The Beginner’s Guide to Sprouting

The Beginner’s Guide to Sprouting

What is sprouting?

Sprouting is the process of seed germination, which is a series of biochemical processes that transform a seed into a new organism. Most whole, organic seeds, legumes, grains, and nuts can be sprouted. Experimenting with different seeds is a really fun way to learn what you like sprouting and which sprouts you like eating. Learn how to sprout your own seeds and unlock their full nutritional potential!

Why should I sprout?

During germination, complex molecules within the seed are broken down into their simpler constituents.[1] Sprouting makes seeds easier for us to digest and their nutrients more readily available to us.[1][2][3][4][5] Furthermore, when you grow your own sprouts at home, you know that they’re fresh and sanitary.

Is It Safe to Eat Sprouts?

You may have seen some headlines about sprouts carrying foodborne illnesses. The bacteria that cause these illnesses comes from unsanitary seeds or unsanitary conditions within the growing and packing facilities. As long as you buy good quality seeds and maintain your sprouts well, you shouldn’t have this problem. You should always discard any sprouts that are limp, slimy, or discolored.

One more word of caution: You should avoid raw kidney beans, because they contain a natural toxin that will make you sick.

How Do I Sprout?

First, you need a sprouting container. I use a quart size sprouting jar, but you can use any jar with a breathable cloth and rubber band to cover the opening.

Jar Full of Sprouts
Sprouting lentils
  • Pour a small amount of seeds into the bottom of the jar. For my quart size jar, I usually use about 1/2 cup of seeds. It doesn’t seem like much, but trust me, that will produce enough sprouts to fill the entire jar.
  • Next, rinse the seeds several times by swirling them in cold water and allowing the water to drain through the lid.
  • After the seeds have been rinsed, fill the jar with cold water and leave the seeds to soak overnight.
  • Once the seeds have soaked for 8-12 hours, drain the water and rinse the seeds.
  • Continue rinsing the seeds several times a day as they grow. Growing time varies with different seeds. How long they grow is up to you. Soaking the seeds overnight begins the germination process. You can eat them immediately after soaking, or allow the sprouts to grow for several days. The nutrients will only continue to increase as the sprouts grow.[6]

After sprouting for your desired length of time, the seeds can be enjoyed fresh or dehydrated and stored for later use. Fresh sprouts can be refrigerated for up to one week. You can create healthy sprouted flours by blending dehydrated sprouts in a high speed food processor or blender.


  1. Chavan, J. K.; Kadam, S. S.; Beuchat, Larry R. (1989). Nutritional improvement of cereals by sprouting. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.
  2. Dikshit, M.; Ghadle, M. Effect of sprouting on nutrients, antinutrients and in vitro digestibility of the MACS-13 soybean variety. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. (2003). doi:10.1023/B:QUAL.0000040357.70606.4c.
  3. Peer, DJ; Leeson, S. (1985). Nutrient content of hydroponically sprouted barley. Animal Feed Science and Technology. doi:10.1016/0377-8401(85)90022-7.
  4. Cuddeford, D. (1989). Hydroponic grass. In Practice.
  5. MacLeod, Anna M.; White, H. B. (1962). LIPID METABOLISM IN GERMINATING BARLEY. II. BARLEY LIPASE. Journal of the Institute of Brewing.
  6. Martínez-Villaluenga, C., Kuo, YH., Lambein, F. et al. European Food Research and Technology. 224, 177-186. doi:10.1007/s00217-006-0300-6.

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