Sprouting 101

Homemade Sprouting Jars {tutorial}

Sprouting always brings back memories of my childhood when my mother sprouted her own seeds and legumes and made homemade yogurt.  It felt to be a cross between a frugal-DIY effort and a vestige of a more hippie-laden time.  Regardless of motivation, it was standard practice in my household.  Fast forward to now when home crafting of food has taken the place of the chic that purchasing everything held a mere decade ago.  Now if you are cool, you brew you own craft beer, make your own wine, can the vegetables you’ve grown in your own community garden plot and cook from scratch whenever possible.
Sprouts and micro greens are commonplace in most markets, with the most exotic varieties such as sunflower sprouts no longer raising an eyebrow from discerning shoppers.  I love a good sprout addition to a sandwich or salad, savoring the crunchy texture, the playful visual addition, and the nutrition packed source available on-the-cheap when spouting at home.
It is so simple it seems a shame to pass up spreading the word. Much more fun visually than my mother’s sprouting jars, these are fashioned from quart size Mason jars and colorful, plastic needlework canvas from the craft store.  They are quick and easy to make, fun to use and happy to have around your kitchen.
Why sprout?  There are many varieties of seeds and legumes which can be sprouted offering a plethora of options for any dishes.  Sprouts contain a significant amount of nutrition in their tiny form offering the opportunity to boost a meal with their simple addition.
What to sprout?  When choosing seeds to sprout purchase seeds designated for sprouting versus for planting to ensure they are edible.  I also have sprouted actual sunflower hulls which are crunchy and delicious.  Most grocery stores have a selection of sprouting seeds near the produce department.
How to sprout?  All seeds have different sprouting time frames that range from 2 days to a full week.  In a test sprouting I did for this post the mung beans began to sprout in about 2 days and had filled the Mason jar within 4 days.  The other sprouts ranged to be close to that or a few days longer.
Making Sprouting Jars {a project from DIY Mason Jars}
  • Quart-size Mason Jars
  • Sharpie or another marker
  • Plastic needlework canvas
  • Scissors
  • Dried seeds or beans used for sprouting
SUPPLIES to make Homemade Sprouting Jars and for sprouting.
Plastic needlework canvas used to create a screened airflow for sprouting jars may be purchased at hobby and craft stores. These colorful sheets cost $0.59 each providing a sprouting jar can be created for less than $2.00/jar. The canvas comes in many colors and sizes as noted by the variations on the left.
STEP 1: Trace the lid of the jar onto the plastic canvas. Consider using varied canvas sized to allow sprouting of even very small seeds. Cheesecloth also may be substituted when sprouting very small seeds.
STEP 2: Cut out traced canvas circles(s). Insert them into the Mason jar lid ring (do not insert the metal inner circle into the lid ring; only the canvas circle). Screw lid onto quart Mason jar.
Completed sprouting jars.
How to Sprout!
Once you have created your sprouting jars, place 2 tablespoons to the ½ cup of sprouting seeds in a given jar depending on how large a crop you wish to have.  I used ½ cup of mung beans which created a quart of sprouts; maybe a bit much for a starter batch.  You can experiment with the amounts until you decide what works for you.
{Tutorial} Sprouting 101 | BoulderLocavore.com
Many different seeds and legumes may be used for sprouting though ensure they are sold for sprouting and contain no pathogens. Mung beans (left), beet seeds middle.
Seal the jar with the screen lid.   Fill the jar with water to cover the seeds plus an inch.  Allow them to sit in a cool spot, out of direct sunlight overnight.  Drain the water through the screen top.   Place the jar on its side again in a cool spot out of direct sunlight.
Rinse the seeds twice daily by filling the jar to cover the seeds, swish the water around to rinse all the sprouts; drain through the screen top and replace on its side until the sprouts have grown to the size desired.
Once the sprouts are finished, remove them from the jar, place in a plastic bag or sealed container in the refrigerator to use.  Sprouts should stay fresh for up to a week.
Disclaimer: (Sprouting Seeds)  Following the publishing of this post it has been brought to the author’s attention there are concerns regarding  unsanitized sprouting seeds creating the exposure for E Coli and Salmonella when sprouting.  Before sprouting your own seeds, please research to make your own decision on pre-sanitizing seeds before sprouting and proceed at your own risk.  The author cannot be held responsible for any adverse reaction to home sprouted seeds.
Sprouting 101{tutorial} | BoulderLocavore.com
After 4 days: Mung bean sprouts (left), sunflower seed sprouts (middle), radish sprouts (right).