Sprouting: Activate that seed!

Each seed contains what it needs to start growing and become a plant. Sprouting lets us  enjoy these tiny powerhouses of  nutrition by releasing that nutritive energy before we eat them.  Grains and legumes are a delicious mainstay of a whole foods diet and contain many vitamins  and minerals that become more bio-availabe after sprouting. Sprouts are a fun and simple way  to eat more veggies: increasing your fiber, chlorophyll and phytonutrient intake, and can be added to any meal as a garnish, salad, or even blended into smoothies and juices.

Essential Keys to sprouting:

These rules apply to sprouting all different kinds of seeds. Please read them closely and remember to follow them every time you sprout. They will ensure a happy and delicious sprouting adventure!

1. Use only seeds of plant varieties specifically grown for sprouting. These seeds are grown
under rigorous safety and sanitation conditions to control and limit food born illness.
2. Moisture: Seeds should be damp but never sitting in water after their initial soaking.
3. Rinse often: 2 - 3 times a day.
4. Temperature: Ideal temp. is 65 - 70ºF.
5. Air circulation: Sprouting seeds need to breath. Do not sprout in a closed, airtight container.
6. Minimal contact with light: Seeds usually sprout underground and do not want direct
sunlight. Keep covered with a towel, until they show cotyledons (baby leaves).
7. Room to grow: Do not crowd the sprouting seeds— this ensures adequate air circulation.
8. Most fresh sprouts will last 5 days in the fridge. Store them in a closed container (Mason jar) or specialty produce bag. Be sure they are not overly wet (just damp), and that there is no standing water in their container. Continue to rinse them every other day, and always right before eating, for the best flavor.

Steps for sprouting success:

Jar Method: Best for mixed sized batches of seeds (3-5 part salad mixes, etc.) and small to
medium sized seeds (broccoli, radish, mustard, lentil, etc.)

1. Choose a clean mason jar. A quart size works best for more than 1 Tablespoon of seeds.
2. Soak 2 Tablespoons of seed 4-6 hours in a cup of clean water, at room temperature.
3. Drain, rinse, repeat. Drain well.
4. Cover jar with a sprout screen.
5. Spread seeds evenly around the inside of jar by slowly rolling the jar around.
6. Place jar upside down, slightly tilted to one side in a bowl, dish drainer or the sink to allow excess moisture to drain and to increase air circulation. Cover base of the jar with a towel.
7. Sprouts MUST be rinsed and drained at least 2-3 times a day. Rinsing should take at least to 1-2 minutes. Do not rush it— sprouts enjoy their rinsing and well rinsed sprouts grow and taste better.
8. Uncover them on day 3 or 4 and expose them to gentle natural light (not hot, blaring sunlight). This will allow the sprout to start producing chlorophyll, and increase its nutritive power.

Freshness: When in doubt throw ‘em, out!

Sprouts are inexpensive and easy to grow. If your sprouts seem off in ANY way, send them to
the compost heap, wash your jar and screen thoroughly, and start again.

1. Sprouts should aways have a fresh, clean aroma. Never a stagnant or rotten smell.
2. Sprouts should never be slippery or slimy.
3. Sprouts should not have mildew, be dark in color or moldy.

NOTE: The USDA advises that children, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with weakened
immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish,
and mung bean sprouts).


For more information & inspiration.

At Home in The Whole Foods Kitchen, Amy Chaplin, Roost Books 2014
Homegrown Sprouts, Rita Galchus, Quarry Books 2013
Sprouts, Kathleen O’Bannon CNC, Books Alive 2009
Microgreens, How to Grow Nature’s Own Superfood, Fionna Hill, 2010


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