So you’ve decided to grow sprouts at home. Sprouting is extremely fun and incredibly rewarding. Sprouting seeds using a jar is one of the easiest methods. You can germinate almost any seed in a jar, including vegetable and salad seeds, herbs, nuts, grains, pseudo-grains and legumes. You can even use your sprouting jar to germinate seeds for your garden. On a cost to nutrient basis, sprouts are the cheapest, most nutrient-dense vegetable. And they can be produced with minimal effort in the comfort of your own home!
By simply soaking and rinsing your seeds, you can dramatically increase their nutrient density and diversity 1. Sprouting turns seeds into functional foods with antioxidant, antidiabetic and anticancer potential 2.
Just in case you’re wondering, a sprout definition is…
What you’ll Need to Grow Sprouts:
- A wide-mouth glass mason jar (0.5 or 1 litre)
- Rustproof sprouting lid or thin fabric/cheesecloth with a rubber band
- A sprouting stand, bowl, or baking dish to hold the jar upside down at an angle
- Living raw seeds
- OR consider using our sprouter with ceramic stand. This sprouting kit has everything you need to get started except the seeds. And most importantly you won’t have to deal with the common problems associated with other sprouting methods.
Guide: How to Grow Sprouts in a Jar
Place 2-3 tablespoons of seeds into a jar. Cover the seeds with filtered water and screw on the sprouting lid. Alternatively, you can tie a thin piece of fabric or cheesecloth onto the jar and secure it with a rubber band. Let the seeds soak for 4-12 hours or overnight. See our seed-specific soaking times for details.
Sterilise the seeds (Optional)
Fill the jar to 90% full with water, add apple cider vinegar until completely full. Add a drop of liquid dish soap (unscented). Add your seeds, mix and let sit for 10 minutes. Put on the lid and rinse with fresh water multiple times (at least five) to remove all soap.
- Drain and rinse
Drain the water from the sprouting jar by holding it upside down over a sink. Rinse the seeds well with water. By all means, use tap water if you must, but always do a final rinse with filtered water. Make sure to drain the water thoroughly.
- Leave the seeds to sprout for 8-12 hours
To begin sprouting your seeds, you simply need to invert the jar at an angle to allow drainage. Similar to the way we position our jar, our purpose-built ceramic sprouting stand. Otherwise, you can use a bowl or baking dish with the base of the jar supported on the dish edge and the mesh angled down. Make sure not to obstruct the sprouting lid.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 until sprouts are ready to harvest
Most sprouts will be ready in 2-4 days after the initial soak once the roots have appeared. Once roots are present you may sample sprouts at each stage.
- Remove sprout hulls (optional but recommended)
See instructions below
Removing Seed Coats and Storage
Once ready, sprouts can be consumed straight out of the jar. However, we recommend removing the leftover seed coats or hulls before eating. Seed coats are the primary source of anti-nutrients – chemicals that make up a seeds defences 4. And by removing the seed coats, we can increase their storage life since they decompose while the sprout lives on. In addition, hulled sprouts are easier to digest, have more accessible nutrients and taste much better! Luckily it’s easy to remove sprout hulls from small seeds because they float. Here’s a quick and easy guide on how to hull small seed sprouts:
- Empty the sprouts into a bowl over a sink.
- Add three times as much water as there are sprouts to the bowl.
- Use your hand to stir the sprouts while gently pulling apart any clumps. This will help release more hulls.
- Once separated, use a spoon or the tips of your fingers to collect and skim off the floating hulls.
- Carefully decant the bowl into a sieve making sure to discard the last portion of water as it will contain dead seeds and more hulls. Lastly, strain very thoroughly and enjoy!
- Storage: Place your sprouts into a clean sprouting jar and screw on an airtight lid. Store hulled sprouts in the refrigerator for 2-3 days if still wet and up to a week if dry. Alternatively, freeze in airtight containers.
Seed Soaking and Harvest Times
The soaking period is crucial for growing sprouts. As a matter of fact, much trial and error went into finding the ideal soak times. So you can simply see our conclusions below, set a timer and get started. You should always use room temperature filtered water to soak your seeds. Find our tried and tested soak times in the tables below.
|Alfalfa||6-8 hours||3-4 days|
|Broccoli||6-8 hours||3-4 days|
|Cabbage||4-6 hours||3-4 days|
|Dill||6-8 hours||3-4 days|
|Kohlrabi||6-8 hours||3-4 days|
|Mustard||4-6 hours||3-4 days|
|Clover||6-8 hours||3-4 days|
|Amaranth||20-30 mins||1-3 days|
|Buckwheat||20-30 mins||1-3 days|
|Millet||6-8 hours||2-3 days|
|Oats||30-60 mins||2-4 days|
|Rice (all except wild)||2-3 days||–|
|Rye||6-8 hours||3-4 days|
|Quinoa||20-30 mins||2-3 days|
|Wild Rice||4 hours||2-3 days|
|Wheat (all varieties)||6-8 hours||2-3 days|
|Adzuki Beans||6-8 hours||3-4 days|
|Chickpea||6-8 hours||2-4 days|
|Lentils (all varieties)||5-7 hours||1-3 days|
|Mung Beans||6-8 hours||2-3 days|
|Peas (all varieties)||6-8 hours||3-4 days|
|Peanuts||5 hours||1-3 days|
|Hemp seeds||4-6 hours||2-5 days|
|Pumpkin seeds||1 hour||1-3 days|
|Sesame seeds||2-4 hours||1-3 days|
|Sunflower seeds||30 minutes – 1 hour||1-3 days|
If the soak time is six hours or more then you can soak over night.
The time to harvest your jar depends on your intentions for the finished sprout. As a general rule, eating sprouts raw requires 3-5 days of sprouting (or until they form tiny roots or small shoots). However, if you intend to cook them, grains, legumes, and seeds can be grown for as little as one day.
When growing sprouts in a jar, using a purpose-built sprouter will drastically reduce the risk of running into problems. Many of which crop up when using alternative or DIY sprouting methods. Using our sprouting kit, learning how to grow sprouts can be made even more accessible. To help you out, here’s a list of common problems that can arise when growing sprouts in a jar:
|Stunted Growth||Bacterial Overgrowth: Most likely due to certain types of anaerobic bacteria. These create waste products unfavourable for growth. As a result, the seeds will germinate slowly – often accompanied by a slightly sweet and sour smell, usually due to unclean vessels, narrow inappropriate jars, or crevices near the draining lid. If you suspect this is the case, do not continue to sprout. Instead, rethink and thoroughly sterilise your sprouting equipment. Try using olive or coconut oil coat on the metal sprouting lid between the mesh and the ring.|
Insufficient Moisture: Sprouts love humidity. They grow faster and taste better when the moisture level is just right. That is to say; water is critical for proper germination. So make sure you rinse your sprouts at least twice a day. Rinse more often in hotter environments.
Tap Water: We don’t recommend using tap water for growing your sprouts. It contains various chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride that accumulate in the shoots. Some of these chemicals will affect growth, not to mention the adverse effects on your body and microbiota. So please use filtered water only.
|Yellow/Pale Green Sprouts||Insufficient Sunlight: Seeds prefer the dark when germinating because this mimics being in soil. If the sprouts haven’t received enough sunlight when the first leaves appear they will be yellow/pale green. These are perfectly normal and good to consume. However, if you want more chlorophyll in your sprouts, put your sprouting jar in a sunny position!|
|Odours & Slimy Sprouts||Restricted Airflow: Promotes growth of anaerobic bacteria see bacterial overgrowth above.|
Poor Drainage: If the drainage angle is not steep enough, too much water might get trapped inside the jar. Stagnant water is a breeding pool for bacteria and yeasts. These will reproduce quickly and contaminate your sprouts, resulting in smelly and slimy sprouts. Always make sure the jar is at an excellent angle to drain with a clear sprouting lid.
Seeping Drainage Water: When the sprouting jar hasn’t been elevated high enough, the drainage water can seep back into it. Drain water is full of anti-nutrients, germination byproducts, and bacteria. And if this seeps back into the jar it will contaminate your entire batch. To prevent this, elevate the sprouting jar above the drain water.
Maintaining your Sprouting Device
Once you know how to grow sprouts in a jar its time to learn how to keep your sprouter in tip-top condition. The first step to ensure many successful harvests is to clean them well between uses. Each piece has its cleaning preference. For example, the mason jar will do well in the dishwasher which is the easiest way to sterilise it. Other options include a thorough hand wash with soap and hot water or sterilising in a pressure cooker. On the other hand, the metal lid and ceramic stand are best hand-washed.
Once clean, we recommend a light olive or coconut oil coating between the steel mesh disc and the screw-on lid. This coating helps prevent any rust and bacterial growth when growing your sprouts.
In summary, to grow sprouts, you will need a wide mouth sprouting jar, a rustproof sprouting lid, and a stand to hold your chosen vessel. Then it is a case of selecting and soaking your seeds for a suitable duration. Next, rinse and drain them at least every 8-12 hours until ready. Lastly, you can remove the hulls to improve your sprout’s shelf-life and nutrition. Common problems such as seeds not sprouting, going off or turning yellow can be solved using proper sprouting equipment and following our guide. Now you know all you need to grow sprouts in a jar. Welcome to the beautiful world of sprouting.
- Vidal-Valverde, Concepción & Frias, Juana & Sierra, Isabel & Blázquez, Inmaculada & Lambein, Fernand & Kuo, Yu-Haey. (2002). New functional legume foods by germination: Effect on the nutritive value of beans, lentils and peas. European Food Research and Technology. 215. 472-477. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00217-002-0602-2
- Gan, Ren-You & Lui, Wing-Yee & Wu, Kao & Chan, Chak Lun & Dai, Shu-Hong & Sui, Zhongquan & Corke, Harold. (2016). Bioactive Compounds and Bioactivities of Germinated Edible Seeds and Sprouts: An Updated Review. Trends in Food Science & Technology. 59. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2016.11.010
- Benincasa, P., Falcinelli, B., Lutts, S., Stagnari, F., & Galieni, A. (2019). Sprouted Grains: A Comprehensive Review. Nutrients, 11(2), 421. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020421
- Ahmadzadeh Ghavidel, Reihaneh & Prakash, Jamuna. (2007). The impact of germination and dehulling on nutrients antinutrients in vitro iron and calcium bioavailability and in vitro starch and protein digestibility of some legume seed. LWT – Food Science and Technology. 40. 1292-1299. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lwt.2006.08.002