Interested in sprouting seeds at home? It is surprisingly easy and inexpensive. I call that a win-win! A sprout is a germinated seed that is grown for about 3 to 7 days. At this point, the sprout needs only water to grow. The seed actually contains all the nutrients needed to grow to this stage. Which also explains why we love eating sprouts- because they are incredibly nutrient dense. Basically, the seed is in storage form over the “winter” and when it comes into contact with water, it thinks, “yay, spring!” The seed puts its best foot forward, so to say… It shoots out the most nutrient dense sprout, the sprout which is strongest and most likely to grow to completion.
While you can buy sprouts at the store, why not try it at home? As I mentioned, they are pretty easy to grow. Plus, if you have kids, sprouting will be like a fun science experiment for them! Heck, even if you don’t have young ones it’s fun!
Supplies you need to sprout at home:
-Sprouting seeds. The most common is alfalfa, but you can sprout pretty much any seed you want! Almost any nut, seed, grain, or legume will sprout.
-Mason jar. 1 quart size or larger- as you’ll see, I used pint size because all my quart jars were occupied, and I found the pint size a bit too small. Also, a wide mouth jar might be preferred but is not necessary.
-Sprouting lid. You can purchase mesh lids or make your own pretty easily. Simply find some needlepoint plastic mesh or any other type of mesh sheet that is fine enough so the seed won’t fall through. Trim the plastic mesh to match the lid of the mason jar and use the rim from the mason jar lid to hold it down. As you’ll see, I just left my mesh sheet overhanging. I didn’t trim the mesh because I want to upgrade to bigger mason jars next time.
*Full sprouting kits can also be purchased, for ease.
How to sprout at home:
1) Place one tablespoons of sprouting seeds into your jar. Fill with cool, filtered water and soak the seeds for about 8 hours. Some seeds only need to soak for 4 hours, but around 8 or just leaving them soak overnight is a safe bet.
2) Ensuring your sprouting lid is on, drain and rinse the sprouts. At this point you want to store the jar upside down so the water can continue draining, but at an angle so air can still enter through the lid. I leaned mine against the wall behind my sink, with a tea towel underneath so they wouldn’t slide off.
3) Continue to rinse your seeds with water, at least a couple of times a day.
4) Repeat step 3 for about 3-5 days, until your sprouts are ready to consume!
5) Now that the sprouts are ready to eat, you’ll want to de-hull them. Simply place the sprouts in a bowl, submerge them in cool water, and watch as the hulls rise to the top of the water. As you push the sprouts down with your hand, more of the hulls will float to the top of the water. Finally, pour off the water, along with the hulls. You will remove most of the hulls this way. You may have to repeat this process a couple times, but don’t worry if you miss some hulls!
6) Last but not least, store your sprouts. Drain the water well and place on a tea towel to dry a bit. Store the sprouts in a container lined with paper towels, covered with a lid. Sprouts will last for about a week in the fridge.
Use sprouts raw in salads, in sandwiches or wraps, in buddha bowls, or even to top your soup! There are so many ways to use sprouts. Enjoy!