Growing Sprouts

1. Soak the seeds. Place seeds (the table below tells you how much seed to use) in a cup or bowl. Add lukewarm water, covering the seeds to a depth three times their height. Soak small seeds such as broccoli or mustard for 4 hours; cover large seeds (such as beans) and grains for 12–15 hours.

2. Add the seeds to a sprouter, or place in a clean jar. Drain off the soaking water. You may want to fasten loose cheesecloth or some other type of screening around the mouth of the jar to make draining easier.

3. Put the sprouter in a location out of direct sun, where the temperature does not stray too far above or below 70° F. Sprouts don’t need much light to grow, and they elongate better in low light. Move sprouts to a brighter spot (but one that receives no direct sun) to green up during the final 24 hours before harvest. The ideal sprouting temperature is 65–70° F—much colder and the seeds may be slow to germinate, much warmer and mold may grow on the seeds or the sprouts. Please note that the radicles, or seed roots, of many sprout seeds produce very fine, white, fuzzy-looking hairs. These root hairs help the sprouts absorb water and should not be confused with mold.

4. Add water to the sprouter 2–4 times a day, to rinse the seeds. Drain off excess each time.

5. Harvest the sprouts. After germination, growth is generally rapid, and sprouts are ready to harvest within a few days. Rinse sprouts in cool water. You can either eat them right away or store them for a few days in the refrigerator.

6. Clean the sprouter or jar well between uses. Clean thoroughly with hot, soapy water, or wash in the top rack of the dishwasher.

Sprouting Information for Several Kinds of Seeds

  Amount of seeds Yield of sprouts Days to germinate
Broccoli 1 tablespoon 1 cup 3–5 days
Lentils 2 tablespoons 1¾ cups 3–4 days
Mung beans 2 tablespoons 2 cups 4–6 days
Radishes 1 tablespoon 1 cup 3–5 days
Wheat 3 tablespoons 1 cup 2–3 days