Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Growing Sprouts at Home

This is a standard canning jar with a sprouting lid with sprouts growing inside, for periodic harvest.

   Regardless of your climate or your living conditions, you can grow sprouts regularly to supplement your vitamins, your roughage, and to provide delicious additions to salads or sandwiches.

   Emergency Essentials sells a sprout kit for only under $15.00 US.    You provide your own glass canning jar, and buy their special plastic lid, and buy the seeds and follow the directions and you are instantly growing sprouts.   If you are sans such a lid, the same thing can be achieved using cheesecloth rubber banded at the top of the jar lid region. This would be much more labor intensive and therefore I recommend, one of the lids.

 According to Emergency Essentials     www.beprepared.com
Some good sprouting seeds are: alfalfa, mung beans, triticale, soy beans, lentils, whole peas, adzuki beans, clover, garbanzo beans, rye, wheat, beans, rice, and oats. The last five seeds mentioned sprout in only two days. The rest sprout in about three to five days.

This is the lid which can be inexpensively purchased from Emergency Essentials for your canning jar

Lid fairly close to actual size

  This is the entire set presently on sale.  You provide your own glass canning jar.

Although it is certainly simpler to start with a complete set such as this, if you are in another nation and cannot order the set from the US, you can certainly structure one yourself.

There are many different types of sprouting vessels. You can buy one type or another or fashion your own.
   If you plan to fashion your own "kitchen sprout farm" for personal use, you could proceed like this:

This is an excellent source of different types of sprouting containers:


These are directions from www.sproutpeople.com

Please check out their site.  Once you have sprouted, and want to expand your activities or try the numerous varieties of sprouts, the people below are absolute sprout experts.  Visit Sproutpeople.com

(Data within the doubled-lines is the work product of Sproutpeople.com
Please visit their site, and buy from them when you are ready !)

Welcome to Sproutpeople University!
We call this class Sprouting 101

This is a close-up of Russian mix sprouts


These are French Garden sprouts

These are alfalfa sprouts which are probably most familiar to Americans.


If you pay attention you will learn the most basic truths of sprouting - according to us Sproutpeople.

The Basics of Sprouting:

  • Seed Storage: Keeping your dormant seeds happy.
  • Soaking: Turning a dormant seed into a nutritional powerhouse.
  • Rinsing: Water is the key ingredient in sprouts. Use it liberally.
  • Draining: It is essential that sprouts be drained thoroughly after rinsing. Sitting in a puddle is the most common cause of crop failure.
  • Air Circulation: If your sprouts can’t breathe while growing - they can die. Don’t put them in a closed cabinet.
  • Greening: Photosynthesis is cool, and so is Chlorophyll, but not all sprouts are into it, nor is it necessary. Sprouts of all colors are packed with flavor and nutrition!
  • Cleanliness: Your seed should be clean and your sprouting device should be sterile. Wash your sprouter well between crops. Sterilize when necessary.
  • Storage: Properly stored, fresh sprouts will keep for up to 6 weeks in your refrigerator but fresher is better. Never refrigerate wet sprouts.
  • Eat More Sprouts! Grow More Often!

Click the links below for a thorough education, in each area of study.

Seed Storage

Dormant seeds can last for centuries - or weeks. Learn what you can do to keep them viable for as long as possible.

Seed Prep

Though it is not always necessary, it is always a good idea to Prep your seeds before you Soak them.


Dry seeds are dormant.
Soaking a seed ends it's dormancy and begins a new life.
In nature this seed will make a plant which can, in turn make seeds, which can in turn make more plants, which can make More Seeds which make More Plants and more and More and MORE!
We eat all this potential. Its no wonder sprouts are SO nutritious!
REMEMBER: Once a seed has soaked up it's fill of water, it is Alive! It is now a nutritional phenomenon, with its own enzymes - it will take nothing but will only add to your body. We are used to sprouts having tails, but they don't have to. You can eat any soaked seed and know that you are giving your body an amazing nutritional gift.


Given proper moisture a seed will germinate.
Rinsing is the process by which we add moisture to our sprouts. Draining is the process by which we regulate the amount of moisture our sprouts have available - until their next Rinse.
The Sproutpeople's Principals of Rinsing:
Use cool water (60-70°F)
Use a lot of water
Use high pressure water whenever possible.
Rinse 2-3 times daily.


The Sproutpeople's Principals of Draining:
Drain as much of the Rinse water
out of your sprouts
as is humanly possible.
Be Thorough!

Air Circulation

In between Rinse and Drain cycles your sprouts do their growing. During that time it is essential that they can breathe. The best sprouting devices help them breathe, but you need to pay some attention too. There isn't much to it - sprouts can grow just about anywhere - as long as they can breathe, but don't have so much air movement that they dry out between Rinses.
We set our sprouter on our kitchen counter. We don't mind the diffuse sunlight or the 150 watts of incandescent light. Light just does not matter much. A plant can only perform photosynthesis when it has leaves. Until then light has little if any effect, and they need to breathe - so don't hide your sprouts!


On the day your Sprouts are ready to take in light - when their cotyledons (leaves) have shed their hulls or are about to - allow your sprouts light - if you've been keeping it from them. If you grow them - like we do - where light is already available, just watch the magic (it'll take a couple days so you might want to grab a sandwich if you plan on watching every moment @:-)
If you are Growing Grass or Greens you will have kept the light away most likely, so now is the time to uncover them. When you see them growing tall (an inch or so for Grass and 1-2 inches for Greens) but yellow (sans chlorophyll), uncover the container and move it to a well lit location.


Some of the crops we offer can or must be planted on soil or another moisture retaining medium. Click to learn all about planting.

When Are They Done?

You will find the answer to this question on each and every seed "detail" page. Follow that link, click the seed category (ie - if you're looking for Alfalfa, click Leafy), then click the name of the seed you want to know about (ie - once on the Leafy page, click Alfalfa). You may also use our new (is 2010 still new?) "Back Door" to those same detail pages.


De-hulling is the process of removing hulls (seed coats) from your finished sprouts.
We don't de-hull much. We never bother with Beans, we brush what we can off of our Greens - and since we grow our Leafy sprouts vertically, the hulls fall off naturally as we rinse. The only sprouts we always de-hull are Brassicas.

Storing your Harvest

Before moving your sprouts to that big cool box in your kitchen, they should be dry to the touch. In most cases we let our sprouts sit for 8-12 hours after their final Rinse, and extremely thorough Drain before we refrigerate them, but if our salad spinner can contain them, we use it.

Sprouter Cleanliness

You should thoroughly clean your Sprouter as often as you can. We wash thoroughly with soap and water between crops, or use the dishwasher (if the sprouter can take it). It is always best to have a clean Sprouter - that way your crop will have a head start. You can sterilize your Sprouter too - and you should - especially if you start having crop failures.

Travel Sprouting

It isn't actually a basic element of sprouting, but if you are lucky enough to be on the road, we'll tell you how to keep on sproutin'


A Final word from Jane:

     Not only is growing sprouts an excellent educational activity for children, but it is a relatively inexpensive way for families to supplement their own food.  Find out what types of seeds are ideal in your area or in your country for sprouting.   This is also a way of always having some type of greenery for salads, sandwiches and soups, year round.  Depending upon the seeds you start with, what you grow is organic, and free of pesticides.
      Depending upon where you are in the world, this could also become a small business for some, providing organic sprouts for other families.   Please let me know how this works for you.


A fine blog post on this subject can be found on the blog of my friends:


1 comment:

Greg Peterson said...

Growing sprouts can be a great activity for everyone in a family - growing any kind of garden can, actually.