As I have mentioned in my previous post with lentil sprouts, I have been growing sprouts madly these past few weeks. Growing your own sprouts has so many benefits!
- Sprouts are highly nutritious – rather than eating just one part of the plant, you are eating the whole thing. Sprouting seeds also makes the nutrients more bio-available.
- Sprouts are great to add to salads, on toast, sandwiches, or other meals.
- Buying sprouts can be expensive, but growing your own will cost a fraction of the price.
- Sprouts are quick to grow.
- Growing your own sprouts will give you control over using organic seeds and growing methods.
- You don’t need a garden to grow sprouts! Sprouting takes very little room in your kitchen.
Here’s how I do it:
The jar method is an easy way to grow sprouts in your kitchen. A jar does not take up much room, and you don’t need to purchase any special equipment. All you need is a medium sized jar (about 350ml capacity is good to grow 1 cup of sprouts), a small piece of muslin cloth or mesh material, a rubber band, and some sprouting seeds.
- Get a clean jar with a capacity of at least 350ml – you can sterilise it if you like but I personally don’t bother.
- Put about 1 to 2 tablespoons of your sprouting seeds into the jar.
- Half fill the jar with water.
- Cover the jar opening with a square of muslin or mesh fabric and secure with a rubber band.
- Let the seeds soak for the specified time (usually a few hours – it varies depending on what seed you use).
- Drain, rinse, and sit on an angle on your dishrack to allow for drainage.
- Come back in 6-12 hours, rinse, drain, reposition on dishrack.
- Repeat step 7 until seeds are sufficiently sprouted (a few days).
- Ensure your sprouts are sufficiently drained before storing in the fridge. Will keep for a few days in the jar with a lid.
Sprout bag method
I bought a sprout bag a few years back, and it makes an excellent alternative to using the jar method. It allows for more air circulation so less chance of your sprouts growing mould or rotting. The method is similar to the jar method above.
- Sterilise the bag by letting it soak in freshly boiled water for a few minutes. Hang it up to air dry.
- When the bag is dry, add the seeds (1-2 tbsp).
- Close the bag and soak the bag in a bowl of water for the time required for the particular seed.
- Hang the bag to drain on a hook, knob, tap, handle (tip: put a bowl underneath to catch the drips!) or sit the bag on the dishrack to drain.
- Come back in 12 hours, rinse the bag under running water for 30 seconds or until water runs clear, give the sprouts a gentle massage, and let drain again.
- Repeat step 5 until seeds have sprouted as desired (usually a few days).
- Store the sprouts either in the bag in the fridge, or in a clean jar with a lid.
Some seeds require a different sprouting method, as the seeds may be unedible in their raw, unprocessed form, or they provide more flavour when allowed to grow a few pairs of leaves. Some of the seeds I prefer to grow as microgreens include sunflower and snow pea seeds. Wheatgrass, oats, barley and rye all need to be grown using the microgreens method so you end up with juice-able greens. I prefer to grow my microgreens outside but it is possible to grow them inside near a window with good light.
- Soak the seeds for the time required (usually these seeds require 12 hours of soaking). I use about 1 cup of unsoaked seeds to fill my seedling tray.
- Prepare your seedling tray with an inch of good quality soil.
- Evenly spread the soaked seeds on the soil and lightly cover with a bit more soil.
- Keep your seeds moist by lightly misting them twice a day or as needed.
- Harvest in a week or two by cutting just above the soil level. Store the cut shoots in a clean jar or container with a lid in the fridge, will keep for a few days.
A few tips
When you have finished sprouting seeds, you should de-hull them to extend their shelf life – soak the sprouts in water and the hulls should float to the top. Scoop out the hulls and discard, drain the sprouts for 12 hours and store in the fridge.
Be sure to follow the soaking time guidelines for each type of seed, as the incorrect soaking time may adversely affect your results.
Pay attention to the temperature in your sprouting location. Most seeds grow optimally between 20-30 degrees Celsius. Too cold, and your seeds may not germinate. Too hot, and your seeds may rot or dry out too quickly between rinses.
Different seeds you can sprout
You can grow edible sprouts from many different seeds. It is important to use organic seeds as conventional seeds may be coated in chemicals prior to packaging to extend shelf life, protect from pests, etc. Here are some popular sprouts and microgreens you can try growing at home:
- Mung bean
- Snow pea
Now that you have all these sprouts, how are you going to use them?
I like to add sprouts to salads, sandwiches, on toast with avocado, tomato, etc., stirfries (mung bean, fenugreek), sushi (radish). Sprouted chickpeas are great to make raw hommus spread. Wheatgrass, oat grass and barley grass are excellent for making healthy juice shots. Add leafy sprouts to green smoothies, like alfalfa, sunflower and broccoli. Use sprouted wheatberries to make rejuvelac or essene bread. There are so many possibilities!
So tell me…
- Do you grow your own sprouts?
- Do you have any success/horror sprouting stories?
- Which sprouts are your favourite?
- What are your favourite ways to use sprouts?