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​How to sprout seeds in a jar

Posted by Lisa Madarasz on

Sprouts are touted as super rich in nutrients but they can be rather expensive so here is a really easy way to sprout our own. The bonus is you can sprout organic seed/bean sprouts for a fraction of the cost and without any packaging. Especially if you get them from the bulk bin at your organic shop.

Why spout?

In general the sprouting process increases nutrient levels, making sprouts richer in protein, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and vitamins C and K than un-sprouted plants

Sprouts also contain lower levels of antinutrients, making it easier for your body to absorb all the nutrients they contain.

What seeds are commonly sprouted?

  • Bean and pea sprouts: Such as lentil, adzuki, garbanzo, soybean, mung bean, black bean, kidney bean, green pea and snow pea sprouts.
  • Sprouted grains: Such as brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, kamut, quinoa and oat sprouts.
  • Vegetable or leafy sprouts: Such as radish, broccoli, beet, mustard green, clover, cress and fenugreek sprouts.
  • Nut and seed sprouts: Such as almond, radish seed, alfalfa seed, pumpkin seed, sesame seed or sunflower seed sprouts.

How to Sprout

1. Choose a jar and lid

Any glass jar will do for sprouting, though one with a wide opening is the easiest for rinsing, draining, and removing sprouts. It is important to choose a jar big enough to contain the seeds and sprouts once they have sprouted. I like to use a preserving jar with some muslin and the screw cap.

2. Rinse Seeds

Rinse your seeds well with cool water and drain. Make sure you remove any debris, stones, or broken seeds. If you are sprouting smaller seeds, removing the broken ones might not be practical, try to remove any non-seed bits. It’s easier to remove them now rather than later.

3. Soak Seeds

Pop your rinsed seeds in a jar and fill to about ¾ full with cool water. Cover with a mesh lid or, if you don’t have one just secure some cloth with a rubber band, to allow air flow.

As a general rule you need to soak them for at least 8 hours. Some larger seeds may require a longer soak. Basically soak them until the seeds have doubled in size. Keeping in mind that ambient temperature can also affect soak time. In warmer temperatures, the soak time is shorter. In cooler temperatures, soak time is longer – you get the picture. Larger seeds like chickpeas or kidney beans may require soaking for 24-hours.

4. Drain Seeds Well

It is really important to drain the seeds well, usually for several hours, while allowing plenty of air to circulate. I usually leave them overnight. Mesh lids work really well for this part, but it can work just as well with your cloth.

5. Rinse, Drain, and Repeat

Rinse your seeds with cool water and repeat the draining process. You need to be gentle to avoid damaging the tender new sprouts. Usually 2-3 days of rinsing and draining about 3 times per day is sufficient. It sounds like a lot but if you do it quickly every time

In very warm temperatures, rinse more frequently. In cold weather, less frequent rinsing may be fine, but keep in mind that seeds may not sprout as well. Most seeds will be happy with a temperature of about 18 – 26 degrees.

6. Final Rinse and Drain

Once your sprouts are ready to harvest, rinse one last time then remove un-sprouted seeds and seed hulls, if you feel the need. Drain thoroughly one final time before eating or storing sprouts.

Using Sprouted Seeds

Sprouts are ready to eat at any point after a sprout tail appears.

In general:

  • Sprout grains just until the sprout tail appears for cooking or dehydrating and grinding to flour
  • Sprout grains in jar just until sprout tail appears, and transfer to soil for growing grass for juicing.
  • Sprout legumes just until the sprout tail appears or before leaves appear.
  • Sprout seeds to desired length, tasting daily.
  • Sprout seeds in jar just until sprout tail appears, and transfer to a tray for growing longer sprouts. Or transfer seeds to a tray with soil for growing microgreens.

Storing sprouts

Sprouts are easy to grow in small batches, I suggest you stagger your production so that there are fresh sprouts to eat daily. If you want to store them just make sure the sprouts have drained completely before you transfer them to a sealed container. They will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.