I started growing sprouts at home for no reason other than I was curious how to do it. I mean, liked sprouts and found them easy to incorporate into many dishes like salads, soups, and curries… so why not try growing on my own? At first I was concerned about space. It’s not like I have a ton of vacancies on my counter- LOL -as most every nook and cranny is already put to good use. But after some research it became clear. I only needed enough space for a mason jar, and a mason jar sized space was something I could make work.
What Exactly Are Sprouts?
This is embarrassing to admit, but when I was first introduced to sprouts I thought there was 1 kind of sprout- alfalfa. It had not dawned on me that all seeds, well, sprout. Simple put, sprouts are a germinated seed on their way to becoming full blown plants… so it’s a baby plant! As such, each sprouts nutritional value will vary greatly. The easiest way to confirm what vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are in your sprouts is to look up the plant information. A simple Google search will hook you up with everything you need to know.
For example: Radish sprouts contain vitamins A,B,C and K calcium iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc along with other beneficial properties. Mustard sprouts contain omega 3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, protein, calcium and magnesium to name just a few.
There are 4 categories of sprouts which can be broken down to bean and pea sprouts (like lentil), vegetable sprouts (like radish), nut and seed sprouts (like sunflower), and sprouted grains (like quinoa). With each sprout, you are not only getting different nutritional values but also flavor and texture combinations. From soft and floral to spicy and crunchy, it’s actually pretty fun to mix and match different types of sprouts into your meals. Each one, a completely new experience.
Benefits and Risks of Eating Sprouts
Like everything in life, nothing is perfect. Yes, even eating sprouts can be risky business… although I’m sure that was NOT on your radar! The most important things to remember are:
- Always handle your sprouts with clean hands
- As soon as your sprouts have grown, pat them dry and store in the refrigerator
Interestingly enough, most bacteria that cause illness come from a seed that’s contaminated. Which is why purchasing from a farmers market, the grocery, or growing at home all carry the same risk. Making a case for purchasing sprout seeds from a reputable business whose focus is on quality. Randomly purchasing seeds from Amazon without reading reviews or visiting that shop’s home website is NOT a good idea.
After you’ve identified what types of sprouts you want to grow, the next steps (besides obviously purchasing seeds) is to get you sprouts set up prepared. I highly recommend using larger, at least 32 ounce, Wide Mouth Mason Jars. The wide mouth allows for more airflow which helps eliminate any concerns for mold or bacteria. It’s also wayyyyy easier to collect the sprouts when they’re ready. I fought this at first, because I didn’t want to buy more jars. After a few rounds of growing, I realized this was something I wanted to keep doing and purchased the below pack of 4. Zero regrets. Save yourself the headache now!
This is the set I purchased and use specifically for growing sprouts in my kitchen. The wide mouth makes it much easier to collect the sprouts when they're ready to go.
You can certainly cover your jars with cheesecloth and a rubber band, balance on a dish rack, or do a whole bunch of other things to avoid paying $10 for sprouting lids. Again, I tried all of it and wanted to jump off a cliff. Especially the one (or three) time my hand slipped and I lost all my seeds down the drain…
Once you fill your jars with a tablespoon or two of seeds, screw one of these lids right on. You’ll easily be able to rinse and drain the required two times a day in a matter of seconds. After draining, I flip over onto a little tray with a lip so that any excess water doesn’t run on to my counter. They make growing sprouts an ease and are well worth the money, especially if you plan on incorporating this habit into your life.
These are the sprouting lids I use and own to grow sprouts right at home on my kitchen counter. I flip them over on a little tray, which catches the water as they drain during the day. Easy to rinse and clean, making growing sprouts a breeze!
So yah. That’s it. You’re set up literally includes 4 things.
- Seeds of choice
- Wide mouth mason jars
- Sprouting lids
- Small tray/plate with a lip to collect any draining water
The Act of Growing Sprouts
Honestly, this is the most simple part of the whole matter. Kinda fool proof even. The seed packets you purchase will have individual instructions on the back letting you know how many days till harvest. I’d say the average runs between 4-6 days.
Bonus: You don’t even need a sunny a windowsill! These guys grow just fine shoved in the darker back corners of your kitchen.
Most seed packs will encourage you to use 1-2 Tablespoons of seeds, although I typically opt for just 1 Tablespoon. I choose to error on the side of having plenty of space for my seeds to freely grow, and often have 2 or 3 jars going at the same time. With that many jars, I honestly don’t need more than 1 Tablespoon of sprouts per jar!
Speaking of growing several jars at once, unless you’re feeding a large crew, I’d recommend that you stager your growing by 2-3 days per jar. This will make sure that you actually use all the sprouts you grow without any going to waste. Who wouldn’t love a fresh, steady supply at the ready?!
You’ll start off by soaking your seeds overnight for 8-12 hours, draining, and then rinsing and draining twice a day- morning and night. Each time, you’ll want to flip the jar over (at an angle if you don’t have sprouting lids) to ensure air flow and drainage can happen in between each rinse.
THAT’S IT. Rinse and drain. Harvest. Eat. Repeat.
Storing Your Sprouts
Whether you opt to purchase sprouts from your local grocery or farmers market, or decide to start growing your own, you’ll need to know how to properly store these suckers so they don’t wilt, slime, or spoil in just a few days. Like most leafy greens, your first step should be rinsing one last time and then gently patting dry.
After your greens are dry, either use another clean and dry mason jar or grab another air tight container and place a paper towel inside. Next, place your sprouts on top making sure not to smash down. You want to keep some space between the sprouts which will allow condensation to fall to the bottom to be absorbed by the paper towel. This will elongate their shelf life, which is typically 5-7 days after placing in the refrigerator.
Using Sprouts Creatively
There are so many ways to use your mineral, vitamin, and antioxidant rich sprouts! Seriously. The options are endless, so use your imagination and have fun experimenting! I’ll leave you with a few of my personal favorites ways which I hope inspire you to get growing ASAP.
For Taco or Fajita or Nacho night try fenugreek sprouts along with avocado, cotija cheese, hot sauce, and lime
Curries, like my Coconut Beef Curry which I top with thick plain yogurt, fresh ground black pepper, green onion, and radish sprouts
In salads, especially in fruit salads, sprouts like sunflower or pea sprouts balance the natural sweetness of fresh fruit
For breakfast, toss any sprouts into smoothies or use alfalfa sprouts to top on Breakfast Pizzas
Even appetizers can get a sprout lift, like my Hummus Platter where a crunchy sprout like mung bean sprouts would add a nice crunch to balance the creamy texture
Let Me Know
Does this sound like something you’d want to try?! Whether you’re looking to increase your daily veg intake, plan a science experiment for the kids, or want to dabble in a the world of gardening… learning how to grow sprouts at home is the perfect place to start!
If this post inspired you in any way, I’d love you to share it with a friend of family member. Every comment, share, and save helps my little business grow in profound ways. Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you back here soon!
Hugs, because handshakes are awkward~
So interesting! I need to share this with my chef husband since I’ll only have to sacrifice a Mason jar’s amount of space on my countertop 😉
HAHA yes! Just a mason jar’s worth of space and sprouts are possible. Hope you guys give this a try and love it as much as we do 🙂 XO Susanna
thank you for including the risks as well in this post!! i wasn’t even aware of how risky they could be if not grown or taken care of properly!
So glad you found that bit helpful! While the chances of contamination are minimal, they are certainly something to be aware of 🙂 XO Susanna