Growing fresh sprouts in your own home is a great way to have a fresh nutrient dense food readily available for soups, salads, and sandwiches. You can grow your own sprouts at home for often times less than half of the regular price of the store bought packaged versions.
Sprouts can be one of the easiest and most rewarding short-term crops to grow from home and the best part is they can be grown at anytime during the year indoors. Some different types of sprout seeds that you can look for are Radish, Mung Bean, Lentil, Broccoli, (just to name a few) and of course alfalfa, which are the most popular sprouts and the most readily available in stores and in restaurant foods. Each type of sprout has a different flavor ranging from earthy, nutty, and spicy among the different varieties so you can choose your sprouts based on the flavors that you like and incorporate them into well matched foods after considering their flavors and textures.
Before you get started It’s important to make sure the seeds you are using are specifically for sprouting (this seems like common sense but it can be confusing) they will most likely say “sprouting seeds” or “sprouting mix” right on the package but this is important because you can easily mistake ground cover seeds for sprouting seeds because they can look the same and can be packaged alike but are for two separate purposes and can be treated differently so watch for this especially when ordering online. You may also want to look for labels such as non-GMO, microbial tested, organic, vegan, raw, and high germination just to name a few. Try to look for the labels that are the most important to you when considering any of your seeds for sprouting or for growing because in time they will become a food source for you.
After you source your sprout seeds you will need to gather a few additional supplies. What you will need to get started growing your sprouts is a glass jar, sprouting seeds, and something mesh to secure over top of the jar for the rinsing and draining process. I use a piece of tulle over the top of my jars with a rubber band to hold it in place but you can use many different materials. Some people cut window screening, cheesecloth, or mesh colanders that they already have and match them up to the jar tops circumference to make the strainer portion. If you use a canning jar you can easily use the ring to secure your material over the top of the jar. You can also recycle any type of glass jar like a spaghetti sauce jar or a large pickle jar for your sprout growing. There is also the option of buying a sprouting kit from a garden or health food store or online these come with ready made straining lids that twist onto standard jars and also come with sprouting instructions. These kits are very readily available in a variety of places along with the seeds that you will need for sprouting. I found mine right in the grocery store and that’s what had initially gotten me started with sprouting.
You will want to start by putting 2-3 tablespoons of sprout seeds in your jar and soaking them in water for about 6-8 hours or overnight. Follow by draining them thoroughly and spreading them out evenly in the container. The sprouts will need to be rinsed 2-3 times daily for the next 2-3 days while sprouting. If your sprouts weren’t already exposed to sunlight while growing you may want to place them in a sunny window to allow them to turn green in color nearing the end of their growing. For most varieties they should have a long tail and tiny leaves when they are finished sprouting completely.
Once your sprouts look ready to you, you are going to want to rinse them in a bowl of cold water and let any loose hulls float to the surface and then skim them off. Drain the sprouts again thoroughly and then store your sprouts in an airtight container for up to a week’s time rinsing daily to keep them fresh and from fermentation. Fermentation can occur during the growing process and when storing grown sprouts when there is too much water present; this can form a slime and ruin your sprouts. A paper towel underneath fresh drained sprouts in a sealed container can help to prevent excess moisture as well as rinsing and draining well and often.
Once you have the seeds and get into the swing of sprouting, it’s a good idea to start a new batch of sprouts a few days before your others run out so they can be replenished and that way you can have a continuous supply. You can line up multiple jars and experiment with the amount of seeds that you need to sprout a full jar(s) worth or more. Recently, I’ve heard of people starting up sprouting businesses from home supplying and selling sprouts at farmer’s markets and to restaurants. I think that this is an interesting idea. I don’t know all of the details on growing sprouts for profit but it sounds like something neat to research if you find that you love growing sprouts and can come up with an efficient sprouting system.