If you want to learn how to make your own sprouts, it’s very simple to do. The homemade version is fresher, more cost effective, and the shelf life has been better in our experience. Because sprouts are nutritious and easy to grow, they can be part of a good food storage plan.
What are sprouts?
We are referring to seeds that have been germinated to produce their first root shoot. There are many seeds of vegetable, grain, or herb that can be eaten in this infant stage. In fact, sprouts actually have more concentrated nutrition than the fully matured plant they grow into. Some of the most popular varieties of sprouts are alfalfa, broccoli, clover, radish, mung bean, and wheatgrass.
The nice thing about sprouting is that you don’t need any soil or direct sunlight to grow them. The equipment you’ll need is a mason jar, water, some vented sprouting lids, and of course, sprouting seeds. When buying sprouting seeds, pay attention to something called germination rate which refers to the probability the seeds will turn into actual sprouts. So far, we’ve had outstanding success with a brand called Handy Pantry.
The sprouting seed package should have directions so check that first. Keep in mind that each brand and seed variety may require different methods for growing.
For this DIY, we used a 32oz mason jar and followed the directions for Handy Pantry alfalfa sprouts. The seed serving size for this variety is 1.5 tablespoons. That sounds like a small amount but you’ll find these tiny things will produce a lot.
First, soak the seeds in water for 6-8 hours. There is no specific amount of water needed, just make sure to submerge the seeds as best as possible. You’ll want to use the finest vented top for this first stage so the seeds don’t slip through when you rinse them.
After the first soaking, you’ll need to rinse the sprouts 2-3 times a day for the next three days. After each rinse, drain the water through the mesh top and then lay the jar on it’s side. Try to make sure the seeds aren’t all clumped up in one single area.
As soon as the majority of seeds have begun to sprout (around day three), you can move up to the medium vented top to make it easier to drain. After three days of rinsing 2-3 times per day, cut down to rinsing once a day. When most of the seeds have significant shoots on them, you can switch to the largest top and move them to a lighted area to encourage more “greening”.
When are they ready to eat?
For this DIY, the package says they should be ready to eat by the seventh day. In our experience, we’ve noticed they’ve been ready to eat around day six. Either way, you’ll want to use your own judgement.
How long will they last?
This package suggests they will keep for about 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Personally, we’ve found them to last longer, but shelf life can vary. Once matured, you may want to divide your sprouts to avoid overcrowding and maximize freshness.
That’s it – now you’re ready to enjoy them on a salad or sandwich anytime of the year!Disclaimer