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Grow Edible Sprouts

Updated on January 29, 2015

Garden in a Jar

In under a week anyone can turn seeds into delicious sprouts that can be used in a multitude of dishes. Sprouts are a fun and educational way to show kids, not just tell them, about germination. Sprouts and seeds are amazing -- they are life itself in the most compact form. Picture each seed as a capsule of water-activated vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and essential nutrients. Each sprout must live off these these nutrients until they can manufacture their own by photosynthesis. All of the chemical processes that take place during germination make sprouts an incredibly healthy and nutrient-rich food source. During the complex process of germination we see something much simpler first the seeds plump up, then the radical, the first tiny root emerges, growing faster everyday.

To grow sprouts in a jar, you don' t need a garden, your don't need deck, you don't even need a windowsill! Anyone and everyone can grow sprouts. No excuses.

**Sprout photos were taken by me.

Supplies - Everything you need to get started

Seeds for sprouting
Glass jar or plastic container. (I use GladWare)
Cheesecloth
Strainer lids that go on regular jars are available, but aren't necessary.

There are also a number of sprouting devices, from multi-tiered trays that allow you to grow several crops at once, to the simple Easy Sprouter that resembles a large cup with a strainer assembly inside.

Grains for Sprouting

Grains are some of the quickest seeds to germinate, producing finished sprouts in 2-3 days.

Popular grains include:

  • Amaranth, tiny seeds rinse and drain for microscopic sprouts
  • Barley, a hulless grain
  • Buckwheat, soak for 30 minutes for mature sprouts in 1 to 2 days. Tender and nutty.
  • Kamut, similar to wheat with larger and more tender kernels.
  • Millet, mild and crunchy, super in breads
  • Oats, tender and mildy-sweet
  • Quinoa, soak for 30 minutes. Contains all the amino acids.
  • Rice, doesn't produce a true sprout, must be cooked after 2-3 days germination.
  • Rye, sweet grain sprout good in breads
  • Spelt, eat after 8-12 hours soaking. Great for those who can't eat wheat.
  • Triticale, a recent cross between wheat and rye
  • Winter Wheat, sweet flavor, good in breads, stir-fry's, and salads.

Spicy Sprouts

These tangy sprouts are best used in blends.

  • Arugula, mildly spicy
  • Broccoli, amazing antioxidant content and anti-cancer compounds.
  • Cabbage, mildly spicy
  • Fenugreek, bitter pungent flavor
  • Garlic, Leek, and Onion seeds can all be eaten as sprouts. These take longer 10-14 days.
  • Oriental Mustard, horseradish-like flavor, the only mustard that can be used an a sprouter.
  • Radish, common and daikon sharp spicy flavor.

Leafy Sprouts

Delicious in Sandwiches and Salads.

  • Alfalfa is one of the most popular sprouts. Soak for 4-6 hours.
  • Clover, similar to alfalfa but has a longer shelf-life in the fridge.
  • Sunflower Greens, soak for 12 hours submerged underwater with a weight. Plant in a shallow tray of soil and harvest.

Legumes

Versatile, Delicious, and Nutritious.

  • Adzuki Bean, beany flavor
  • Garbanzo Bean Chickpea, nutty flavor
  • Lentils, economical, lots of colors
  • Mung Bean, the most popular sprout in the world. Sold as Chinese Bean Sprouts. A must have for Chinese Cuisine and stir-fry
  • Peas, a wide range of sizes and colors, fresh pea flavor.

Note: Kidney neans contain a toxin and should not be used for sprouts. Bean sprouts can be a source of flatulence, so if you're having a hard time digesting them try a different type of sprout, or even a different bean.

mung bean sprouts
mung bean sprouts

Sprouting

Step by Step

When I make sprouts for our two person household I use 1 tablespoon of small seeds like alfalfa or two tablespoons of large seeds like Mung Beans. One thing to consider when picking a container for your sprouts is how will your remove the sprouts from the container. If you put the seeds in a really small jar, you make have to break the sprouts to get them out. Try to find a jar with a wide mouth. Some brands of pasta sauce have bigger jars, so looking for something like that if you need to.

Soak your seeds. Large seeds can be soaked overnight or over the course of the day. Small seed like alfalfa, only need to be soaked for a few hours, and some tiny seeds don't need to be soaked at all. Most sprout seed vendors include instructions with each pack.

Drain the seeds thoroughly and wait. By the next day you should begin seeing tiny roots.

The most import part of the processing is rinsing your sprouts at least once a day and more frequently in warmer weather. This is import to keep your sprouts, clean, healthy, and crunchy.

Commercially grown mung bean sprouts are cultivated in factories with chemical gases that make them get unnaturally fat. Naturally you can make the roots strong and fat by placing a weight on top f the sprouts. I like to use a container filled with water. GladWare works great because the containers are made to be stacked.

Yum or Yuck? You decide! - Have your ever had sprouts, or do you never want to try them?

Are You a Sprout Lover, or a Sprout Hater?

Yum, Sprouts are Delicious!

Yum, Sprouts are Delicious!

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    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I do like these a lot, usually you can only find this at grocery stores, most restaurants don't serve this.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Love 'em--wonderful addition to salads for extra crunch and nutrition. One of the best salads I ever had was sprouts instead of lettuce, with tomato, cucumber, etc.

    • happynutritionist 6 years ago

      Yes, I haven't sprouted in a while, but used to sprout mung beans and alfalfa regularly...I should start again. I enjoyed my visit here, and am blessing this lens and adding it to http://www.squidoo.com/nutrition-angel

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      I LOVEEEE sprouts! I lived in a place for a long time where there were many trees and therefore not much sun for gardening. But i could always grow sprouts! Also I traveled for business a lot, spent a lot of time in hotels - nutrition was a problem. Imagine my colleagues' surprise when I cultivated sprouts on the road! Thanks for the lens - I never thought to try arugula sprouts and I've been meaning to try some grain sprouts. My favorite sprouts so far are mung bean. Got a big bag from the Asian grocery for cheap, and they turned out to have a very high germination rate. :)

    • Stephen Carr 6 years ago from Corona, CA

      Love sprouts, alfalfa, but never grew em!

    • Jeanette 7 years ago from Australia

      I should eat them more often!

    Yuck, You Won't Catch Me Eating Hippie Lettuce!

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      Sprouting Resources on the Web

      Find out where to buy, what to buy, and all kinds of nutritional info about sprouts.

      Living and Raw Foods: Sprouting

      Sprout People

      The seed is hope; the flower is joy.

      - Author Unknown

      If you have questions about growing sprouts I'll answer them here. Thanks for stopping by!

      Share Your Thoughts and Comments

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        • ItayaLightbourne profile image

          Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

          Sprouts are good in salads AND in Vegetable Smoothies that I make! Blessings. :)

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          Creative topic, enjoyed it as a sprout eater. *blessed by a squid angel*

        • profile image

          JoshK47 6 years ago

          I love sprouts! So tasty!

        • KarenHC profile image

          Karen 6 years ago from U.S.

          I haven't grown sprouts for years. It sounds like such a great idea, especially during the cold winter months! Great information!

        • hotbrain profile image

          hotbrain 6 years ago from Tacoma, WA

          My Mother-in-Law was telling me about growing sprouts! This lens rocks :) Angel blessed :)