Humans have been sprouting for thousands of years! Why? Because it’s ridiculously easy! Sprouting is a natural process in which the seeds or spores germinate and put out shoots. Each seed contains all the nutrients for that seed to germinate and grow. Sprouts have a higher number of nutrients within the first seven days of growth: almost 20 times more than the same plant when it’s grown. They are versatile, nutritious, organic, and you can grow them right on your countertop! Just make it a part of your morning and nightly routine to rinse them, and you’ll be watching them sprout little tails within just a few days!
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SPROUTING SEEDS?
Not only do sprouts contain nutrients vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, they are significantly less expensive than buying them at the store. Because you control the entire sprouting process, you can mix and match the seeds you like best. A variety of sprouts adds so much texture and dimension to dishes. Add them to sandwiches, salads, and even soups for a fresh crunchy taste!
BEST SEEDS FOR SPROUTING
Let’s start with the lower-maintenance seeds that are pretty common and add amazing texture to any salad! With all sprouts, allow them to initially soak for 6-12 hours, and rinse them morning and night for up to seven days.
Mung beans: these are the easiest to sprout and best for beginners. They have a slightly sweet taste and are versatile, typically used in salads. Soaking time is 12 hours, and you will notice sprouting within one day! They are usually ready to eat within 3-4 days.
Alfalfa: They have a mild flavor and are one of the most common sprouts in sandwiches and topped on salads. Soak for 6-8 hours and see sprouts within 5-7 days.
Daikon Radish: Soak them for 4-6 hours, and expect sprouts within 4-5 days. They have a pungent kick and zesty flavor. Radishes can have a fuzzy white root hair that is often mistaken for mold.
Rambo Radish: These sprouts are a beautiful purple color, and are perfect for adding spiciness to any bland dishes! Allow the radish seeds to soak for 6-12 hours.
Broccoli: Soak them 8-10 hours, and sprouts are ready to eat within five days! They are very popular in the United States, with their fluffy, light, crunchy consistency.
Mustard: Soak 6-12 hours. They take about four days to sprout, a little longer than the other common sprouts, but are a delicious addition to a crunchy salad!
WHAT SUPPLIES DO I NEED TO SPROUT SEEDS?
- Wide mouth jar and sprouting screen
- Sprouting screen or cheesecloth
- 1-5 tablespoons sprouting seeds
- Airtight container for storing sprouts after the process
HOW TO SPROUT SEEDS IN A JAR
- Wash your jar(s) and dry them thoroughly to prevent any bacteria.
- Pour in seeds of choice and let them soak for 6-12 hours (each sprouting seed has a different sprouting time; see soak times above). If using a pint size jar, you'll want to add about 2 tsp of seeds. For a quart size container, you'll use a heaping tablespoon.
- You can leave the jar(s) uncovered. The seeds will absorb much of the water, softening the shell and preparing them for germination. They will look swollen.
- When soaking time is done, drain and rinse seeds thoroughly with cold water using the soaking screen or a regular fine mesh strainer to drain.
- Now you can begin the rinsing process which will last up to seven days. So don’t go out of town and abandon your sprouts!
- Set the jar(s) on your counter away from direct sunlight. It’s important to keep the temperature around 65-75℉ with little to no humidity, which can quickly spoil your sprouts!! Wait at least 8 hours before your next rinse. Make this a part of your morning and nightly routine: Rinsing, and draining, tilting the jar at a 45-degree angle, propped in a bowl, so it doesn’t collect any excess water.
Day 2: Some of the seeds will begin to sprout little tails, and you may be very excited!
Day 3-6: So how do you know when they’re ready to harvest? Look for a 1/4-inch to a 1/2-inch tail.
When the tails are about ½ inch, skip the last rinse, and let them dry by spreading them out on a dry paper towel for about 30 minutes. Store them in an airtight container and enjoy them for up to five days. If you notice a rancid smell, toss them and start the process again!
Sprouting seeds generally last up to a year if stored in an airtight container in a dark, cool place.
TROUBLESHOOTING: WHY DIDN’T MY SPROUTS WORK?
There could be a number of reasons why the sprouting process went off track:
• Bacteria introduced by poorly cleaning your equipment. Make sure to sterilize the jars and dry them completely upon starting the process.
HOW TO INCORPORATE SPROUTS
Use them in sandwiches, on top of salads, and side dishes. I love sprinkling them on frittatas or scrambled eggs, and incorporating them into vegetable stir-fries with some other seeds sprinkled on top. There are so many possibilities, just get creative!