Basics of Sprouting

Sprouting can fall under several of our BabySteps since you can sprout many grains, legumes, and other foods. However, the biggest benefit of sprouts is that they can act as a fresh “vegetable” in your diet so we are covering it under the Fruits and Vegetables step. If this feels overwhelming to you, don’t worry, it was to us too. Just follow Step 8 and come back to this topic when you feel you can handle a challenge.

sprouting

Common Types of Sprouts:

  • Grains
    • Wheat
    • Rice
    • Oats
    • Corn
    • Barley
  • Legumes
    • Peas
    • Lentils
    • Soy Beans, Garbanzo, Mung beans
    • Dried Beans (black, pinto, navy, kidney)
  • Nuts + Seeds
    • Almonds
    • Sunflower Seeds, Sesame seeds, Alfalfa
    • Vegetable Seeds esp. pumpkin

Health Benefits of Sprouts:

  • Sprouting a seed enhances its already high nutritional value (i.e. Oats when sprouted contain 600% more vitamin C)
  • Sprouts are high in antioxidants that prevent DNA destruction and protect from the effects of aging
  • Sprouts contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals which help protect against diseases
  • Alfalfa sprouts contain saponins which:
    • Lower bad cholesterol and fat but keep the good hdl fats
    • Stimulate immune system
    • Help prevent cardiovascular disease
  • Sprouts are a nutritious, low-fat filler for meats or addition to soups, etc.

How to Grow Sprouts:

  1. Prepare the seeds
    • Remove broken and discolored seeds
    • Wash seeds
    • Soak overnight (if necessary)
    • Drain
  2. Place seeds in sprouting container and rinse thoroughly.
  3. Drain off all excess water.
  4. Place in a warm area where temperature will remain even.
  5. Rinse 2-3 times per day.
  6. Once they reach the desired length, place near sunlight until leaves become green.

For a full tutorial with pictures on how Jodi experimented with growing Lentil sprouts visit her post on How to Grow Sprouts.

Sprouting Resources:

The Complete Sprouting Cookbook – This book is from the 70’s but it has everything you could want to know and more. Jodi’s mom had it hidden in a cupboard and we just raved over it when we found it.
Sprouts: The Miracle Food – More recent book on sprouting.
Sprout Master Sprouter – The kit that Julie uses to grow her sprouts.

Have you had successes or failures with sprouting? Share your experiences in the comments below!


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  • Charmaine

    My family get excited when I grow sprouts. We usually get a blend of several kinds (radish, alpha alpha, sesame, etc..) and then sprout in a large gallon glass jar. We use screen on the top of the jar to drain after rinsing. We rinse two or three times per day. We then use them on sandwiches, in eggs, or where ever. My husband calls this “live food”!

    I had not thought of legumes, but will try them. You said they tasted like fresh peas once sprouted and we love fresh peas.

    Thanks for all this information!

  • Kelley in NC

    I had heard that you should not ingest sprouted kidney beans and this is what I have found on the net:

    “Soy and kidney bean sprouts are toxic and should be avoided. Sprouted lentils, black eyed beans, partridge peas, peanuts and vetch retain phytates which cause poor digestion and gas

    Alfalfa sprouts are mildly toxic – do not eat them every day, and avoid them if you are a cancer patient, have a weak immune system or suffer from inflammation”

    • Dianaharty

      There are also people on the net who say not to eat celery, apricot or apple seeds, and alfalfa beans or their sprouts because they contain a compound which has, as part of its composition, arsenic.  It’s a proven fact, however, that the compound is not only completely safe, but actively fights cancer and inflammation, but it’s discouraged in the US because of its non-patent-ability as a cancer treatment, because it occurs naturally and is not replicated in a lab.  Read a little more before telling people that eating vegetables and vegetable sprouts will make them sick.

  • What do you use as a “sprouting container”?  I sprouted carrot seeds in a plastic bag with a wet paper towel, is that what you mean?

    • There are sprouting kits you can buy that are plastic containers with holes in them. This allows you to keep the seeds moist without them sitting in water.

  • rollayesenia

    Hey Cathy, my friend recommended this site and I'm looking for a recipe to make sprouted wheat bread, like the Ezekiel brand. Would you be willing to share the recipe? I'm committed to eating healthier foods and looking for homemade alternatives, (save a little bit of money). Thanks. Yesenia

  • rollayesenia

    Hey Cathy, my friend recommended this site and I'm looking for a recipe to make sprouted wheat bread, like the Ezekiel brand. Would you be willing to share the recipe? I'm committed to eating healthier foods and looking for homemade alternatives, (save a little bit of money). Thanks. Yesenia

  • If you look at the comment from Cathy you can see that she uses wheat sprouts for homemade bread. I have never tried it but I'm assuming you would sprout them but not let them get very long and then just stir them into your bread near the end of mixing. Let us know if you you try it!

  • This is great info! I sprout wheat grains to make sprouted wheat bread. It’s really easy and the bread tastes great! I haven’t tried any other grains yet, but I would like to try sprouting barley to make malt powder.

    • Anonymous

      Hey Cathy, my friend recommended this site and I’m looking for a recipe to make sprouted wheat bread, like the Ezekiel brand. Would you be willing to share the recipe? I’m committed to eating healthier foods and looking for homemade alternatives, (save a little bit of money). Thanks. Yesenia

  • This is great info! I sprout wheat grains to make sprouted wheat bread. It's really easy and the bread tastes great! I haven't tried any other grains yet, but I would like to try sprouting barley to make malt powder.

  • Anonymous

    Have you ever used your sprouts in homemade bread? I am wondering how to do it. My DH spends a ton of money on bread made from sprouts and I know I could save money making it myself. Any ideas?

    • If you look at the comment from Cathy you can see that she uses wheat sprouts for homemade bread. I have never tried it but I’m assuming you would sprout them but not let them get very long and then just stir them into your bread near the end of mixing. Let us know if you you try it!

  • mom27kidz

    Have you ever used your sprouts in homemade bread? I am wondering how to do it. My DH spends a ton of money on bread made from sprouts and I know I could save money making it myself. Any ideas?