Growing sprouts is extremely simple. The methods and equipment used to grow sprouts are limited only by the imagination. For beginners and to learn the basics of sprouting, we encourage you to try the jar method.
The jar method is the simplest growing method and requires very little time or experience. With just a few minutes a day, you can harvest fresh and nutritious sprouts year round.
Equipment you will need is:
- Wide-mouth quart jar
- Ring (which screws onto the jar and secures the screen)
STEP 1 :: Select a sprouting location.
- Select a spot where the jar will be visible and convenient. Anywhere close to the kitchen sink is usually a very convenient place.
- It is not necessary to keep your sprouting jar in the dark, but do keep it out of direct sunlight to avoid heating the sprouts.
STEP 2 :: Measure the seed or beans to be sprouted.
- 2 tablespoons of small seed ( alfalfa, mustard, clover, brocolli, etc.) OR
- 1 cup of beans
STEP 3 :: Clean the seed.
- Place the measured seed in the quart sprouting jar.
- Fill the jar 1/3 full of tepid water.
- Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
- Let the seeds soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Place the screen and ring-top on the jar and drain off water-vinegar solution.
STEP 4 :: Soak the seed.
- Soaking softens the seed for sprouting. Cover the seed with clean, room temperature water. Use at least three parts of water to one part seed.
- Soak 4 to 8 hours or overnight.
STEP 5 :: Drain and rinse the seed.
- With screen and ring-top in place, tip the jar and drain off all of the water.
- Rinse the seed again with plenty of clean water and drain.
STEP 6 :: Place the jar in a visible and convenient spot.
- Place the jar so that it is resting at a 45 degree angle. This allows air to circulate and excess water to drain.
STEP 7 :: Rinse and drain seed / sprouts every day.
- Every day you should rinse and drain 2 or 3 times. Always use cool, clean water to rinse seeds and then drain all excess water.
- When rinsing, use the action of the water to gently keep sprouts from forming clumps.
- Always be sure that all excess water is drained off the sprouts. If the sprouts remain in water they could spoil.
STEP 8 :: Harvesting and cleaning (for small seeds like alfalfa and clover)
- When sprouts begin to fill the jar and have grown to the desired length, fill the jar with water and rinse one last time.
- For this last rinse, remove the sprouts from the jar and place in a bowl of cold water. Break apart any clumps and let the husks float to the top and, at the same time, any ungerminated seed will drop to the bottom of the bowl.
- Skim the husks off the water surface and gently take the sprouts out of the water without disturbing the hard seed at the bottom.
- Place the sprouts back in the jar and allow the sprouts to drain for at least 4 hours before refrigeration.
- Refrigeration will slow the growth down and keep your sprouts crisp and fresh for 7 to 10 days.
- For best results we suggest that you store your sprouts the same way as lettuce: well drained, wrapped in a damp towel in a covered dish and placed the cold area of the refrigerator.
STEP 9 :: Eat and enjoy!
- To keep a steady supply of sprouts on hand, prepare a new jar of sprout seeds the same day you place the mature sprouts in the refrigerator.
TIPS FOR THE SPROUTING NOVICE
- Always use lots of fresh, cool water for rinses.
- Limit your initial soak to 8 hours.
- Follow a consistent rinse cycle.
- Never leave standing water on the sprouts.
- Sprouts grow faster in warm weather and the faster they grow the more heat they generate. Frequent rinses in cool water cools them down and prevents them from spoiling!
- Seeds will keep for 3-5 years if they are stored in a cool, dry and dark location.
- Refrigeration can double the life of your seed and freezing can maintain viable seed for up to 15 years!
PURCHASING SEED AND SUPPLIES
New Natives offers a wide selection of organic, non-GMO seeds and beans for sprouting and can be purchased online from their website. Growing kits are also available.
SOURCE: Directions courtesy of Ken Kimes and Sandra Ward of New Natives.