or so, including spinach and lettuce products. The scary thing is, we may not know the seemingly healthy foods we buy, have been contaminated until it is far too late. This is the reason I set out on a mission to grow as much of my own produce as I possibly can; which includes sprouting my own micro greens. The pay-off for a little extra effort? Super healthy food that I know is free of Salmonella and other nasty foodborne bacteria. Oh, and don't forget the super-food punch of nutrition these ultra-fresh tiny green delights offer.

How to Grow Sprouts

What Do I Need to Grow Sprouts at Home

MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT:

  • Seeds to sprout
  • Wide mouth glass canning jar, 1 quart size or larger (or any glass or plastic container about this same size)
  • A lid fashioned from cheesecloth, muslin, or nylon that can be secured by a rubber band or canning lid ring. Or the specialty screens you can purchase for the ring lids.
  • A place to prop the jar upside down to drain.
  • Bleach
  • Tap water

Quick Avocado Sprout Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of sprouts of your choice
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • ½ tablespoon mayonnaise (or plain yogurt)
  • Dash of light-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dried (or 1 teaspoon fresh) basil
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon juice

Thoroughly toss all ingredients together and serve chilled under grilled shrimp, fish, or chicken, as a highly nutritional meal.

How to Disinfect Sprout Seeds

Why Do I Need to Disinfect My Seeds for Sprouts

If you skip this step, you will be risking the health and safety of all those who eat your sprouts. All seeds have the potential of carrying E.coli and many other foodborn bacterial pathogens. Because of this, when growing your own sprouts, it is pretty important to disinfect the seeds first. But don't worry, the process is really simple to do!

2% Seed Disinfecting Solution:

  1. Combine 1 teaspoon of bleach and 1 cup of hot tap water.
  2. Pour the solution into the jar and over the seeds, making sure to cover them completely.
  3. Soak the seeds in the bleach solution filled jar for 15 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes, rinse the seeds thoroughly and until you can no longer smell the bleach.

Now you are ready to start the sprouting process!

The Seed Sprouting Process

How to Soak Sprout Seeds

Now that your seeds are disinfected, it is time to get the sprouting process started. To do this:

  • Place 1½ tablespoons (for every 1 quart sized jar) of seeds into the clean jar. Secure the lid after partially filling it with cool room temperature water. Swirl the seeds in the water, for one more final rinse. Pour off the water.
  • Refill the jar about 1/3 of the way with cool tap water, making sure all of the seeds are covered with water completely.
  • Let the seeds soak in indirect light (very low-light) for about 8 to 12 hours, or over night.

Daily Sprout Growth

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Soak the seeds for 8 to 12 hours after disinfecting them. Be sure to keep them in a very low-light location.Once the seeds start to sprout, like in this day 2 picture, it gets a lot more fun to watch!On day 3, the sprouts are really growing fast! You can see  the sprout's tails are getting longer here.Now, on day 4, the tails are really long and almost ready to eat! In this day 5 picture, the tails are not only longer, but they are staring to turn green!The new grown sprouts turn green only after they have a little light available. This happens because of photosynthesis! Which is how plants make their food with the help of the sun!
Soak the seeds for 8 to 12 hours after disinfecting them. Be sure to keep them in a very low-light location.
Soak the seeds for 8 to 12 hours after disinfecting them. Be sure to keep them in a very low-light location. | Source
Once the seeds start to sprout, like in this day 2 picture, it gets a lot more fun to watch!
Once the seeds start to sprout, like in this day 2 picture, it gets a lot more fun to watch! | Source
On day 3, the sprouts are really growing fast!
On day 3, the sprouts are really growing fast! | Source
You can see  the sprout's tails are getting longer here.
You can see the sprout's tails are getting longer here. | Source
Now, on day 4, the tails are really long and almost ready to eat!
Now, on day 4, the tails are really long and almost ready to eat! | Source
In this day 5 picture, the tails are not only longer, but they are staring to turn green!
In this day 5 picture, the tails are not only longer, but they are staring to turn green! | Source
The new grown sprouts turn green only after they have a little light available. This happens because of photosynthesis! Which is how plants make their food with the help of the sun!
The new grown sprouts turn green only after they have a little light available. This happens because of photosynthesis! Which is how plants make their food with the help of the sun! | Source

Draining and Tending to Home Grown Sprouts

Draining Sprouts During Growth

Now that the seeds have been soaked thoroughly for several hours or over night, it is time to drain and tend to there growth for the next few days.

  • Pour off the water, and rinse the seeds by refilling the jar with cool tap water. Swirl the seeds around in the water and draining it off again.
  • Shake the jar a little to get the seeds to spread out and line one of the long sides of the jar.
  • Put the seed filled jar—upside down so the water can drain out—in a low-light spot. Now, allow it to hang out for 3 or 4 hours.
  • Rinse again, and then keep rinsing the seeds and draining the water off 2 or 3 times a day. Making sure that the jar is propped up so it will continue to drain off any extra water between rinsing.

Sprouts and Photosynthesis

Light brings the green to sprouts!
Light brings the green to sprouts! | Source

Why Aren't My Sprouts Green

Turning Your Sprouts Green

Now that you have grown your sprouts to the right size, it's time to let them,"get their green on"! This is really, really simple! All you have to do it let them sit in the light (you don't really even need it to be sunlight!) for a few hours. You will see a big change in the color of the leaves as the plant uses photosynthesis to turn green! Until now, your sprouts have spent their life in really low-light, just like they would in the outdoors—germinating under the ground in really dark dirt. Once they reach the top-soil, they grab all of the light they can and turn it green, which is called photosynthesis, and is basically how plants make their food!

Harvesting Alfalfa Sprouts

When Do I Harvest My Fresh Grown Sprouts

Now that you have been rinsing and draining your sprouts for 4 to 6 days, it's harvest time! You will know your sprouts are ready to eat when they have tails that measure 1 - 2 inches long. You will notice that some seeds have a dark hull or skin that is nestled among the tender sprout tails and leaves. These need to be skimmed off for the best sprout eating experience. It s really easy to do. Eating the hulls won't hurt you, but if you leave them in your sprouts they can hold extra water that can cause the sprouts to get moldy easier. Here is an easy way to get rid of the hulls;

Skimming the Hulls Off of Sprouts

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Put the sprouts into a cool water bath, and gently agitate them to release the seed hulls for removal. These are the hulls, they float to water surface when you gently slosh the sprouts around.A fine mesh strainer works great for skimming off the floating sprout seed hulls.Gently separate the sprout mass to free more of the hulls. An added sloshing in the water will quickly bring them to the surface.Find a clean dry surface to spread your sprouts upon. Make sure they are spread evenly so they can dry thoroughly. A ceiling fan helps to dry the sprouts. Once dry, package the sprouts in plastic bags, and place in the produce drawer of the fridge!
Put the sprouts into a cool water bath, and gently agitate them to release the seed hulls for removal.
Put the sprouts into a cool water bath, and gently agitate them to release the seed hulls for removal. | Source
These are the hulls, they float to water surface when you gently slosh the sprouts around.
These are the hulls, they float to water surface when you gently slosh the sprouts around. | Source
A fine mesh strainer works great for skimming off the floating sprout seed hulls.
A fine mesh strainer works great for skimming off the floating sprout seed hulls. | Source
Gently separate the sprout mass to free more of the hulls. An added sloshing in the water will quickly bring them to the surface.
Gently separate the sprout mass to free more of the hulls. An added sloshing in the water will quickly bring them to the surface. | Source
Find a clean dry surface to spread your sprouts upon. Make sure they are spread evenly so they can dry thoroughly.
Find a clean dry surface to spread your sprouts upon. Make sure they are spread evenly so they can dry thoroughly. | Source
A ceiling fan helps to dry the sprouts. Once dry, package the sprouts in plastic bags, and place in the produce drawer of the fridge!
A ceiling fan helps to dry the sprouts. Once dry, package the sprouts in plastic bags, and place in the produce drawer of the fridge! | Source

Remove the Seed Hulls From Fresh Grown Sprouts

  • Place the sprouts in a large bowl of cool water and slosh them around with your hand, while gently pulling the sprout-nest apart, slosh them in the water to loosen the hulls.
  • As the hulls float to the surface, skim them off with your hand or a strainer.
  • Keep gently agitating and pulling the sprout mass apart until you have the majority of hulls skimmed off of the your tender sprouts.

Now it's time to dry and store your sprouts!

What You Think Really Does Matter!

What will you be putting your fresh sprouts on?

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Drying and Storing Fresh Grown Sprouts

Drying Fresh Grown Sprouts

Once the hulls are skimmed away, you want to get your sprouts as dry as possible before packaging and storing them. To do this, simply spread them out in an even layer on a clean dry surface (placing them under a ceiling fan provides good circulation and helps to wick away water) to dry the seeds completely.

What is the Best Way to Store Sprouts

You can store your dry sprouts in the same jar you grew them in, or in plastic bags. Keep them tightly sealed in their container inside the refrigerator produce drawer. Under perfect conditions, you can expect your fresh grown sprouts to last up to four weeks. Be sure to put the harvest date on the sprouts container so you can keep track of how long they last under your refrigerator conditions.

Now go enjoy a healthy, yummy, sprout snack!

Nutrition Facts for Alfalfa, Sprouted and Raw

(click column header to sort results)
Component being Measured  
Alfalfa Sprouts Serving Size 33 grams [1 cup]  
Alfalfa Sprouts Serving Size 3 grams [1 Tablespoon]  
Daily % Value*  
Calories
8
1
33 grams = 0 and 3 grams = 0
Calories from fat
2
0
33 grams =0 and 3 grams = 0
Total Fat
0
0
33 grams =0 and 3 grams = 0
saturated fat
0
0
33 grams =0 and 3 grams = 0
Trans fat
0
0
33 grams =0 and 3 grams = 0
Cholesterol
0
0
33 grams =3% and 3 grams = 0
Sodium
2mg
0
 
Total Carbohydrate
1gram
0
 
Dietary fiber
1gram
0
 
sugars
0gram
0
 
Protein
1gram
0
 
Vitamin A
1%
0
 
Vitamin C
5%
0
 
Calcium
1%
0
 
Iron
2%
0
 
* Daily value % is based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your caloric needs. (Information derived from NutritionData.com)

Sprouts Trivia

  • Because the high fiber content makes you feel full, sprouts rate very high on the recommended weight loss foods chart!
  • Full grown alfalfa is really bitter and far too tough for humans to eat, but the young sprouts are tender and have a very pleasing mouth feel.
  • Still unproven, but many people rave about alfalfa sprouts helping to control blood sugar fluctuations in those with diabetes.
  • Broccoli sprouts are said to have 100 times the cancer fighting agents than their full grown counterpart.
  • People who take blood thinners should check with their doctor before eating sprouts regularly or in large quantity. This is because of the high carotene (vitamin K) content; which is known to thin the blood.
  • It was estimated that 1 in 67 containers of store bought sprouts is contaminated with some degree of salmonella bacteria.
  • In 2010, 100 cases of salmonella poisoning were reported due to sprout consumption, but 118,000 cases were cased in the same year due to infected store bought eggs (you have to hard cook eggs to kill this bacteria, scrambled or over-easy just won't do it).

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Comments for "How to Grow Alfalfa Sprouts at Home" 9 comments

Gail Meyers profile image

Gail Meyers 3 years ago from United States

Thanks for all of the information on sprouts! Also, I have never seen a hub with a red video tag and the video placed first. Interesting idea. Voted up and useful.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

randomcreative~ I love alfalfa sprouts as well! With all of the "sprouts recall" popping up every year or so, I decided it was just safer to enjoy them by growing batches at home! Thank you for sharing your comments, your support is appreciated.

HubHugs~


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

What an awesome resource, thanks! I love alfalfa sprouts.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

Jojosi~ Thanks for stopping by! Glad you find the seed disinfecting technique helpful. This one little step can keep you and your sprouts as healthy as possible! I appreciate that you shared your comments here!

Cheers~


Jojosi profile image

Jojosi 4 years ago from Complicated

Good! growing one's veggies is the best thing that can happen, what with all the contamination that is going on. Thank you for all the info, especially the disinfectant part.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

missolive~ I hope you find that growing your own sprouts is easy, healthy, and above all reassuring. I just love knowing that the seeds have been properly disinfected and grown in a clean safe environment! As much as I have always enjoyed sprouts, I really enjoy eating my own. I share with friends and neighbors who find the super fresh quality astounding. Than you so very much for taking the time to share your thoughts on home grown sprouts; honored that you did.

HubHugs~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

nifwlseirff~ I think the best veggie combination is avocado and sprouts also!

Thanks for sharing your insight into the pasteurization of eggs, it is very important to understand the shells are the main culprit indeed!

Sprouts have been under scrutiny here in the US also, this is the main reason I decided to take on disinfecting the seeds and growing my own sprouts. It is so easy, and the reassurance I find with growing my own is priceless! Besides, as you mention, they are quite expensive in the stores. A jar, water, a dab of bleach, and low-light conditions and you're producing safe sprouts in no time!

Thank you for adding your wonderful information and support here. It is appreciated.

HubHugs~


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas

I have always wanted to give this a try and you have inspired me to do so. I know my daughter and son would enjoy this as well. As always, you have provided lots of wonderful information. Thank you for sharing - your video and pictures are especially helpful - great job.

Interesting sprouts trivia


nifwlseirff profile image

nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

I love alfalfa and avocado in a fresh bread roll with some other salad vegetables at lunch - refreshing in summer and healthy! I will have to try making my own - the price in the supermarkets is so expensive!

Most egg contamination is from the shell, the yolks are rarely infected, unless they come in contact. You can wash the shells and easily pasteurize your own eggs to reduce the risk.

There were 45 deaths and several thousand hospitalised from just one e.coli outbreak here in Germany in 2011, traced to a commercial sprout farm producing various types of sprout. The root cause is thought to be contaminated seeds (fenugreek), but because equipment/water was reused, it infected many other crops.

The furor was astounding, any and all salad veggies were blamed - tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce ... It would have hit these farmers hard. I don't think sprout sales have recovered yet!

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