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Getting Started Sprouting

The practice of sprouting is becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. This ancient practice, some claim, can turn a hard to digest grain, seed, or bean into a food product that your body digests as easy as a vegetable.

What Can Be Sprouted?

Just about any seed can be sprouted: vegetable seeds like radishes and broccoli, grain seeds like wheat or barley, or beans like chickpeas or lentils.

When purchasing vegetable seeds for sprouting be sure that they are marked “sprouting seeds”. Some seeds have been irradiated or treated with a chemical residue that prevents sprouting.

How Sprouting Works

Put simply, sprouts are the first growth of a seed, before they turn into what will someday become the plants we know and love in our gardens. When you keep the seeds moist and warm they begin to sprout and create tiny little plants.

Where once there was a hard to digest seed, after sprouting you have a nourishing plant food. Sprouts are chock full of nourishment including vitamins and minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll.

Sprouting Equipment: Complex to Simple

You may want to purchase sprouting kits and equipment for growing sprouts, or you may want to use two pieces of very basic equipment, one of which you may already own:

A quart jar works well for vegetable sprouts; a half gallon jar works well for larger grains or beans.

Sprouting How-To: Basic Principles for Any Seed

Whether you wish to sprout broccoli seeds for a fresh addition to your sandwich or wheat grains to make healthier bread, the principle of sprouting remains the same.

1. Soak Sprout Seeds Overnight.

Rinsing seeds (vegetable, grain, or bean) in water. Cover with at least four times as much water and soak overnight.

2. Drain and Rinse Seeds.

The next morning pour off the soaking water, rinse with fresh water, and begin the sprouting process.

If sprouting in a jar, invert jar and drain at a 45 degree angle over a bowl to allow the water to slowly drain off.

3. Continue Rinsing and Draining.

Two to three times per day, pour water through the screen, swirl, drain well, and place back in the bowl for further draining. Every day the sprouts will grow a bit more until they have filled the jar.

Allow vegetable seeds to grow until they begin to turn green, at which point they are producing chlorophyll. Grains and beans you may only want to sprout until the tiniest sprout “tail” emerges, for best flavor.

4. Store Sprouts.

When you are satisfied with the length of the sprouts, store them in the refrigerator for fresh eating, or dry them if you wish to grind them into flour.

The storage point should coincide with a dry point in the sprouting process in order to prevent mold. Do not rinse seeds, cover tightly and store in the refrigerator.

      • Vegetable sprouts keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
      • Bean sprouts keep in the refrigerator up to a week.
      • Dried grain sprouts keep indefinitely (though older dried grain sprouts may have lost some nutritional content).

Dehydrating Sprouted Grains for Grinding Into Flour

To dry grains, lay them evenly on a lined dehydrator tray and dry at no more than 145°F, to preserve enzymes. Or simply lay them out on a sheet pan covered with cheese cloth (to keep pests away) on a warm, dry day. The grains should be as dry as they were before sprouting, so they will run easily through a grain mill. Test them by simply biting or chopping into one to make sure it is dry and crunchy.

Eating Sprouts

Vegetable sprouts can be used in salads, sandwiches, or on top of soups. Mung bean sprouts can be used in stir fries or added to other Asian-inspired dishes. Other bean sprouts can be cooked just as you would regular beans. Browse our Recipes Using Sprouts for ideas!

Sprouted grains can be ground to make everything from bread to biscuits to pancakes.

Sprouting is actually a lot easier than most people think, and only takes minutes of hands-on time. So if you are interested in the benefits of sprouting don’t be intimidated, start sprouting today!


White bowl of sprouts on white background

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