Thursday, August 12, 2010

Grow your own sprouts!

I enjoy eating sprouts. You can't really beat a turkey and sprout sandwich (unless you happen to have some fresh tomatoes from your garden and an avocado to put on it too...) and bean sprouts are wonderful in stir fries and salads. Bean sprouts are an excellent source of protein, fiber and vitamin C. Most sprouts are high in vitamins A, C and B complex.

You may have heard that alfalfa and bean sprouts have been associated with E. coli and Salmonella infections. In fact, sprouts are listed as one of the 10 riskiest foods regulated by the FDA. By growing your sprouts at home, you can take care to make sure your sprouts are safe to eat, much easier than large sprout growing operations.

All you need to grow sprouts is a container to hold and drain the sprouts, a regular source of potable water, some seeds and a little bit of counter space. You can purchase sprouting jars, but they can be hard to find and rather costly. Fortunately, making your own is very simple. You will need a quart sized jar (wide mouth is preferred, but not required) a small piece of cheesecloth or screening, and a canning jar ring to fit your jar or a rubberband.

I went to a home improvement store near my home and bought one foot of screening - the kind you use to repair window screens. It cost me $1.04 with tax.  I used about 4 inches of it to make covers for two jars. I have plenty left if I need to repair a screen!

Just cut a square large enough to cover your jar opening and attach with a canning ring or rubberband.

I bought my seeds from a health food store in town. I paid about 75 cents for about 1/2 cup of a seed mix that we like. It has lentils, radish, clover and alfalfa seeds. Put about 2-3 tablespoons of your seeds into the clean jar.

To prevent your sprouts from growing harmful bacteria such as E. coli, soak them in a 50 ppm Chlorine solution for 15 minutes. Just mix one teaspoon unscented household bleach into 1 cup of cool tap water and pour them over your seeds. After 15 minutes pour off the bleach solution and rinse the seeds well. Then proceed to the soaking step.

Cover your seeds with several inches of cool water and set them aside for 8 hours or overnight.After about 8 hours, the water will be a bit murky.

That's OK! Just pour off the soaking water, and rinse the seeds well. Prop the jar for a few minutes to make sure the excess water drains off well. Then just let them sit. They will do the rest. All you have to do is rinse them 3-4 times a day (I rinse before I go to work in the morning, when I come home from work, while I'm preparing dinner, and before I go to bed).

You'll be amazed at how quickly these babies grow. Watch this...

I started the batch pictured on Saturday morning. I drained the soaking water at dinner time and did the first rinse. On Sunday morning they looked like this (see the little sprouts growing from the seeds?)

Sunday evening before bed (the sprouts are a bit longer now)

 Monday morning before work

And about 3:30 pm on Monday (they're filling the whole jar!!)

Once your sprouts are as big as you like them, you need to de-hull them before you store them in the refrigerator. Put the sprouts into a large mixing bowl and fill with cool water. Swish the sprouts around with your {clean} hands, and the hulls will float to the top. Scoop them out and swish some more, until you get the bulk of the hulls out.

Spread the sprouts to dry on some paper towels for a few hours before you store them in the refrigerator.

Enjoy them on sandwiches, in salads, or however you like them!

I also tried a couple of other types of sprouts:

Here are my bean sprouts in a tasty stir-fry

I sprouted some red winter wheat and added it to my bread dough. Delicious! They were very sweet and added great chewy texture to the bread.



  1. Aloha! What kind of beans did you sprout?

    AND I must say, I wasn't at all surprised to see you have a 'round bread' sandwich.

    xo ~jan

  2. WOW!! This is really amazing!! I love sprouts on sandwiches and in I'm going to have to give this a try!! Thank you for sharing!
    ~Terrell @ FrouFrouDecor~

  3. Okay, totally love this and have to try it ( even though I kill all plants ), this is to cool! We love sprouts! Thanks So Much for sharing this :)

  4. I've screwed up making my own sprouts enough times that this will actually be very useful to me. Thank for linking up and I hope to see you again!

  5. ANother great post. I liked it, and will try it out.

  6. We love sprouts and I think this would be really fun to try. Thanks for sharing how to do it.

  7. What a great idea.....Cannot sleep so reading blogs.....Hope you have a great week....Winners are on A BABY CHANGES EVERYTHING. Prayer request on this blog....

  8. great idea! I love that these are SO much safer. I may have to try these.
    Thanks for participating, please link back to me.

  9. Wow, I bet my daughter would like to do this=)) Thanks for sharing=)

  10. Sounds like a fun idea. I'm going to have to go to the store soon.

  11. Neat idea! These look great!

    Thanks for linking up for Friday Favorites!

  12. I'm hosting Canning Week on my blog next week and I'd love to have you join us! We'll be having tips and tricks, a linky party, recipes, and giveaways! Hope to see you there!

    jen @

  13. Hi Lori! I found your site off of Today’s Creative Blog! I love your craft! You are so talented! I just signed up to be your newest follower! Woo hoo! I hope you stop by my new blog. I just started it 2 months ago and would love new friends! Please come see me at


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  15. If you had done this while I was still living with you I would have ended up eating the whole jar before you could think of putting them on a sandwich. Love ya mama!


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