How to grow sprouts

All you need is a bench or windowsill and some easy-to-find equipment to grow sprouts, writes Penny Woodward.

Sprouts
Photo: iStock

Sprouts can be grown at any time, they are not seasonal, they do not need soil. Really any plant with edible seeds and leaves can be grown as sprouts, but some are easier to grow, more nutritious and delicious than others. 

All you need are the seeds, a jar, a porous cover (muslin material, absorbent kitchen cloth or similar) for the jar, a rubber band to hold it in place, and water. If you want to go more high tech, you can buy sprouting kits with perforated lids, or even domed multilevel sprouters.

Use only one type of seed per jar, as all seeds take slightly different times to sprout, but you can have several different jars going at once.

Traditionally, sprouts are added to salads, sandwiches, blended with vegies, scattered over an omelette, stirred into stir-frys, and used to garnish soups or stews.

How to grow

1. Wash the seed first by placing in a sieve and rinsing under running water.

2. Place selected seed into a clean wide-mouthed jar to no more than one quarter of its depth (the seeds swell as they absorb water and start to grow). 

3. Pour in clean, cold (preferably filtered) water to just submerge seeds, put cover in place and leave to stand for two or more hours (see table). The simplest way to do this is to just stand on a bench in a light, but out of direct sunlight position. Sprouting kits use frames that tilt the jar, but this isn’t necessary. 

4. The next morning, after soaking for the right amount of time, drain water leaving the seeds moist but not wet. 

5. That night, rinse the seeds in fresh water again by running water into the jar to just cover the seeds, slosh around a bit to make sure all the seeds are rewetted, and then drain through the porous cover. Again leaving the seeds moist but not wet. Do this twice a day, or three times if the weather is really hot. 

6. Sprouts are ready to eat once shoots are well formed and, in some cases, have small green leaves. Store in a sealed container in the fridge and use within a few days.

 

Sprouts in bottle_istock

 

  • Remember, sprout seed swell to several times their original size, so only partially fill the jar.
  • While sprouting, keep your jar away from direct sunlight, but in a position with diffuse light.

By: Penny Woodward

First published: February 2021

Related topics

Gardening Basics, Pots & Small Spaces, sprouts, grow your own, easy to grow, windowsill garden, Issue 114 -- December 2019/January 2020, What to do now