Sprouts are the most nutrition rich life stage of any vegetable or legume, and are a great addition to your diet. We have sprouted alfalfa, clover, fenugreek, mung beans, lentils, sunflower, broccoli, quinoa, and arugula. And there are so many that we have not yet tried such as wheatgrass, barley, rye, cabbage, kale, adzuki, garbanzo, pea, basil, and turnip.
Our favorite sprouts so far? Paula likes radish, and I like mustard. Radish sprouts taste like radish, and mustard sprouts taste like horseradish. We love them on salads and sandwiches and almost always have them in supply for such. The price for buying seeds and sprouting on your own is incredibly lower than the price for buying store-bought sprouts, and sprouting is so easy.
We have tried seeds from local health food stores and from discount seed/spice supply websites. Some work and some are useless for sprouting. The only reliable suppliers that we have found are those dedicated to sprouting, and ones that supply organic seeds. Sproutpeople.org is one such supplier.
Germinating Seeds in a Mason Jar
Although there are many methods of germinating sprouts, you can start out with just a mason jar and some cheesecloth. You can find specific information on germinating and sprouting any particular seed at Sproutpeople.org. In general, you will soak seeds 8-12 hours depending on the seed variety, and then place them in a large mouth mason jar with cheesecloth capped or rubber banded on the top. The seeds are then drained. Store the jar, cap down, at about a 45 degree angle in a bowl for draining, and keep them in a dark area with good air circulation for the first few days. Every morning and evening, rinse and drain the seeds.
Germinating Seeds in a Sprouting Tray
After your first few sproutings with a mason jar, you will probably be hooked and ready to move up to a sprouting tray. They grow sprouts more efficiently, drain easier, and allow you to work with larger quantities of sprouts. There are numerous varieties available but we have become attached to the “Sproutmaster“. The steps for germinating are the same – soak seeds in a glass of water, pour into sprouter and drain, rinse and drain seeds every morning and night for 4-6 days. Because it is covered, the sprouts will be lighter in color when ready for harvest. After de-husking the seeds, we usually leave them out uncovered for a day to develop chlorophyll.
Most sprouts will be ready for harvest in 4-6 days. Again, please refer to Sproutpeople.org for specific information on the seeds that you are sprouting. To separate your sprouts from seed husks, completely fill a bowl of water that contains the sprouts and swirl it after it is full. Most of the seed husks will float and will be ejected from the top of the bowl with further swirling. The remaining seed husks will settle to the bottom of the bowl, allowing you to remove the de-husked sprouts above them by hand or with a strainer.
Place your seeds back in your sprouting device and let them drain for the day or overnight. Leave them in an area with partial light (not direct sunlight), to allow chlorophyll to develop. This will make your sprouts even healthier and tastier. After this period, pat them with a cloth towel to absorb excess moisture and store.
If your seeds are properly drained and patted dry, they will usually keep in the refrigerator for at least two weeks. We line a Tupperware bowl with a paper towel and store the sprouts in it.
Add your sprouts in your salads and on your sandwiches and burgers. You’re going to love them!