Meet my homegrown sprouts! Easier to grow than anything in the garden, they are ready in a matter of days. They are a trillion times cheaper than store bought as well as safer too. You control their ‘clean’ conditions and they aren’t shipped from anywhere.
And don’t be fooled by their wee height as they most definitely are nutritional power houses. They are brimming with protein, vitamins and minerals. Brimming! You might grow an extra brain after consuming some or receive super power speed, the kind that has you cleaning the house with ease and agility. Okay I may have gone too far on that last one, but you get the idea.
I’ve always been a fan of sprouts, even when I was little. I think I remember my mom putting them on homemade tuna salad sandwiches when I would get home from kindergarten. It wasn’t until I got into raw foods a few years ago that I really started eating them on a regular basis and even growing my own – which I go through phases with.
Sprouts are amazing in salads, sandwiches, lettuce wraps, on baked potatoes, and even in smoothies.
The phase is in full gear at present so I thought it would be fun to share my process. I also had some facebook requests too.
There are 4 main ways I’ve sprouted in the past:
- Using the Victorio VKP1014 4-Tray Kitchen Seed Sprouter (pictured above)
- A fine mesh metal colander over a bowl plus a tea towel for covering
- A wide mouth ball jar with a sprouting lid (you could also use cheese cloth over the opening with a rubber band or use the Ball jar ‘ring’ part of the lid with cheese cloth)
- Using a nut milk bag with somewhere you can hang it to drain
My favorite way as of late is to use the Victorio Sprouting tray. This was gifted to me by my Grandma, she bought it over 10 years ago and wasn’t using it so she mailed it to me. I bet she’s regretting parting with it now after all the lush photos I’ve shared.
I like this method the best because it takes up very little counter space and doesn’t involve any contraption creation for ‘ideal’ draining like the ball jars do. I used to use a dish draining rack but you could also set them in a bowl.
That being said I’ve used all the methods and they all work out marvelously. The Victorio will get you sprouts that look most like the ones in the store. They grow dense like grass as there is little to no jostling to get them drained. The other benefit to the Victorio is that there isn’t a need for soaking the seeds or mung beans 6-8 hours first.
I honestly don’t know why that is and I was very skeptical the first time I tried it out but it has worked perfectly every time.
My favorite seeds and beans to sprout:
- ALFALFA Seeds: I had to shout it they’re so amazing
- Radish Seeds: Are a close second, they have the subtle bite of radish-y things and taste great
- Clover Seeds
- Mung Bean (These guys are also delish, they won’t look like store bought ones though, those get long through a process where they are weighted down, I haven’t tried doing that at home)
I realized as I was making that list that I always loved store bought onion or garlic flavored sprouts, I’ll have to pick up some of those seeds.
I also like broccoli sprouts but I don’t like growing them. They smell real bad, like worse than broccoli fart bad. Up to you.
The best part about growing your own sprouts, aside from how delicious they are, is how much money you will save. A bottle or bag of seeds, usually 1/2 lb runs $6-10 and all you need to grow 1-2 cups of sprouts is 1 tablespoon of seeds. Those 2 cups of sprouts would cost you $3-6 at the store but you’re growing them for pennies at home.
Seeds can be found on Amazon, the sproutpeople.org, or your local health food store – just check around. If you buy from Amazon try to make sure the seeds are for sprouting and look for organic if possible. I scan through the reviews to see if other people have had luck sprouting them. So far, I’ve had great luck with what I’ve picked up here and there.
Using the Victorio sprouter you can use anywhere from 1 to 4 trays at a time, they stack like a high-rise in Chicago.
Mine includes 2 white ones and 4 clear ones. The white tray without the ability to drain is the water collection basin and is the bottom tray. The second white one, with the drain hole, is the top tray/lid for adding water. *note: I’m pretty sure that because mine is so old that the new ones are different. It seems like the newer ones have a clear tray instead of a top white tray. I’m sure you could sprout in the white one too if you are using an older one like me.
Start by adding 1 tablespoon of one type of seed to each tray. Try not to sprinkle the seeds near the little white ‘top hat’ that is where the draining happens. Somehow, by magics also called physics, the water is siphoned upwards and then down through a spout. The water proceeds through all the trays until its final collection in the bottom tray. The seeds might naturally start to grow on that but if they crowd the ‘hat’ too much it won’t drain properly and you’ll have to do some of it manually or clear the area by pushing them back.
Once your seeds are added, stack the trays starting with the bottom water collecting tray, a tray of seeds, a tray of seeds, a tray of seeds and the tip-top empty tray for adding water *newer ones may just add water to the top tray of seeds – check your instructions
Then add enough water that your top tray is about 3/4 full. Watch with skepticism and excitement as the water starts to fall through the second tray into the third, from drops to streams. Fascinating. I’m not joking. It will continue like this until all of the water has collected in the bottom tray. Try to empty the bottom tray right away, if you forget and start to add water later you will have some overflow/juggling issues. It happens. I water them twice a day, once in the a.m. when I wake up and once before going to bed. If it is hotter in your home, like upper 70s or 80s, I would water them 1-2 times extra during the day.
What You Will See
- The start of a sprout is usually when you can see little tails, this happens in the first several hours, where they are just starting to unfurl
- They generally take 3-5 days from first water to harvest. Most sprouts are green and will really start to grab that chlorophyll on the last 2 days and turn a beautiful green, if they get any natural light you won’t need to do anything extra, otherwise place them near a window the last 2 days
- I harvest when the sprouts are about 1/4-1/2″ taller than the tray – because of their height you can unstack the trays or leave them loosely stacked as you’ll see how strong the sprouts are
- A couple days in, the roots will start to grow little white hairs, you might think they are mold at first glance, I assure you they are NOT, they are roots
- If a little water collects, you might just need to hold the tray at an angle (with the ‘hat’ at the bottom) for about a minute to facilitate water drainage
- Day 4 and 5 = amazing sprouts!!
- Give them a rinse in a mesh colander and store them in Pyrex or Tupperware. I like to put a folded up paper towel on the very bottom and between any layers of sprouts – helps with moisture control. You could also wrap them in paper towels to store in Ziploc bags
I say, “Get in my belly!”
Ball Jar Method
Add 1-2 tablespoons of seeds depending on the size of your jar, fill it 3/4 full with water, let them soak overnight or 4-6 hours, drain and rinse, prop upside down where they can drain. Mung beans. I picked these up at an Asian grocery store while at Seattle’s Pike Place market. I’m sure they aren’t meant for sprouting but I was lucky and these have done great.
Then set them up to drain.
The bowl and mesh strainers work in a similar fashion. At first use the bowl to soak your seeds, then use it to hold the mesh strainer keeping them drained with nice air flow. I usually just run water over them for 20 seconds or so, then prop them in the bowl and cover with a tea towel.
Same rules of watering/rinsing apply to all methods of sprouting.
What are your favorite types of sprouts?? or least favorite? On some post I talked about fenugreek but I don’t remember where. They were in a spicy blend that I had picked up and for whatever reason, when my body ‘processes’ them a ‘mapley’ scent radiates out of my arm pits. Ewww! It took me a week to figure out what I had eaten that was causing this. I was obsessively smelling my pits and paranoid about if other people could smell it too. Jeremy never noticed though or didn’t think it was bad but it freaked my shit out. Too bad it wasn’t a smell I liked, that could save me money in the deodorant arena. Thank goodness for google and other people talking about mapley body odor.