Even the least green fingered among us can produce a crop of tasty superfoods. No need for special equipment – you’ll likely have everything you need bar the seeds already. There’s no need for laborious tending – an occasional rinse at most. No need for outdoor space – a small nook on your kitchen counter will do!
By far the simplest crops to grow at home, fresh sprouts are full of flavour and deliciously crunchy in salads and sandwiches. These unassuming superfoods are nutritionally action packed with plenty of protein, loads of fibre and varying levels of healthy minerals such as iron, magnesium and bone strengthening calcium. Vitamins come as standard… did you know that just one cup of beansprouts can provide over 100% of your recommended daily Vitamin C?
Buy yours ready-sprouted and convenience packaged from a supermarket or health food shop salad counter and you may catch your breath at the price. Yet sprouting superfoods is so extraordinarily easy to do at home and a cheap packet of sprouting seed goes a long, long way.
Read on to find out how…
Sprouting starter kit
- A medium-sized, wide-mouthed jam jar, extremely well-washed
- A large elastic band
- A square of clean cheesecloth, muslin or similar fine mesh strainer
- An airtight storage container
- A piece of kitchen roll
- Your sprouting seeds of choice
Choosing the seeds for your first batch of superfoods
Firstly, and most importantly, search out seeds labelled ‘sprouting seeds’ or ‘for sprouting’. These seeds will have been processed more carefully than standard garden seeds for maximum hygiene. You’re more likely to find these in health food shops and via online ‘sprouting goods’ stores than at garden centres or in seed catalogues.
Secondly, choose a sprouting seed from a veggie whose flavour you enjoy. Don’t buy radish sprouting seeds if radishes aren’t your bag! Generally, you can pick from any plant with edible leaves and stems. Pea sprouts and classic bean sprouts are sweet, easy-eating options for a novice sprouter. Chick pea sprouts and lentil sprouts (pictured) offer a more earthy contrast and can be sprouted from standard packs of dried pulses.
The jam jar sprouting technique
For starters, we’ll make a small batch of sprouts so you can test out the technique. Feel free to double up on the amount of seeds if you come to do this again, though bear in mind that your sprouts will need air and space to stay healthy while they grow so don’t pack the jar too full.
- Add a tablespoon of your chosen seeds to a very clean jar and cover them with a couple of inches of lukewarm water. Don’t put a lid on the jar; instead stretch your fabric or mesh over the mouth, holding this in place with the elastic band to allow airflow. Leave the seeds to soak overnight.
- The next day, remove the fabric and drain off the water using a fine sieve or your mesh fabric, whichever is easiest.
- Rinse the seeds in clean cold water, swishing the water around in the jar. Drain well and replace the fabric. Leave the jar on your counter-top, out of direct sunlight.
- Repeat step three each morning and evening until your sprouts reach the desired size – small and just starting to turn green is ideal. This process may take anywhere from three days to a week, depending on the variety of your sprouting seeds.
- When the sprouts are ready, spread them on a paper towel to let them dry out a little bit, then transfer them to an airtight container in the fridge. Your sprouts are best eaten within a week. Add these superfoods to snacks, salads, stir fries, sandwiches and any dish where you’d use the unsprouted seed.
Happy sprouting, folks!