How to Make Sprouts

Making your own sprouts requires very little special equipment, no soil and no sunlight. The sprouting process takes only a few days, which greatly increases vitamin and mineral availability. An example: sprouting soybeans produces a 500 to 600 percent increase in vitamin C content, and a 300 percent increase in vitamin A content. The riboflavin and niacin content -- both B vitamins -- also increases by about 370 and 200 percent, respectively.


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    Rinse your seeds in lukewarm water. Discard any split or otherwise obviously damaged seeds.
    • Guarantee the best sprouting results by purchasing seeds specially labeled for sprouting, which are usually tested to guarantee a good germination rate. At the very least, purchase organic seeds. Many non-organic seeds sold for consumption are specially treated not to sprout.
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    Place 1 to 2 tbsp. (15-30 mL) of small seeds, or 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60-120 mL) of legumes (beans or lentils) in a quart-size sprouting jar. If you're using a half-gallon jar, use 2 to 4 tbsp. (30-60 mL) of small seeds or 1/2 to 1 cup (120-240 mL) of legumes.
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    Fill the jar with lukewarm water. Set the jar upright and leave the seeds to soak.
    • Optional: Add 1 tsp. (5 mL) of citric acid per quart (950 mL) of soak water. Although this isn't strictly necessary, it will help reduce spoilage.
    • Soak small seeds for 5 or 6 hours.
    • If you're sprouting seeds or beans with a very hard coating, let them soak for as long as 36 hours.
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    Screw a sprouting lid onto the mouth of the jar, if you haven't done so already.
    • Sprouting lids are a hollow ring with a wire- or plastic-mesh insert. When you upend the jar, the water will flow out but the mesh will retain the seeds.
    • Sprouting lids come in various sizes. For now, select a mesh size that your unsprouted seeds will not fit through.
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    Pour the water out of the sprouting jar. Fill the jar with lukewarm water again, swirl the water and seeds together again, then pour the rinse water out.
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    Prop the jar at an angle, lid facing down. This allows any remaining water to drain out of the jar, and air to circulate freely.
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    Continue rinsing the seeds at least twice a day.
    • Always prop the jar at an angle, lid down, so moisture drains out and air circulates to help prevent spoilage.
    • If you live in an arid climate, rinse the seeds 3 times a day. Mung beans also need more frequent rinsing--3 or 4 times a day--no matter the climate.
    • As the seeds sprout, switch to a larger-mesh sprouting lid for better water and airflow.
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    Place the jar in front of a window once the seeds are fully sprouted. This generally takes between 1 and 5 days, depending on the seeds. The sprouts will quickly produce enough chlorophyll to turn green, further enhancing their nutritional value.
    • The sprouts are ready to eat once the 2 baby leaves are free of the seed hull. Try to eat your sprouts while the root is still one thin thread; once sub-roots begin to appear, the sprouts are much less palatable.
    • Average sprouting/growth times include: sunflower seeds, 1 to 2 days; clover, 4 days; broccoli, 3 days; alfalfa, 1 to 5 days; mung beans, 3 to 4 days.


  • Nutritional content varies according to which type of seeds you sprout. For example, sunflower sprouts are rich in lecithin and vitamin D. Onion sprouts are rich in protein and vitamins A, C and D. Clover sprouts are particularly rich in isoflavones, and lentil sprouts are 26 percent protein.
  • Although you can theoretically sprout seeds with just one sprouting lid, having several sizes on-hand is helpful, especially if you sprout multiple jars of seeds at once, or sprout seeds of varying sizes.
  • As the seeds sprout and shed their hulls, those hulls will float to the top during your twice-daily rinses. Switching to a larger-mesh sprouting lid allows the hulls to float right out of the jar, which reduces your risk of spoilage.
  • The ideal temperature for sprouting seeds is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).
  • Once the seeds are fully sprouted, rinse them thoroughly to remain any remaining hulls or unsprouted seeds. You might have to put the sprouts in a bowl of water and agitate them gently with your hand to get all the hulls to float up to the surface, at which point you can skim them off with a spoon and throw them away.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass jar
  • Sprouting seeds
  • Citric acid
  • Sprouting lids

Article Info

Categories: Growing Vegetables