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Monday, January 18, 2016

Grow Your Own Sprouts in a Jar

Jar grown sprouts are so ridiculously inexpensive and easy that once you try it you'll wonder why on earth it ever took you so long to get started.  If you're a sprout fan, like my husband, you know how expensive those little babies are in the grocery store and don't get me started on dubious freshness or all that the packaging...  All you need to get started growing your own is a jar, a mesh jar topper, and some seeds.  You can buy an inexpensive mesh jar lid especially for sprouting or you can DIY your own simple top using a general purpose mesh material secured in place with a canning ring or elastic band. I opted for the sprouting lid, which is convenient, reusable, hygienic, and pays for itself very quickly in the grand scheme of things. When selecting your seeds, pick what you enjoy and explore from there.  Popular options include alfalfa, radish, mustard, mung - all spouts can be eaten raw and the more robust are also good for cooking if you wish. Ensure that your seeds are are suitable for sprouting (buy from a reputable source and check the labels) so that you have clean and chemical/pathogen-free seeds to safely sprout.  

  • Starting with clean equipment, place approximately one or two tablespoons of seed into your jar.  Larger seeds can be pre-washed, but this may not be viable for small seeds, so be sure to rinse well at the start - see below.
  • Secure your lid, add fresh water, and drain. Do this twice.
  • Adding more water and leaving the seeds to soak for a several hours (or overnight).  
  • Drain and double rinse, leaving the jar on an upside-down angle to drain fully - you can buy special racks for this, but your dish rack will work perfectly. A warm but not hot area with indirect light is the best place for keeping your jar while germinating.
  • Repeat your double rinse and drain at minimum twice daily (I like to do this often just to be on the safer side), making sure that they never dry out completely.
  • Once they are big enough, eat and enjoy!  How long this takes will depend on what sort of seed you are sprouting and will take anywhere from a few days to a week.  If you are storing your sprouts for the short term, you can rinse and drain in a colander and allow to dry thoroughly before refrigerating (remove any unspouted seeds in the process).  Like other fresh greens, they like to breathe a little, so a small lettuce container or similar works well. 

My favourite thus far for fresh sandwiches and such are the small and slightly peppery daikon radish sprouts, but we are always trying new things.  Do you have a favourite sprout?  Let me know so we can grow some and taste test them ourselves. Yum!

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