When I wanted to learn how to sprout seeds, there was so much information out there it started to become so confusing that I almost dropped the idea. What I was looking for was clear and super easy instructions and I did manage to find a few videos on YouTube that were helpful, but I was really wanted something I could refer to quickly to and not have to load up a video (goodness, aren’t I spoilt now?)
This past winter, I started sprouting seeds to grow my own micro-greens again for both health and budget reasons. Micro-greens are nutritional powerhouses and there are few things that can match their food quality in relation to their size. I also cannot bear the cost of close to 5 dollars a pint at the health food store. I used to be able to buy the seeds in bulk but that seems to be a thing of the past, or at least where I live. I have started using a brand of seeds called bio-Snacky by A. Vogel which is a very well resected Swiss company. I can usually find 40g packets for about 3 dollars at the local health food store. You can get different seeds mixes like Detox mix, Fitness blend and even a Broccoli/Rapini mix which is might tasty. Please note that if you are pregnant, nursing or have a compromised immune system, I do not recommend consuming raw sprouts.
You do not need any special equipment to start sprouting, just a mason jar and some cheesecloth and a rubber band is all you need if you want to get super simple about it. Through trial and error, I decided to lay out a bit of cash for the sprouting lid ( around $5) for the mason jar as I found that the smaller seeds stuck to the cheesecloth when I was rinsing the seeds. Also, I feel that I can’t sanitize the cheesecloth like a sprouting lid. Some people use plastic fine mesh screening used for doors and windows bought at the hardware store but I’ve never found this at mine. I was told that you never use metal sprouting lids by my Mom, she’s gone now so I don’t know why but I have a feeling that it has to not knowing what the content of the metal is and avoiding rust. I have found 2 sprouting lids seems to work for our house. You can get stacking sprouting kits which is for larger scale production and they have great draining systems to make it quite easy. My Mother used these off and on did so with great success but you have to be consuming them as quickly as you grow them. Sprouts should be consumed with 2 days of them being ready so be prepared to menu plan for what you are getting ready to grow.
What you need:
Seeds for sprouting
Take about 1 Tablespoon of your sprouting seeds and place it in your jar. Add about 1 cup of filtered (preferably, but not essential) water to cover and place your lid on top and let it soak for about 6 hours. You will notice in the picture below that the water has a brown/yellowish tinge to it. This is the coating of the seed which contains phytic acid which is now removed enough to allow it to sprout. I try to soak all the seeds, grains and nuts I cook with to ease digestion issues which I will go into in a future post. If you want to take a look to as why I do this, this link with provide some info for you.
After 6 hours or so, drain the water off and rinse the seeds 2 or 3 times. This is where the struggle would be in using cheese cloth for sprouting on top of your jar in stead of the sprouting lid, but if this is all you have, don’t let that stop you, this is definitely worth doing.
After rinsing, set the jar in a bowl on an angle so the that any leftover water slowly drains out and your seeds are moist but not sitting in water. I used a strainer inside the bowl just in case, but it has proved to be not necessary. Place the bowl in a place out of direct light. Some people cover them with a towel as it’s been told to me that they sprout better in dark which does make sense as seeds do grow underground. I keep forgetting to try this out and I’ll update the post when I have tried this method.
Below is a picture of the sprouts after just 1 day. It was quite warm a couple of weeks ago when I took this picture so the sprouting took off right away. In the winter, the sprouts usually take a about 2 days to get a little tail. My house faces North and is an absolute ice box to live in, so how depending on how warm you keep your house will impact how fast your little sprouts will appear. You need to rinse the seeds twice a day at the very least in fresh, cold water. I do it 3 times to ensure that the water that I’m rinsing out comes out fully clear. I rinse mine before I go to work in the morning at again at night. If I am sprouting something like lentils or chickpeas, I try to rinse them 4 times a day.
So when you notice that your tails are starting to get long and is less seed and more plant is when you want the seeds to start getting some light to turn your sprouts green. I place my sprouts in the only window I have in my kitchen located above my sink (conveniently) that is perfect for indirect light. You will not want them to be in direct light as it will burn them.
When they are getting light and turning green, you still have to rinse them. Be careful when you do as you will damage the little sprouts and you don’t want to them to stop growing due to damage
When you see the sprouts turning green and most of them have grown, it is time to eat them. Store them in the fridge and use within 2 days. I have stretched it out to 3 but after that they start turning brown. You can add them to a smoothie, in a sandwich or salad or as I do, as a snack. I toss the sprouts with walnuts and sea salt and eat that as a on the go snack. I also use it as a topping for soup as shown below. When you are finished your sprouts, sanitize your jar and lid and start again. I hope you find this helpful and let me know if you have any questions. Happy Sprouting.