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Growing (Seed) Sprouts

Updated on November 12, 2012
Alfalfa Sprouts
Alfalfa Sprouts | Source

People have been eating grain and legume seeds for decades. A friend introduced me to sprouts a number of years ago, when I was just barely an adult. He also taught me what I know about vegetarianism, though I didn’t adopt that practice until a year ago. That knowledge was the basis for the way that I am eating now, along with many other things that I knew along the way. The best thing about sprouts, you can grow them year round, and use them as a substitute for lettuce. After many recent cases of salmonella affecting commercially grown lettuce, why take chances? After all, sprout growing requires very little room, no soil, and you know what you are getting because you grow them yourself.

Important Tips Before You Start Sprouts

The most important tip is to never use potato or tomato sprouts. They are POISONOUS. Use clean, cool water for rinsing sprouts. If you are forced to use city tap water, allow it to sit out for 24 hours, so the chemicals can dissipate. Don’t sprout garden seeds, as they have likely been treated with poisonous fungicides. Get them at the natural food store, co-ops, or seed houses that specialize in untreated seeds. Don’t put sprouts in direct sun. Lentils, beans, etc. have hulls that are digestible, but if you don’t like them, put them in a bowl of cold water, rub them gently, and the hulls will come off and float. Then just throw them away. Sprouts can be stored in the refrigerator for a week and can also be frozen for long periods. Larger seeds like lentils, beans, and peas are done when about an inch in length. Length is really a matter of preference, so sample them every day to see what you like best for smaller seeds. Sprouts can also be cooked, but are most nutritious when eaten raw.

Source

Basic Jar Sprouts

To sprout any seed, soak in a wide mouth canning jar. It can vary from two to fourteen hours for each variety of seed. Whomever sells you your seeds will provide directions on this. Use cheesecloth or nylon net to cover the mouth of your jar(s), and hold it on with a rubber band or canning jar lid rim. Rinse seeds and drain off two to four times a day. The hotter the weather, the more you'll want to change the water to prevent mold issues. Keep jar angled and facing down to allow for proper drainage.

Alfalfa Sprouts in Hand
Alfalfa Sprouts in Hand | Source

Alfalfa Sprouts

These are the most commonly sprouted seeds, have a soak time of 3-6 hours, and two tablespoons are used per quart jar. They will grow at temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees F with two or three rinses a day. They can be from a half to two inches at harvest(personal preference), and sprout in two to four days.

Organic Bean Sprouts
Organic Bean Sprouts | Source

Eating Your Sprouts

Don’t cook more than five or six minutes, as too much cooking takes away nutritional value. If you’re sprouting soybeans, they are tougher, so will need to be cooked. They can be mixed in salad, added to scrambled eggs and omelets, soups, bread batters, or casseroles. Make sure that they are added at the end, about five minutes prior to serving, if it is a cooked dish. They can be used in place of celery, too. Wheat and rye sprouts can be used as a plain snack.

Source

Sprout Sandwich

Cover each half of a good, whole grain bread with cream cheese. Put on sliced tomato, cucumber and sprouts. Enjoy!

Source

Pea Sprouts

Try these with salt, pepper, and a pinch of basil leaves. Cook for a half hour or so to tenderize, add butter, and serve as a side dish.

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    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Beckie, these are a snap to grow. The only thing that takes a little bit of time are the rinses a few times a day. The taste is exceptional, and they are fantastic in sandwiches and omelets.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      The sprouts in the sprout sandwich appear to be alfalfa sprouts. They are wonderful. There are so many other good kinds, too. Enjoy!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Rebecca, I thought that your video was wonderful. I thing that I have a variety of catsear here in OK.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, homesteadpatch! Looking forward to reading more of your work and learning your tips.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Jill, you will love 'em! There are so many great things out there that you can do yourself, and not have to rely on someone else and their possible contaminants.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      gamby, you won't have to run to the store to get them, either!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      They're good, too, kashmir! Ever try them?

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      This is going to be my next project. I often include sprouts in my salads but did not realize how easy I could grow them myself. An strong attraction is the ability to grow them year round.

      Thanks for the helpful information.

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 

      5 years ago from USA

      I love sprouts! We used to make bean sprouts and I like them sauteed. I think I might give the sprout sandwich a try. :)

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Enlightening info for sure. Thanks for the potato and tomato sprout poison warning. I have a phobia about poisonous plants. You should watch my video about 'false dandelions.' It is my only self-made video and it's hilarious!

    • homesteadpatch profile image

      homesteadpatch 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Sprouts are a welcome addition in the cold dark days of winter. Voted up.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      5 years ago from United States

      Great information & the sandwich looks delicious. I'm sharing this. Thanks! -Jill

    • gamby79 profile image

      gamby79 

      5 years ago

      I must try this! I LOVE alfalfa sprouts and am sure I would like others too. Great information and thanks once again for bringing my attention to something I deem valuable!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      All great information in this hub it is very useful and helpful to grow some sprouts . Well done !

      Vote up and more !!!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Exactly, Cyndy. You can't beat them, especially in the cooler months. You might find that you like them so much, you might want to have them year round.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, thumbi7. They are an excellent source of vitamins. Thanks for stopping by.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Eddy. I just adore these sprouts, and they take up so little room.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      MMMM, I learned some things here! I'm going to get some seeds and grow sprouts! Great ideas and who knew that you didn't even need soil?

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 

      5 years ago from India

      Eating sprout is good for health and even to reduce weight as it fills the stomach.

      Thanks for sharing this information

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      5 years ago from Wales

      Brilliant so useful and interesting;thank you for the share and here's to many more.

      Eddy.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You are so welcome, mpropp. You could just stick them in a corner or in a closet. Just don't forget about them.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Jackie, the bigger they are, they tougher they are. If they get too big, just cook them like bean sprouts. They just need to be little things for sandwiches and such, and are so healthy, since you are growing them yourself. You won't have unclean conditions, like some of those lettuce farmers.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Martin, that's where the "Chia Pet" came in. Chia are sprouts, too.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      5 years ago from Minnesota

      Nice information. I am not a vegetarian, but I am a gardner. Sprouts is one thing I have not tried yet. It would be a good thing to grow here in MN during the winter! Doesn't take up too much space and you can do it indoors. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Wow I tried sprouts for awhile but I let them get really big, I bet short would be much better and healthier. Never thought about replacing lettuce with them either, what a good idea! Thanks for sharing.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      These are a lot fun for kids (at least for mine).

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You could actually try it now. Keep the jars in a closet out of the way. They take up very little room.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good info Deb; I'm not a sprout eater but Bev is. Looks like another item we will have to try next year.

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