How to Grow Sprouts

My gardening bug bit me already this year. But since it’s still a little early to REALLY get started I decided to have a go at sprouting. We have heard that sprouts are really good for you and a GREAT food storage item (so watch for some future posts about the benefits/usages/etc.) but for now check out what I’ve learned so far.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my mom (affectionately known as GrandmaLori around here) about sprouting as I can remember doing alfalfa sprouts with her when I was little. She just happened to have an old sprouting container that she inherited from her grandmother that she doesn’t ever use and she let me “borrow” it for my adventures.

This sprouting container is pretty neat but the holes are too big to do tiny seeds like alfalfa, so I decided to start with lentils which I have on hand from my long term food storage legumes supply.

Day 1

First I rinsed the lentils and picked out any gross looking pieces, discolored ones, or things that did NOT look like lentils (see picture). Then I soaked the lentils overnight as that is what my sprouting book recommended. There are a few types of items you would NOT need to soak so just make sure you follow the directions for whatever you are sprouting.

Day 2

In the morning, I poured my soaked lentils into the sprouting container and rinsed them off again. I set them on the counter beside my stove as it seemed to be one of the warmer spots in my kitchen but out of direct sunlight. I also set a paper towel over the container because it seemed weird to just leave them sitting out with no covering. That evening I rinsed the lentils again. Each time I rinsed I made sure to really let all the excess water drain out before setting it back in the little tray.

Day 3

When I took the paper towel off on day three I had a pleasant surprise. SPROUTS!!! I was so excited. All I did on day 3 was rinse and repeat the instructions from day 2.

Days 4-7

Each day from 4-7 I rinsed the lentils at morning and at night and took a photo of the progress if I remembered to. It’s really so easy, just takes about 30 seconds each time and they just grow on their own!

Day 8

After rinsing on the morning of day 8, I lifted off the paper towel and let the sprouts sit in the sunlight all day. They turned a very nice green and grew even longer!

Day 9

I think I let my sprouts get a little bit too long but I was really busy the last few days of my experiment and didn’t pay very close attention to them. So on the final day I pulled them all out of the sprouting container and put them into a large canning jar and stuck them in the fridge.

And now for my confession. I tasted the lentil sprouts and they tasted like fresh peas. I don’t really like fresh peas all that much so I’m afraid I don’t really want to eat these just plain. I’ll have to try making a yummy salad and sprinkling a few on top. Or I might try them in a meatloaf to use as filler. I have to say my first experiment was a success in that they GREW, but kind of a failure in that I didn’t really grow something that my family will use on a regular basis. Back to the drawing board ;)

Since Julie didn’t “inherit” a sprouter she recently bought this Sprout Master Sprouter at Kitchen Kneads. She hasn’t tried it out yet but it looks like it would work about the same as mine.


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  • DebLovesBeingHome

    I soak mine in a wide-mouth quart jar, fitted with a screened lid (purchased in the utensils aisle at the grocery store). We just sit the jar on its side in a bowl and let it work (following the same “rinse-sit” you mention in the article), and when it’s done the jar goes right into the fridge.

    We used to have a big plastic sprouting “globe” that sat on top the fridge…it was a monster but the plastic was a dark purple color which helped with keeping the seeds in a dark environment. I just didn’t care for the monstrosity in our small kitchen when we were college students!

    The quart jar works beautifully. And now I’m going to whip up a jar of alfalfa sprouts (to put on tuna sammies!

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  • Vimana

    sprouted mung beans will delight!

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  • gale

    I had a round sprouted just like yours. There is a lid for it. You can see where it would fit over the top of the sprouted.

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  • cherylhappy1975

    The reason I didn’t like lentil sprouts was , because they were kinda starchy tasting. Starchy fresh peas.

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  • Laelee

    I have a “Fresh Life” automatic sprouter. It automatically irrigates the seeds every day and all I have to do is change the water out every day so its fresh. The sprouting time is the same but I like it because I don’t have to remember to rinse the seeds multiple times a day. They sell around 100.00ish (if I remember correctly) but well worth it if you are interested in serious sprouting. By the way…the nutrient value sky rockets up to 400 and 700% depending on which seed you use, so well worth the work and storage in your time of scarcity, or for daily use. I also like to dehydrate my sprouts and mulch them up into a high vitamin powder to be used in a shake or drink.

  • Celeia_dammann

    Next time you might try making sprouted wheat bread- [http://www.dadamo.com/forum/archive5/config.pl?read=13910]. I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks interesting.

  • Joseph M

    Thank you for that information.Can you tell me what other choice’s I have to other beans?

    • http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net Jodi – Food Storage Made Easy

      I’m not sure exactly what you are asking. You can sprout pretty much any
      bean or grain. Just look up specifics on the one you are looking to sprout
      as some of them have different methods. Hope that helps a bit.

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  • Deb E

    I agree with Megan–absolutely love the Easy Sprout. It's what I recommend. And Rebecca, the Easy Sprout comes with an insert for use with smaller 'salad' sprout seeds like alfalfa, radish, broccoli, etc… I have a small tray sprouter and it doesn't drain well enough for the smaller seeds for some reason. I have had them go bad because of this. If you are careful to rinse really well and drain your sprouts well, and keep you equipment clean, you'll have great success. My favorites sprouts are mixes. ProVitaMix is awesome and sprouts in just 1 1/2 days and then you can use some and let the others grow a little more. I do about a weeks worth at a time and eat them in various stages. They're all good. I like lentil sprouts best when they're small–and lentils are in the ProVitaMix. The other mix that I use is a salad mix and I love the mild radish flavor–much milder than the actual radish. Check out the good nutrients you get with the ProVitaMix @ http://www.lifesprouts.com and they have a great price for them in bulk to share with friends! You can find it at Kitchen Kneads in smaller bags and the salad mix, too.

  • Deb E

    I agree with Megan–absolutely love the Easy Sprout. It’s what I recommend. And Rebecca, the Easy Sprout comes with an insert for use with smaller ‘salad’ sprout seeds like alfalfa, radish, broccoli, etc… I have a small tray sprouter and it doesn’t drain well enough for the smaller seeds for some reason. I have had them go bad because of this. If you are careful to rinse really well and drain your sprouts well, and keep you equipment clean, you’ll have great success. My favorites sprouts are mixes. ProVitaMix is awesome and sprouts in just 1 1/2 days and then you can use some and let the others grow a little more. I do about a weeks worth at a time and eat them in various stages. They’re all good. I like lentil sprouts best when they’re small–and lentils are in the ProVitaMix. The other mix that I use is a salad mix and I love the mild radish flavor–much milder than the actual radish. Check out the good nutrients you get with the ProVitaMix @ http://www.lifesprouts.com and they have a great price for them in bulk to share with friends! You can find it at Kitchen Kneads in smaller bags and the salad mix, too.

  • Deb E

    I agree with Megan–absolutely love the Easy Sprout. It's what I recommend. And Rebecca, the Easy Sprout comes with an insert for use with smaller 'salad' sprout seeds like alfalfa, radish, broccoli, etc… I have a small tray sprouter and it doesn't drain well enough for the smaller seeds for some reason. I have had them go bad because of this. If you are careful to rinse really well and drain your sprouts well, and keep you equipment clean, you'll have great success. My favorites sprouts are mixes. ProVitaMix is awesome and sprouts in just 1 1/2 days and then you can use some and let the others grow a little more. I do about a weeks worth at a time and eat them in various stages. They're all good. I like lentil sprouts best when they're small–and lentils are in the ProVitaMix. The other mix that I use is a salad mix and I love the mild radish flavor–much milder than the actual radish. Check out the good nutrients you get with the ProVitaMix @ http://www.lifesprouts.com and they have a great price for them in bulk to share with friends! You can find it at Kitchen Kneads in smaller bags and the salad mix, too.

  • Anonymous

    This is a great way to get fresh veggies in an emergency situation. Sprouts can grow in the dark and they don’t even need soil to grow. I think the jar method is the easiest and hemp bags are a good and inexpensive way to grow them as well. Please visit The Kitchen Gardener for more info. I can answer any questions you may have about sprouting.

  • tallie

    I don't agree with that statement. As long as you rinse and drain and don't use contaminated water you should be fine. Most sprouting lids provide plenty of air circulation. I have an aversion to growing things in plastics although there is no data showing that it is harmful.

  • http://megandjonandmore.blogspot.com/ megan

    oh, and Elizabeth…raw food is so much healthier than cooked. Sprouts will be really important when a time comes that we need to live off our food storage. Since I can’t store raw apples and carrots and etc for any length of time, my diet would be somewhat deficient if I’m only living off canned or cooked veggies. I can store sprouting seeds and grains (you can even sprout that wheat you have stored in those #10 cans!) and then when the time comes just adding those fresh raw “veggies” will really help keep my family healthy! Just something to think about!

  • http://megandjonandmore.blogspot.com/ megan

    oh, and Elizabeth…raw food is so much healthier than cooked. Sprouts will be really important when a time comes that we need to live off our food storage. Since I can’t store raw apples and carrots and etc for any length of time, my diet would be somewhat deficient if I’m only living off canned or cooked veggies. I can store sprouting seeds and grains (you can even sprout that wheat you have stored in those #10 cans!) and then when the time comes just adding those fresh raw “veggies” will really help keep my family healthy! Just something to think about!

  • http://megandjonandmore.blogspot.com/ megan

    A really great website for information is sproutpeople.com. I do not recommend the Sproutmaster, I have one and it’s not my favorite. But I do love my Easy Sprout.
    http://sproutpeople.com/devices/ez/easysprout.html

    Sprouts are VERY good for you and are not dangerous if you do it right. You should clean the sprouting device really well in between batches, and it helps if your seeds are from a reputable source and are specifically FOR sprouting. The other cool thing about sprouting is that most of the amazing nutrition explosion happens that first night of soaking, and any additional length of time after that is really just taste preferences. So while you are growing them keep tasting them and see if you like them shorter or longer or what. I’ve never grown my lentils that long!

    And Morning Sunshine is right! Nuts are way yummier and healthier after they’ve been soaked! At night I put some raw almonds (I’ve also done peanuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts etc) in a little dish in filtered water to soak and the next day I eat them! So much more healthy!!! and crunchy and yummy!

    I’ve never tried the jar method yet, though I keep meaning to, but I do know that keeping the jar tilted at a 45 degree angle so that it can drain helps with the air flow. But there are a lot of great sprouters out there; I’m about to try a sprouting bag, and I’m excited to see how I like it!

  • http://megandjonandmore.blogspot.com/ megan

    A really great website for information is sproutpeople.com. I do not recommend the Sproutmaster, I have one and it’s not my favorite. But I do love my Easy Sprout.
    http://sproutpeople.com/devices/ez/easysprout.html

    Sprouts are VERY good for you and are not dangerous if you do it right. You should clean the sprouting device really well in between batches, and it helps if your seeds are from a reputable source and are specifically FOR sprouting. The other cool thing about sprouting is that most of the amazing nutrition explosion happens that first night of soaking, and any additional length of time after that is really just taste preferences. So while you are growing them keep tasting them and see if you like them shorter or longer or what. I’ve never grown my lentils that long!

    And Morning Sunshine is right! Nuts are way yummier and healthier after they’ve been soaked! At night I put some raw almonds (I’ve also done peanuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts etc) in a little dish in filtered water to soak and the next day I eat them! So much more healthy!!! and crunchy and yummy!

    I’ve never tried the jar method yet, though I keep meaning to, but I do know that keeping the jar tilted at a 45 degree angle so that it can drain helps with the air flow. But there are a lot of great sprouters out there; I’m about to try a sprouting bag, and I’m excited to see how I like it!

  • Carol A.

    Sprouting definitely caught my attention when I first started into food storage.
    The nutritional content of the sprouted seed is much higher than the unsprouted seed. ( I learned that from the food storage book “Making the Best of Basics”.)

    My caution, however, is about microorganism growth that can occur in warm moist places (like your sprouting container). The extension service of my state flatly discouraged sprouting unless you are planning to fully cook them afterward. I was really dissappointed to learn this. Better safe than sorry.

  • Carol A.

    Sprouting definitely caught my attention when I first started into food storage.
    The nutritional content of the sprouted seed is much higher than the unsprouted seed. ( I learned that from the food storage book “Making the Best of Basics”.)

    My caution, however, is about microorganism growth that can occur in warm moist places (like your sprouting container). The extension service of my state flatly discouraged sprouting unless you are planning to fully cook them afterward. I was really dissappointed to learn this. Better safe than sorry.

  • CTDaffodil

    Have you ever had raddish sprouts? VERY zippy – but pretty good on a salad.
    I’m the only sprout eater here – but now I think I may have to try and win over the kids….

  • CTDaffodil

    Have you ever had raddish sprouts? VERY zippy – but pretty good on a salad.
    I’m the only sprout eater here – but now I think I may have to try and win over the kids….

  • http://www.homesteadblogger.com/wannabehomesteading/ Morning Sunshine

    my mom’s stake had a preparedness fair, and the sister in charge of the sprouting booth had sprouted peanuts and almonds. I am NOT a nut fan, but these were YUMMY!!!! you need to use raw nuts, though….

  • http://www.homesteadblogger.com/wannabehomesteading/ Morning Sunshine

    my mom’s stake had a preparedness fair, and the sister in charge of the sprouting booth had sprouted peanuts and almonds. I am NOT a nut fan, but these were YUMMY!!!! you need to use raw nuts, though….

  • Bellen

    For Elizabeth – sprouts are fresh. You don’t need a garden or even a windowsill. They are also full to the brim with nutrition. Check the stats on broccoli sprouts and broccoli – it’s amazing.

    For jweiss08 – I’ve been raising sprouts for about 35 years and I’ve never heard about a salmonella threat using a jar.

    For DeeAnn – sprouting is simple and if you have kids a great way to interest them especially if you give each one a different kind of seed to sprout. A little friendly competition can be a good thing.

  • Bellen

    For Elizabeth – sprouts are fresh. You don’t need a garden or even a windowsill. They are also full to the brim with nutrition. Check the stats on broccoli sprouts and broccoli – it’s amazing.

    For jweiss08 – I’ve been raising sprouts for about 35 years and I’ve never heard about a salmonella threat using a jar.

    For DeeAnn – sprouting is simple and if you have kids a great way to interest them especially if you give each one a different kind of seed to sprout. A little friendly competition can be a good thing.

  • http://thedcookshouse.blogspot.com Rebecca

    I second Bellen. Use them in stir fry. I don’t really like sprouts plain, but mixed with other flavors they are much better.

    Also, we always liked eating them in the winter growing up. They add some good vitamin C at a time when (at least growing up) we ate lots of root vegetables, and much less of the fresh greens since its hard to have a garden when its 20 degrees outside. Though, I was never too much a fan of the wheat grass either. Maybe it was because it was called grass and I was 10.

    Does anyone know a good sprouter for smaller seeds like alfalfa? Those are the one kind of sprouts that I would wat on anything.

  • http://thedcookshouse.blogspot.com Rebecca

    I second Bellen. Use them in stir fry. I don’t really like sprouts plain, but mixed with other flavors they are much better.

    Also, we always liked eating them in the winter growing up. They add some good vitamin C at a time when (at least growing up) we ate lots of root vegetables, and much less of the fresh greens since its hard to have a garden when its 20 degrees outside. Though, I was never too much a fan of the wheat grass either. Maybe it was because it was called grass and I was 10.

    Does anyone know a good sprouter for smaller seeds like alfalfa? Those are the one kind of sprouts that I would wat on anything.

    • Robbie

      The Victorio Seed Sprouter is the best thing I’ve found so far.  The valve system allows you to rinse multiple crops using just a limited amount of water. The top water resevoir I use for mung beans as  it is fully opaque and keeps them a little bit blanched (just for appearance. However, mung been sprouts that are a little longer and green are still delicious in egg-foo yung, or added to a bowl of ramen noodles. It’s amazing what flavor the sprouts will add to the soup!  A drop or two of soy and/or hot sauce and it’s almost (but not quite) a gourmet treat!

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  • http://homemusings.blogspot.com Elizabeth

    Hi!

    I was just looking at your sprouts…I am doing food storage, but I have a question…WHY SPROUTS? I’m serious. I’ve heard of doing this before, but why?….

    Blessings,
    Elizabeth

  • http://homemusings.blogspot.com Elizabeth

    Hi!

    I was just looking at your sprouts…I am doing food storage, but I have a question…WHY SPROUTS? I’m serious. I’ve heard of doing this before, but why?….

    Blessings,
    Elizabeth

  • jweiss08

    I went to a class on the weekend to learn more about beans and sprouts and they mentioned that doing the sprouting in the jar (and not one of the kits that had air flow at the bottome) could be dangerous due to salmonella. I’m no sprouting expert yet, but that’s just want they said…. :)

  • jweiss08

    I went to a class on the weekend to learn more about beans and sprouts and they mentioned that doing the sprouting in the jar (and not one of the kits that had air flow at the bottome) could be dangerous due to salmonella. I’m no sprouting expert yet, but that’s just want they said…. :)

    • Anonymous

      I don’t agree with that statement. As long as you rinse and drain and don’t use contaminated water you should be fine. Most sprouting lids provide plenty of air circulation. I have an aversion to growing things in plastics although there is no data showing that it is harmful.

    • http://twitter.com/JakeDOlson Jake Olson

      sounds like a great way to sell sprouting kits

  • DeeAnn

    I’m so glad you posted this. I read something recently about sprouts and have been wanting to try it. Now maybe I’ll give it a go. Thanks for the inspriation!

  • DeeAnn

    I’m so glad you posted this. I read something recently about sprouts and have been wanting to try it. Now maybe I’ll give it a go. Thanks for the inspriation!

  • Bellen

    Your sprouts look terrific. Be sure to save the water, esp. from the first soak & rinse. Full of nutrients and good for soup,bread,etc or watering your plants.

    Lentils sprouts, or any, can be used in stir fries, dried and ground, or not, and put in bread. Also soup as an ingredient or just as a pretty topper.

    Sprouts can be used for different foods at different lengths – mostly it’s a ‘try it’ thing as personal tastes vary.

  • Bellen

    Your sprouts look terrific. Be sure to save the water, esp. from the first soak & rinse. Full of nutrients and good for soup,bread,etc or watering your plants.

    Lentils sprouts, or any, can be used in stir fries, dried and ground, or not, and put in bread. Also soup as an ingredient or just as a pretty topper.

    Sprouts can be used for different foods at different lengths – mostly it’s a ‘try it’ thing as personal tastes vary.

  • Karen S-B

    My family grew sprouts a lot when I was young and we never had a sprouting container. We used a canning jar or mason jar and covered the lid with a cloth and an elastic. Put in about 1/4 inch of lentils (or other sprouting beans) and rinse as directed above. After about a week, you will have fresh sprouts. Enjoy!

  • Karen S-B

    My family grew sprouts a lot when I was young and we never had a sprouting container. We used a canning jar or mason jar and covered the lid with a cloth and an elastic. Put in about 1/4 inch of lentils (or other sprouting beans) and rinse as directed above. After about a week, you will have fresh sprouts. Enjoy!