Sprouts not only taste good, but they are also a great source of
vitamins, fiber, protein, anti-oxidants, and enzymes. A sprout is
produced when a seed starts growing into a vegetable. Sprouts can
grow from the seeds of vegetables, from grains such as buckwheat,
and from beans. While Mung beans are perhaps the most common
source of sprouts, you can also obtain good results from lentils,
soybeans and chickpeas just to name a few.
Sprouts can be grown almost anywhere and the best part is you
only need a few basic supplies to get started. By following a few
simple steps, you can receive a continual supply of nutritious
While there are several commercial products available to
cultivate sprouts, here are three of the easiest methods to help
you get started.
- Growing Sprouts in Flower Pots -
1. Start with a clean clay or plastic flower pot. Make sure
there is a hole in the bottom of the pot to ensure good drainage.
Then place a piece of cheesecloth or muslin in the bottom of the
pot over the hole so that the seeds/beans cannot fall out.
2. Next, soak the seeds or beans overnight and then put them in
the pot. Remove any that are broken or damaged. Cover the plant
pot with a dish.
3. Once a day, hold the pot under running water for a few
minutes. This is to soak the seeds/beans thoroughly.
4. Once the sprouts begin to show, remove the dish and cover the
pot with a piece of clear plastic wrap to let in the light. Place
the sprouting pot near a window that allows daylight but is not
in direct sunlight.
- Growing the Sprouts in Trays -
1. Soak the seeds or beans overnight. Remove any that are broken
or damaged before you begin the sprouting process.
2. Select a low, flat dish (like a pie plate) or tray. You can
purchase growing trays wherever planting supplies are sold.
3. Next, spread out a 2-inch layer of soil and then sprinkle the
soaked seeds or beans on top of the soil.
4. Cover the seeds/beans with four layers of damp newspaper.
5. Cover the top of the tray with clear plastic wrap.
6. When the sprouts start to lift the plastic cover, (usually
about three days) remove the newspaper.
7. Place the tray in a window so that the light can turn the
sprouts green. You will need a space to place the sprouting tray
that receives daylight but is not in direct sunlight.
8. Because the thin layer of soil dries out quickly, water twice
9. After about 8-10 days, you will have sprouts tall enough to
- Growing Sprouts in a Jar -
1. Soak the seeds, grains, or beans in lukewarm water overnight
in a wide-mouth glass jar. Remove any that are broken or damaged
before you begin the sprouting process. (Sprouting increases the
seed volume. 4-tablespoons will be sufficient for a quart size
2. In the morning, pour off the water in the jar and rinse the
3. Place a piece of cheesecloth or muslin over the mouth of the
jar. Use a rubber band to hold the material securely in place.
This makes rinsing easier.
4. To keep the sprouts constantly damp, repeat the rinsing 2-3
times a day. Remember to drain any excess water because the
sprouts should not stand in water.
5. Keep the jar away from the light for the first few days.
6. When the seeds/beans begin to sprout, (usually about the
forth day) move the jar into the light to activate the
chlorophyll and turn the sprouts green.
- Harvesting and Storing the Sprouts -
Newly germinated grain, seed, and sprouts, increase in food value
in the very first period of growth. Grains should be harvested
and eaten from when they are six days old until they are 4-5
inches tall. To harvest, just take your kitchen scissors and cut
what you need.
Sprouts from beans, peas, etc., are ready earlier and can be
eaten when they are 3-6 days old, depending on the type of
sprout. For spouts grown in no soil or in seed trays, you can
harvest the green "grass" when it starts to grow. Sprouts, from
grain sown in jars, are ready sooner and are edible even before
they turn green. Seeds sown in soil take a little longer.
If necessary, wash the sprouts thoroughly to remove the seed
coat. Sprouts need to be stored in the refrigerator once they are
ready to eat. Put the sprouts in tight sealing bags, and they
will remain flavorful and crisp for one to two weeks. Rinsing the
sprouts daily under cold water can extend their life.
Sprouts may be frozen by blanching them over steam for three
minutes and then cooling them in ice water. Drain them and pack
into freezer containers.
- Some of the Kinds of Seeds/Beans You Can Sprout -
The following list gives some of the popularly sprouted
seeds/beans. It is not all inclusive as you can sprout almost any
kind of seed. Remember that seeds soak up 2-3 times their dry
volume in water and sprouts need at least six times the volume
occupied by the seeds. So be sure that your container is large
enough, and start with a minimal amount of seed in a container
like a jar, until you determine the correct quantity that will
grow to the sprout size you like, without being difficult to
Your local garden shop or health food store will carry a line of
seeds for sprouting. When purchasing seeds for sprouting, be
certain that the seeds are intended for food and not for
planting. This precaution is necessary because some seeds meant
for planting have been treated with fungicides or insecticides to
protect the young seedlings when planted in a field or garden.
Alfalfa - should be soaked for 6-12 hours. The seeds can be
planted in the pots or jars and also in the flats with soil.
1-part seed gives 10-parts sprouts in approximately 5-6 days.
Sprouts can be eaten after 3 days. When the root is 1-2 inches
long, it will begin to develop tiny green leaves. At this stage,
it needs to be eaten immediately so the plant will not switch to
photosynthesis that exhausts the stored food in the seed.
Peas - when soaked in a glass jar, will grow sprouts in about 3
days. When the roots are 2-inches long, they are ready to eat.
1-part peas gives 2-parts sprouts.
Lentils - can be grown in either a glass jar or a plant pot and
need to be soaked for 12-hours. The sprouts are ready in 3-4
days. Lentil sprouts are ready to be eaten when the root is
1-inch long. 1-part lentils gives 6-parts sprouts.
Barley, Oats, and Rye - should be soaked for 12-hours and then
can either be grown as "grass" to harvest, or sprouts ready to
eat after 3-4 days. The ideal length for eating is about
1/2-inch. 1-part seed gives 2-parts sprouts.
Soybeans - can be grown in a glass jar or a pot. They need to be
soaked for 12-hours and sprouts are usually ready after 3-5 days.
They are ready to eat when the root is 2-inches long. 1-part
beans gives 4-parts sprouts.
Mung Beans - after soaking for 12-hours, these beans can be grown
by any method. Mung beans are the most commonly grown sprouts and
are usually ready to eat after 3-5 days. When the bright, white
root grows from 1-2 inches long, they are ready to eat. 1-part
beans gives 4-parts sprouts.
By growing your own sprouts, you will save yourself money because
it is less expensive to buy sprout seeds and grow and harvest the
sprouts yourself, than it is to buy the sprouts from a market.
Sprouting at home takes only a few minutes a day, and can produce
a good part of your daily requirements of the nutrients you need
from fresh produce. The hassles are minor, the costs are low, and
the freshness is wonderful.
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes
only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any
disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any
health care program.
About the Author
Emily Clark is editor at Lifestyle Health News and Medical Health News
where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on
many medical, health and lifestyle topics.
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