Perhaps you’ve gotten them as a garnish at a restaurant. Or as a fresh addition to a sandwich at a cafe. But sprouts, and micro greens are kind of all the rage, and you can grow them at home on your counter.
Quick and easy.
First, for a definition.
Sprouts are tiny plants that grow from germinating nuts and seeds in water.
What’s the big deal?
Because you eat sprouts when they’re just a few days old, you’re getting a whole lot of nutrition in a small package. Seeds contain all the nutrients required to take the plant from a tiny seed to a full grown plant (which is hard work)! So ultimately, you get a whole plant’s worth of nutrition in a tiny vessel.
These little power houses provide a surprisingly good source of protein, Vitamins (A, B, C & E), and minerals.
Sprouts were my introduction into growing food this season, because it can be done inside year round, with very little space – I’m talking less than a dinner plate amount of space on your counter.
I started by purchasing a stackable sprouting system. It’s 4 circular trays that interlock, plus a top to pour water into and a tray at the bottom to collect water.
First, you soak your seeds in filtered water for 8-12 hours to get the germination process started. Then, you want to give the seeds one more rinse, and spread them out on the trays, like this:
Twice a day, you pour water in the top, it drips through all 4 trays, and collects in the container underneath. Each time you water, you want to rotate the trays (just take the one that was on the bottom last time, and put it on the top).
In just a few days, you have tasty sprouts!
That’s IT! Simple right?
Once the sprouts are a couple of inches tall, you want to dry them thoroughly before storing them in the fridge. I’ve found that my sprouts stay fresher if I also wrap them in a dry paper towel before I put them in a plastic bag in my crisper drawer. You can expect them to keep for about 7-10 days this way.
But what about sprouting in a jar…
You can also grow sprouts in a mason jar on the counter. However, I didn’t have the same level of success using the mason jar method. The sprouts were noticeably less healthy looking, even though I used the same seeds. If it’s your only option, some sprouts are better than no sprouts, but I would recommend a better system. You can see the difference for yourself here! The sprouts on the left were grown in the sprouting trays, and the right were grown using a mason jar.
My biggest takeaway from my sprout growing? Some varieties of sprouts, particularly broccoli and radish, put out little white root hairs from their stems that look an AWFUL lot like mold. I hate to admit it, but I threw out a couple of batches of sprouts before I realized that the white fuzz I was seeing is totally fine! If you’re growing the type of sprouts that are prone to these hairs, try a couple of things before you toss the batch.
First, check out the location of the fuzz. If it’s all over, that’s not right. But if it’s specifically on the roots, like the arrow points to above, that’s a good sign.
Second, give the sprouts a whiff. You might smell a little sulfuric scent if you’re sprouting broccoli but the sprouts shouldn’t smell spoiled. Also, if you water the sprouts, the white fuzz should temporarily suck back into the root. So, if you water your sprouts and they go back to looking normal, then all is likely fine and you can keep on keeping on.
Now, of course, use your common sense. You shouldn’t see colored mold or eat anything that is unappetizing smelling 🙂
Now get to it! Growing sprouts is a super healthy addition to your routine, and it’s MUCH more cost effective than buying those little containers at the store or farmers market.