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Thursday, April 8, 2010

How to Grow Sprouts

Spring fever has kicked in. Husband and I want to grow something NOW. We don’t want to wait until after Mother’s Day, our traditional end of season frost date.

Husband suggested growing sprouts. Sprouts don’t like full sunlight because it can cause the seeds to overheat or dry out. This describes our kitchen window to a T. Perfect!

how to grow sprouts
Alfalfa spouty goodness

The equipment and directions were simple. The most difficult part was finding and buying alfalfa spout seeds. Which really wasn’t that hard, we bought our seeds at the Home and Garden show.

How to Grow Sprouts in a Mason Jar



You will need:


  • Alfalfa seeds 
  • A jar and  screen lid – This can be either piece of muslin, window screen, or netting that allows air to reach the seeds. Some people even use clean pieces of old pantyhose. 
OR 
Both work well. Is is your choice.

alfala sprouting tutorial
I repurposed a plastic net bag that held fresh garlic for the screen.

  • A rubber band or canning jar lid used to attach the screen to the jar. I repurposed a mason jar lid minus the center part. 
  • A small dish or plate is a good idea too, to catch any water that drips out of the jar. Experience talking here.
Grow it:

1. Put 1 tablespoon of seeds in the jar and cover with 1 cup of water.

2. Attach the screen to the jar and let the seeds soak overnight.

3. The following day drain the water from the jar/sprouter through the cloth/mesh lid.

4. Rinse the seeds with fresh water and drain well. Lay the jar on its side or put the tray back in the commercial sprouter.

5. Drain and rinse the seeds twice a day. I usually did it in the morning after breakfast and in the evening after dinner.

6. When the sprouts have grown to their desired height open the jar/sprouter and chow down!

The first batch of sprouts was delicious! I used them to make my favorite sandwich: Dijon mustard, tomato, Munster cheese, and sprouts, on whole wheat bread.

It was extra yummy because, I popped open a jar of yellow tomatoes Mother in Law canned from her garden. It was a Little Yuppie on the Prairie moment - yum!

Are Raw Sprouts Toxic to Eat?

I ran into this question when researching this article. I’ve heard that eating raw soy, black bean, and kidney sprouts can be toxic unless they are cooked. Some say certain sprouts can be cooked to remove the toxin, while others cannot. After much researching I can’t confirm or deny if this is true. My best advice is to research how to safely prepare and eat any thing you plan to sprout before you do it.

I’ve also read mixed reports about eating alfalfa sprouts. That may be due in part to past commercial alfalfa crops being tainted with Salmonella and E. coli. At the time, the California Department of Health Services issued a statewide advisory about the potential risk of illness from eating sprouts. As a result, many commercial sprout companies now rinse their sprouts with chlorine washes (YUCK!)

The alfalfa seeds we purchased were from a reputable seed company and sold for the sole purpose of growing sprouts at home. Eating them didn’t bother Husband nor myself but neither of us have any food allergies or sensitivities. As always, your mileage may vary.

Sprouts are very easy to grow. So much so that I can’t believe I’ve been paying the big bucks for packages of sprouts for all these years. And I’m kinda skeeved out that the sprouts I have been buying have been dosed in chlorine – ew. I’m really glad that I learned it’s so easy and cheap to grow sprouts on my own!

Any thoughts?


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This article is part of the Green Mom’s Carnival where our topic is gardening and hosted by Green Talk April 12, 2010.