How to Grow Sprouts (**Updated**)
Here at the Mountain Farmhouse, we like to grow a few things indoors. ESPECIALLY when we can’t really grow too much outside! One of our favorite, and highly nutritious, foods is the humble, little SPROUT! Follow this simple guide to learn how to grow sprouts!
Start With a Clean Jar
I’ve had my jar for years(it was part of a kit), but a large mason jar works every bit as well. Make sure it’s a minimum of one quart in size. I would even go bigger, if possible.
Add a Mesh Lid for the Jar
You can look for a “Sprouting Jar Strainer Lid,” but make sure that you get the right size for the mouth of your particular jar. Otherwise, just use a piece of mesh screen(sanitized and cut to size) and either the metal screw-on band for the same effect. You could also use cheesecloth with a rubber band, but discard the cheesecloth after use.
Then Come the Seeds!
Just the word, “SEEDS,” puts me in my “Happy Place!” Here are seven fun and yummy seed options for growing sprouts indoors:
*FARMHOUSE TIP –
Select seeds that are specifically for sprouting. I often use a mixture. Get the very best quality you possibly can. Go for organic. Check them and compost the “imperfect” ones.
Now comes the fun part! Simple directions:
How To Grow Sprouts
1- Place 1-2 Tablespoons of seeds (OR 1/2 Cup beans/legumes/grains) in your jar. Cover with water, approximately triple the amount of water as seeds. If using a seed mixture, 2 Tablespoons should be a good amount of seeds.
2- Rinse and strain the seeds, then cover with water again and soak the seeds overnight. Place the jar in a dark, warm place like a closet, pantry, or kitchen cabinet. Sprouting happens when it’s dark.
3- The next morning, drain the water from the jar, carefully, so as not to damage the tender little “sproutlings.” If you are using a cheesecloth top, strain through a sieve and put back in the jar. (If using a mesh top, simply strain the water through the top.) Then rinse the seeds in fresh water and strain them again. Tepid, or lukewarm water is recommended. Replace your top if using cheesecloth.
4- Once seeds are completely drained, tilt jar at an angle by either propping it up on one end or placing in a basket and tipping the basket a little bit. Place the tilted jar away from direct sunlight.
5- Twice a day, you’ll need to rinse and drain the sprouts. If it is hot and dry in your area, you may need to do this more often, like three times a day.
6- Whenever draining, do so gently and thoroughly. Too much water is no better than not enough water.
7- Your seed package should give you a timetable for your sprouts. If not, here is a suggestion list for a few types of seeds:
Seed type Amt for Sprouting Grow time Approximate Sprout Length
Alfalfa (salad) 2 Tbsp 5 Days 1-2″ long
Broccoli 1 Tbsp 4 Days 1″
Sunflower 1 Cup 1 Day 1/2″
Radish 1 Tbsp 3-5 Days 1/2″-1″
8- After your seed have sprouted for enough of a duration, rinse them and drain them thoroughly one last time. Lay them on a clean surface so then can dry for about an hour or two. Cover them and eat within 5-7 days.
A word about alfalfa sprouts
On day four, rinse the hulls off of them. This is to prevent spoilage from occurring prematurely. You may need to shake them gently to get them to separate. If you have wide-type mesh screen, they should pass through the holes easily.
More Farmhouse Tips
Avoid excessive moisture during sprouting. If you have a very humid environment, like above 70%, it may not go so well.
Also, extremely HOT temperatures are a big no-no, and your sprouts could die. We don’t have that issue here, most of the time, thankfully. If your temperature is around 70°F, then that is ideal. A little cooler is fine. Our typical daytime temperature in the winter is about 64°F and our sprouts do quite well. Just be mindful of this and don’t let the temperature go above 80°F or so.
Air circulation is key. The sprouts will die if they get no air. Don’t overdo this, however. Too much air could cause them to dry out, which is just as bad.
The bottom line? You may have to make a few attempts before getting this “right.” Just keep trying. You’ll figure out your own home’s quirks and nuances in order to grow sprouts well. But don’t be scared! It’s not so hard and it is a lot of fun – especially when you can’t get outside to the garden.
Reaping the benefits
Sprouts contain a lot of nutrients, such as vitamins, amino acids, and fiber. They are also quite tasty! It’s easy to top off salads and sandwiches with them, but how about garnishing your stir-fry? Or soup?
Any questions about how to grow sprouts? Reach out to me at Wendy@themountainfarmhouse.com. I love hearing from you.
As always, I wish you blessings!
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*Update – Cheesecloth really isn’t the preferable choice for a jar topper, but I include it as a way to use what you have on hand if another option isn’t available. Growing your own sprouts should be for economy as well as for nutrition.