A little while ago, I shared my top 5 cheap foods that are actually good for you and sprouts were at the very top of that list. Learning to grow sprouts at home is an amazing way to increase your nutrient status without having to drop a ton of cash.
Sprouts contain all of the nutrition of the vegetable they will grow in to. Just ¼ cup of broccoli sprouts contains all the cancer-fighting sulforaphane found in 7 cups of mature broccoli florets!
Sprouting legumes, like lentils and chickpeas, increases the bioavailability of some nutrients like immune-boosting zinc. It also makes them much easier on the digestive system.
Growing sprouts at home is shockingly simple and you don’t need any fancy or expensive equipment to get started. In less than 2 minutes per day, you can have tons of fresh sprouts on hand at all times.
Here is what you will need:
- A wide mouth mason jar with lid
- A piece of plastic crafting screen or cheesecloth with an elastic
- Seeds or lentils/chickpeas
You can find sprouting seeds at health food stores or online, for only a few dollars. Some of my favourite varieties include:
You can buy them individually, or try a blend for more variety.
When sprouting beans, I have always used regular store-bought dried lentils and chickpeas with success. Nothing fancy! So if you can’t find sprouting seeds, beans are a great alternative.
How to make a DIY sprouting screen:
Sprouting lids can be purchased, but they are so simple to DIY:
- Buy a piece of plastic crafting screen from the dollar store.
- Trace the outline of your mason jar lid onto the screen and cut it out with a pair of scissors.
- Place the screen inside the screw cap of the jar lid and you now have a sprouting screen lid!
You can also use a piece of cheesecloth held in place by a rubber band.
For a great DIY sprouting screen tutorial from Prepare & Nourish, click here.
Now that you've got your seeds, jar and lid - you are all set to sprout.
Step 1: Measure & Soak Your Seeds
Sprouts grow much larger than their seeds, so you might be surprised by how few seeds are required to create a jar of sprouts. Use the following measurements for your seeds, depending on the size of your jar.
- 1.5 tablespoons for a 500mL mason jar
- 3 tablespoons for a 1L mason jar
Rinse the seeds, add them to the jar with about 2 cups of water, cover and let soak on the counter at room temperature for 8 hours.
Step 2: Rinse, Swirl Drain
In the morning, drain the water from your seeds. Then rinse again by pouring some more water through the sprout screen and swirling them around. Drain well, shaking out any excess water, and place in a bowl so that the jar sits at an angle (as shown in the photo below).
Shake the jar so that the seeds are well distributed and not all on top of each other.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2
Repeat the rinse, swirl, drain process twice a day (morning and night) until your sprouts are fully formed. This takes 3-5 days.
Yes, it is that easy!
Step 4: Store in the Fridge
Once you are happy with your sprout's maturation, give them one last rinse, swirl, and drain. Replace the sprouting screen with an airtight lid or transfer to a Tupperware container with a tight lid and store in the fridge.
Sprouts will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Step 5: Enjoy!
That's it. Your sprouts are all set to give you a serious nutrient boost! Add to salads, sandwiches, and even smoothies.