Having sprouts growing at your fingertips has many perks. If you do not have a lot of room inside or outside to plant an edible garden, growing sprouts is the perfect way to add some nutrition to your meals without taking up a lot of space. All you need is a little counter space with indirect sunlight to grow happy sprouts.
Sprouts can be expensive at the store, but they are inexpensive to grow at home. Growing them at home keeps you in control of everything. The cleanliness, what you grow, when you harvest, and how quickly you consume them after harvesting.
Growing sprouts is easy. In this article, we will go through each step of how to successfully grow your own sprouts!
Why Grow Your Own Sprouts?
Homegrown sprouts are incredibly fresh compared to those that have traveled from farm to store.
Sprouts make delicious additions to salads and sandwiches. They are excellent as toppers to entrees and even just as a snack. So why should you grow your own sprouts instead of buying them at the store?
The first reason is obvious. Growing at home gives you sprouts that are more fresh than those that spent time traveling from farm to store.
Secondly, the variety of seeds you can purchase to grow your own sprouts is much more vast than what you find at the store. You can create your own mix and grow exactly what you want and as much as you want.
Lastly, do it because it’s fun! It is a quick, easy, and satisfying way to grow your own food and enjoy the nutritional vitamins and minerals that sprouts offer.
Sprouts and Food Safety
Make sure to thoroughly wash your hands and the sprouter before handling your seeds and sprouts to ensure their safety.
We can’t get into how to grow sprouts without discussing food safety and sprouts. Sprouts have been known to cause food-borne illnesses, and the CDC has labeled sprouts as a “high-risk” food. Contamination of sprouts typically starts with irrigation or at another point in the beginning stages of germination.
It is not necessarily safer to grow your own sprouts, but you are more in control of the cleanliness in your own home. Washing all of the parts of the sprouter and your hands before handling the sprouts is a great way to ensure that your sprouts will be safe to eat.
Step 1: Choose Your Supplies
Growing your own sprouts can be done in several ways.
There are a few different ways to grow your own sprouts. Some people like to use mason jars. I used a seed sprouting kit. This kit came with everything I needed except for water!
There was plenty of room to grow up to four types of sprouts simultaneously. The sprouter has a diffusing lid that makes watering simple, two trays for growing spouts, and a base to catch draining water.
The seed sprouting kit I used came fully stocked with seeds. I tried each of the four sprouts, and I have enough seeds left over to give growing them another go.
The kit included the following seeds:
Step 2: Prepare Your Sprouter
Clean your sprouter thoroughly to maintain cleanliness and prevent bacterial growth.
Now that you have all of your supplies gathered, the first thing you need to do is clean your seed sprouter. This will help keep your sprouts clean and prevent any bacteria from developing.
- Take apart the entire system.
- You can put your seed sprouter in the top rack of the dishwasher, but hand washing is recommended.
- Using gentle dish soap, thoroughly clean each piece.
- Allow all of the parts to dry entirely before you spread any seeds.
- Assemble the seed sprouter once all parts have dried.
Step 3: Measure and Soak Your Seeds
Ensure your chosen container has enough space to accommodate the necessary amount of water.
By now, you have your seeds selected. Next, you must figure out how much of the seed you need. This amount will differ depending on what type of sprout you are growing.
|Variety||Seed Amount (per tray)|
|Red Clover||2 teaspoons|
|Salad Mix||1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon|
|Sandwich Mix||1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon|
Once you have measured your seeds, place them in your chosen vessel for soaking. I used small mason jars. Anything you have on hand, such as small bowls, used water bottles, and Tupperware containers, would work for this. As long as your chosen vessel has enough room for the required water, it will work fine.
Place the seeds in your jar and cover them with water three times the depth of the seed. Let the seeds soak for 8-12 hours and drain. Your seeds are now ready for the sprouter.
I found it helpful to drain the seeds by pouring the seeds and their soaking water right into the sprouter, allowing the seeds to drain right into the base.
Step 4: Spread Your Seeds
Use a popsicle stick to gently separate the seeds and prevent any clumps from forming.
With your tray dividers in place, it is time to spread your seeds. Do your best to spread your seeds out into a single layer. I used a popsicle stick to gently move the seeds about, avoiding any clumps.
I found it tricky at first to spread the seeds in a single layer. Each time I rinsed the seeds, I re-spread them to keep them in a single layer as best as I could.
Put your diffusing lid on top, and place the sprouting system somewhere with indirect light. I kept my sprouts on my countertop, where it would get dappled light throughout the day. This worked great for me.
Step 5: Rinse
To maintain your sprouts as they grow, rinse them at least twice a day with six cups of water.
Rinsing your sprouts is all of the maintenance they will need. At least twice a day, rinse your sprouts with six cups of water.
The easiest way to do this was by removing the base and placing the seed sprouter in the sink. Pour two cups of water at a time slowly over the diffusing lid, and allow the water to drain completely before placing the trays back onto the base.
I used a two-cup measuring cup to rinse my seeds. This allowed me to have good control over how quickly the water was spilling out. A watering can would be great for this step.
Before your seeds begin to sprout, keeping the seeds in a single layer can be tricky. If you are having trouble with this, I have a tip for you. While you are rinsing your seeds, keep the base attached to the tray. While there is water sitting in the base, gently shake the trays back and forth. The seeds will slowly settle into a single layer. Drain the water out by removing the base.
Step 6: Harvest
Harvesting time for your sprouts varies based on the type you’re growing.
Your sprouts will be ready to harvest and eat 2-9 days after spreading. The time will differ depending on what you are growing. Once you know your sprouts are ready to harvest, pull them out of the tray.
|Variety||Days to Harvest||Harvesting Clues|
|Red Clover||5-7||Green Leaves|
|Salad Mix||5-7||Green Leaves|
|Sandwich Mix||4-6||Green Leaves|
Step 7: Store
To properly store harvested sprouts, it’s crucial to ensure they remain dry and cool.
There are a few ways to store your harvested sprouts. The most important factor is that the sprouts should be dry and cool.
Your first option is to leave your sprouts in place in your sprouter and store them in the refrigerator. This is very convenient. Simply harvest your sprouts as you need them. Continue to rinse to keep them fresh and crisp.
The next option is to store the sprouts in a different air-tight container. Before placing them in your container, make sure your sprouts are nice and dry.
After living through this process, I found it better to harvest the sprouts from the sprouter and store them in a container. This kept the flavor fresh and also reminded me to eat them. I left a few sprouts in the sprouter, and they got a bit on the soggy side.
As someone who has always enjoyed eating sprouts but had never grown them before now, I highly recommend trying this out at home. There are a few different ways to grow sprouts at home. Using this seed sprouter was the easiest way for me to do so. The instructions were very clear and made the process, which initially seemed intimidating, very simple.