How to Grow Sprouts in a Jar
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Sprouts are basically seeds that have germinated and become young plants. They can be easily grown in batches at home with just a mason jar and a mesh lid. It takes about 3-5 days to grow your own sprouts at home.
Why Grow Sprouts?
Like salad greens, sprouts can be grown inside virtually any time of year. This makes them a great solution for folks who want to be more self-reliant and provide more of their own food.
Sprouts are ready to eat very quickly. You can grow them and use them in five days or less!
Sprouts are also high in a variety of healthy nutrients and offer an easier-to-digest protein source. They are also a great source of antioxidants. Studies have shown that they can help control blood sugar, improve digestion, and contribute to heart health.
Most importantly, sprouts are a delicious addition to salads, stir-fries, sandwiches, and other dishes. They are fresh and crunchy, and visually appealing as well!
Step 1: Make a Sprouting Container
In order to grow your own sprouts (or sprout your own seeds), you’ll need a sprouting container. A sprouting container is basically a container that allows you to soak the seeds and drain water out after soaking.
The easiest way to make your own sprouting container is to use a quart-sized mason jar. Replace the solid lid on your mason jar with a piece of plastic mesh canvas found a most craft stores or online (typically used for cross-stitch projects).
You can also purchase pre-fabricated sprouting lids for mason jars from a variety of online sellers.
Step 2: Choose your Seeds
A wide variety of seeds can be used to grow your own sprouts, including beans and peas, vegetables, grains, and seeds. Some of the most commonly used seeds include alfalfa, broccoli, flax, pumpkin, garbanzo beans, and lentils.
You can purchase a seed mix specifically designed for growing sprouts or make your own mix of seeds from what you have on-hand. Make sure your seeds are relatively fresh/new and that they have not gotten damp.
Don’t be afraid to grow a few jars of sprouts at once, perhaps placing a different seed variety in each jar to see how they look and grow differently. If you use a seed mix, you can start a second jar 3 days after your first and get a rotation going.
Step 3: Grow your Sprouts
Growing sprouts is easy! It takes 3-5 days to end up with sprouts the size and texture you love, and you’ll need to check on them each day.
- Add 2-3 Tablespoons of Seeds to your sprouting jar.
- Fill the jar just over half-way with cold water and allow your seeds to soak for 8 hours.
- Drain the water out of the jar through the top mesh.
- Place your jar face down in a bowl so that water can continue to drain, and cover with a towel to protect from light.
- Rinse your seeds by filling the jar with water and then draining again about every 8 hours (morning and night is ok), placing back into the bowl upside-down with the towel each day.
- After about 3-5 days your sprouts should be about 2 inches long and they are ready to eat! Give them one final rinse and then serve over salad, on a sandwich, or in a stir-fry.
- Store unused sprouts in the refrigerator for 3-5 additional days (see safety notes below).
Safety Notes on Sprouts
Sprouts have been linked to food poisoning. This is because they are grown in damp conditions where bacteria can also thrive. Follow a few simple best practices to ensure safety:
- Be sure your sprouting jar is draining between rinses; this is why you store the jar upside-down – you don’t want water to gather around your sprouts and sit there. Think of rinsing as watering; you want the water to dry out in between or drain.
- Do not eat sprouts that have become slimy or smelly;
- Wash your hands before working with your sprouts or serving them;
- Store grown sprouts in the refrigerator;
- If you worry at all about consuming raw sprouts, you can instead cook them in a stir-fry, omelet, or soup or add them to veggie burger patties.