ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

6 Steps to Successful Sprouting

Updated on July 28, 2012

Crisp, juicy, and very nutritious, sprouts should be a more frequent addition to our salads and sandwiches.

Sprouting may seem like an easy culinary venture, perhaps you've even started the process by accident, as I did. My first sprouting experience I soaked chick peas overnight, decided I didn't want to cook them after all, drained them, then forgot them on the counter. The next day little white shoots were already breaking through, looking for soil!

Sprouts at the grocery store can be quite expensive, whereas dried beans, peas and seeds are cheap, quick (it's around a three day process), and it takes a small amount of dried seeds to make a large volume of sprouts. So sprouting at home is an excellent, low effort, low cost option for adding huge nutrition to your meals!

However, it's surprisingly easy to get the process wrong and wind up with a jar of moldy, half sprouted peas. Here are the main procedures to follow to avoid such disappointment:

1) Don't start out with too much seed, you'll overcrowd the sprouts.

2) Big beans and peas should be soaked overnight first. Smaller seeds such as alfalfa can be soaked for just a few minutes before draining.

3) After soaking, rinse and drain twice a day. Make sure the water is clear when rinsed.

4) Use a breathable cheesecloth or a special cover with small holes.

5) Let the sprouts container rest at an angle, for continuous drainage.

6) Keep your seeds/beans in a dark environment, allowing some light the second day of sprouting.

1) Don't Overcrowd the Sprouts

They're so tiny I know, but they'll grow before your eyes, so it's important not to add too many seeds/beans to your jar. Overcrowded sprouts don't grow as well and are more likely to become contaminated with bacterial/fungal growth.

Here are some volume guidelines.

Seed amounts to use per quart jar:

  • 1/2 Cup Seeds: Wheat, All Beans, Rye, Oats, Rice, Sunflower, Lentil, Hulled Buckwheat, and Garbanzo Beans.
  • 2 Tablespoons: Alfalfa, radish, clover, cabbage.

If they do look like they're getting overcrowded as they're growing, you can always save the situation by dividing your sprouts into two jars.

Alfalfa sprouts that are clearly too crowded - do as I say, not as I do!
Alfalfa sprouts that are clearly too crowded - do as I say, not as I do! | Source

Sprouted Raw Hummus Recipe (by Randy Clemens)


  • 3 cups sprouted garbanzo beans
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup raw tahini
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


  1. In a large food processor, combine the sprouted garbanzo beans, garlic, and salt.
  2. Pulse to coarsely chop the mixture.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients, and process until a thick, slightly chunky paste is formed. You may adjust the consistency with more olive oil or a splash of water, if desired.
  4. Check seasoning and adjust, to taste. Refrigerate for at least an hour, to allow the flavors to marry.
  5. Serve the raw hummus in a medium bowl, making a divot at the top.
  6. Drizzle a generous spot of olive oil into the crater, and shake a few sprinkles of cumin over the hummus.
  7. Serve alongside pita bread, flax crackers, sprouted grain tortillas, or vegetable crudité.

2) Soak Big Beans and Peas Overnight

If you skip this stage with the bigger seeds like chick peas or mung beans, the seed may not be soaked enough to spark the sprouting process. Instead you'll wind up with slimy, moldy beans.

Make your hummus even more nutritious by sprouting the chickpeas first. (Sprouted legumes have a higher nutritional content because the germinating process makes the plant increase its vitamin and antioxidant content.) This also allows you to skip boiling the chick peas, thus maintaing the higher nutritional content of raw food.

3) Rinse and Drain Twice a Day

If you forget to rinse, you may just delay the sprouting process. If you don't drain properly you will wind up with fungal growth on your sprouts. Make sure the water when you drain it is clear, not cloudy. Cloudy indicates that there is bad growth in there with your sprouts and you should rinse it until the water runs clear.

4) Cover container with a cheese cloth or lid with small holes

Sprouting is really all about maintaing that perfect balance of moisture. You don't want to cover the container with an impermeable lid, as it won't allow the sprouts to breathe. You can leave the jar without any sort of covering, but I've found that my sprouts dry out faster that way.

It's also extremely useful to have a proper lid, because during the draining process you want something the seeds won't stick to and get washed away. This is less of a problem for the larger beans and seeds of course.


5) Let the container rest at an angle

This is to keep the sprouts from sitting in any undrained water. Again, it's a precaution to keep the sprouts from getting moldy.


The photo above is of alfalfa sprouts. They came from the same batch, but the ones on the left I kept in the dark and the ones on the right I put in the sun for a few hours. Notice how much greener the cotyledons (leaves) are on the right. Good science experiment!

6) Keep it in a dark environment at first, allow some light later

Sprouts that come in contact with light later in the process are noticeably greener, because they have started to photosynthesize. Some people feel that this improves the taste.

Anatomy of a Sprout

What's happening exactly when you're sprouting seeds?

A seed can lie dormant in dry conditions for quite a long time (it ranges from years to centuries!). When you soak it in water, it awakens the seed, sparking a stage called "germination" when the seed starts growing into a plant. The white shoot you see is the seeds first root, called the "radicle." The two tiny leaves unfurling out the other end of the "testa" are called the "cotyledon," or "seed leaves." (In some plants called monocots, these leaves remain in the seed during germination and thus are not visible. Corn, for example, is a monocot.) These embryonic leaves will be the plants' first photosynthesizers.

Sprout Nutrition

When grass, bean, and vegetable seeds are sprouted, the nutritional content available for our digestion multiplies. This is because the seed is getting ready to use that nutrition itself, and is breaking complex proteins into individual amino acids, starches into simpler carbohydrates, and multiplying its vitamin and mineral content. Be sure to leave sprouts in the fridge after you feel they're done so as to preserve their high nutritional content.

Here are the nutritional perks of some common sprouts:

Clover sprouts: very high in isoflavones, which is an anti-carcinogen.

Lentil sprouts: very high in protein

Radish sprouts: these spicy tasting sprouts are high in Vitamin C (more than a pineapple), Vitamin A, and calcium.

Alfalfa sprouts: very high in antioxidants, up there with garlic, kale, brussels sprouts and spinach. The easiest thing to sprout is alfalfa. It requires little water, produces long juicy radicles and has a mild but refreshing taste. I would recommend that beginning sprout-ers start with alfalfa for a rewarding first experience.

Mung bean sprouts: often found in asian dishes, these are high in protein and Vitamin C.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      5 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      This was a great hub about how to great a variety of sprouts. Voted up for useful!

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      8 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I truly learned something new in this hub. I had no idea that you could grow sprouts from beans. Voted Up and Shared.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)