We can’t wait to share with you how to sprout from mung beans, to lentils, to alfalfa, to radish, broccoli and everything in between!
We love sprouting and we love to eat sprouts. They are healthy and full of nutrients. We have actually loved , growing, sprouting and eating sprouts for many years. But with the recent outbreak of a worldwide pandemic in Coronavirus or COVID-19, it seems the topic of sprouting is becoming very popular very quickly.
And for good reason! It’s a GREAT solution to have fast, nutritious and easy veggies in three days’ time. Which is perfect under the current quarantine conditions.
The goal of this post is to show you how easy, cheap and fast you can be eating your own homegrown veggies. In fact, if you take action in ordering your supplies as you are reading this post, by the time it arrives on your doorstep to eating your first batch, it could be less than a week!
YES! Less than a week the supplies at your door and the fresh sprouts on your plate!
Here’s the topics we are going to cover in this article: (click on any of these topics to be taken right to that topic fast)
- What are sprouts?
- What are the most popular sprouts to grow?
- Why are they a good option for homegrown veggies?
- Why you should grow them during a pandemic/crisis?
- Why you should grow them regularly, outside of a pandemic/crisis
- Cautions to take when growing sprouts
- What supplies do you need to start your own sprouts indoors?
- Step-by-Step sprout growing instructions
- How to eat sprouts
- Recipes using sprouts
What are sprouts?
Sprouts are the premature plant of popular beans, grains, nuts and veggie plants. It’s the process that occurs a few days after germination where the typically white root emerges from the seed shell. If you have ever watched a seed germinate, it’s at about the point that the young plant is an inch or two long – just a few days after germination!
What are the most popular sprouts to grow?
Here’s a list of popular sprouts:
- Bean category: Lentil, adzuki, garbanzo, soybean, mung bean, black bean, kidney bean, green pea and snow pea.
- Grains category: Wheat, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, kamut, quinoa and oat.
- Vegetable category: Radish, broccoli, beet, mustard greens, clover, cress and fenugreek.
- Seeds category: Alfalfa seed, pumpkin seed, sesame seed and sunflower seed.
Why are they a good option for homegrown veggies?
First, things first, they are cheap and fast fresh veggie options. They require very little work and have a yield quite quickly.
But besides that, they are filled with mass amounts of nutrients. According to healthline.com:
“Despite being low in calories, sprouts are a rich source of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. Their vitamin and mineral content varies based on the variety.
However, generally speaking, the sprouting process increases nutrient levels, making sprouts richer in protein, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and vitamins C and K than un-sprouted plants.
For instance, several studies show that sprouting helps increase protein content. Sprouts also tend to contain higher levels of essential amino acids, with certain individual amino acids increasing by as much as 30%.
In addition, the proteins in sprouts may also be easier to digest. This is likely due to the sprouting process, which appears to reduce the amount of antinutrients — compounds that decrease your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from the plant — by up to 87%.
Sprouts are also great sources of antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds.”
For our family, we have primarily sprouted beans and vegetables. Rarely do we sprout the grains and seeds. We usually do this because we are looking for a quick solution to fresh veggies.
However, we have sprouted wheat in the past for sprouted bread, not to necessarily eat the sprouted wheat. This topic for making your own sprouted bread from sprouted wheat is another article for another day! We want to focus on gettin nutritious veggies in just a few days!
Why you should grow them during a pandemic/crisis?
There are 4 main reasons why this is a good option during anything where the ability to buy fresh food either from a pandemic, crisis, outbreak, natural disaster, and even a job loss, etc. Basically anytime you are not able to leave your home or a financial loss has led to the lack of being able to buy food.
#1 – It stores for a LONG time. In fact, when writing this post, we are sharing pictures from sprout seeds that we have been storing since 2011, so for 9 years. And they stay in a sealed, cool place for many, many years. So you can buy them in a non-emergency and save them for that rainy day.
#2 – They grow FAST! In about 3 days’ time, you can have fresh veggies. There really isn’t much of anything else that you can grow that fast (especially from seed) and have have the fruits…or the veggies of your labor a few days later. The only other things we grow are the “regrowth” veggies where you clip green onions or lettuce head and keep regrowing it. Other than that, this is your next best option.
#3 – They are CHEAP. We bought gallon bags of seeds nearly 9 years ago. We have made sprouts a few times throughout the years, but you are only using a TBSP to 1/2 cup at a time, and so you can get A LOT of fresh food from a small amount of seeds. Buying the seeds are cheap. You will need jars and special lids, but that is reusable for many years.
#4 – They are EASY. Sprouts are really, really easy to grow. You do need to babysit daily and there are special supplies we would recommend using as mold and bacteria growth is a concern if not done properly. Similar to fermenting or kefir, it’s ultimately easy and nutritious, but you do need to take steps to avoid the bacterial growth.
Why you should grow them regularly, outside of a pandemic or crisis
Because of the 4 reasons above, they are just a great addition to any home garden and nearly any diet, filled with great nutrients and taste really good to make for some extra variety in your diets.
Cautions to take when growing sprouts
You can get food poisoning from sprouts if not grown properly or if negligible. Just like many foods, if you don’t handle it the proper way, you will incur food borne illness risk.
The biggest risk with sprouts is eating them raw (which is normally how we eat them!) because in the food industry, by cooking the foods, you kill bacteria and contamination.
Sprouts can grow bacteria easily because in order for them to sprout, they need a moist, warm area. That is a breeding ground for bacteria for any consumable product.
We use specific tools to grow our sprouts to greatly minimize the risk of bacterial growth. The supplies need to help minimize the risk is totally worth it.
Here’s what we do in a nutshell:
- We DO NOT sprout in dirt or flat growing tray
- We DO use glass jars with netted lids and sprout at a 45 degree angle to let extra moisture drip out while they are sprouting
- We DO NOT let it sit until sprouted
- We DO rinse the seeds at least twice a day
- We DO NOT store at room temperature once ready
- We DO store in the fridge to reduce growth
- We DO NOT eat them right out of the package
- We DO rinse them and even use our vinegar veggie cleaning spray and will spray, rinse and then soak and rinse again before eating
- We DO NOT eat them when they are slimy AND smelly after rinsing. They are too old at this point.
- We DO eat them when they are not left with slimy residue after rinsing and smell fresh.
Finally, you can cook them gently, but the above steps have caused us no issues and we can keep bacterial growth away!
What supplies do you need to start your own sprouts indoors?
The list of supplies to grow safely and to reduce bacterial growth is quite minimal!
Here’s the list of the supplies we recommend:
- Glass jars
- Screen lids
- Bowls to place upside down at 45 degree angle or the sprouting jar stands
- Sprouting seeds
Even better is if you have wide mouth canning jars, then just get this kit on Amazon that has your stands and your stainless steel screen lids all in one kit!
And as another option, you can check out these kits that include the sprouting seeds as well.
Finally, here are two online Amazon stores to grab seeds. We like the mung bean, broccoli, and salad mixes. But they are all great!
Step-by-Step sprout growing instructions
Sprouts are very easy to grow! Here’s the simple step-by-step instructions:
- Measure out your seeds! For small to tiny seeds, you will want about 1 TBSP. For larger seeds (like beans) you will want around 1/2 cup of seeds.
- Place your measured seeds in a jar and put the screen lid on top.
- Rinse your seeds and swirl them around in the water, then strain the water out. Repeat this 2-3 times initially.
- Fill the jar half way with water.
- Let them soak all day or overnight (around 8-12 hours).
- Rinse again after soaking.
- Place upside down at an angle (to let water drain and air circulate).
- Rinse twice a day and keep in the upside down angle position for growing – they will start sprouting after 24 hours.
- Once they reach a decent sprouting length, rinse in water and drain and air out again by putting them back upside down at an angle.
- After they have air dried after last rinse, store in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
- When ready to eat, we would recommend spraying with homemade veggie spray and rinsing.
How to eat sprouts
There are several ways to eat sprouts. After washing them right before eating, you can gently steam or stir-fry and eat them on anything, but the most popular ways are:
- Raw – even as a snack by itself!
- On salad
- In pasta salad
- On sandwiches
- On tacos
- Stirred into steamed veggies (in raw or steamed form)
- Gently stir-fried
- Gently steamed
- In recipes of all kinds (see link below)
Recipes using sprouts
We wanted to share a couple of quick recipes using sprouts, but be sure to see ideas from Bon Appetit HERE.
Sprouted Pasta Salad:
This is an easy, quick, frugal and delicious way to enjoy raw sprouts. It is actually one of our family’s favorite sprout recipes.
Ingredients for Sprouted Pasta Salad:
- Sprouts of any kind (mixture is great too)
- Whole Wheat Pasta of any kind
- Diced Tomatoes
- Sliced Black Olives
- Diced Red Onions
- Pepperoni or Salami
- Shredded Carrots
- Green Onions
- Diced Bell Pepper
- Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Italian Dressing or Homemade Italian Dressing from HERE
How to make:
- Boil the pasta with about 1 TBSP of olive oil in the water for 1-2 minutes under the recommended cooking time (al dente)
- Drain and rinse the pasta in cold water until the pasta is cold
- Add all of the above ingredients and toss all together
- Serve cold!