Sprouts are great for adding a bit of flavor and crunch to a salad or sandwich, and they can really boost the nutritional value of your meal. For example, 1 cup of bean sprouts provides more than the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, and many nutritionists consider broccoli sprouts to be a cancer-fighting superfood. In addition, sprouts are a simple crop to grow, only requiring about 4 inches of countertop space. If you're looking to grow sprouts in a jar, here are some general steps to follow.
Equipment / Tools
- Fine mesh strainer (or cheesecloth)
- Sprouting seeds of your choosing
- Wide-mouth jar (canning jars are ideal)
- Bowl with lid or food storage bag
- Paper towel
Place Seeds in Jar and Cover
Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of seeds in your wide-mouth jar, and cover them with approximately 2 inches of warm water. Let this sit overnight.
Drain the water using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
Rinse the seeds by adding water to the jar, swishing the seeds around, and draining.
Repeat the rinsing and draining process twice a day every day until your sprouts are the desired size. This will take anywhere from three to seven days, depending on the variety of sprouts you're growing. Sprouts are best when they're still fairly small and just starting to turn green.
Store your sprouts in a covered bowl or food storage bag with a paper towel inside to absorb excess moisture. Use the sprouts within a week.
Seeds and Varieties
It's important to look for seeds specifically labeled as "sprouting seeds" or "for sprouting." These seeds have been cleaned well and should be pathogen-free. Sometimes you can find packets of sprouting seeds in garden centers. But if not, check your favorite seed catalog.
As far as varieties go, there are several types of vegetables you can eat as sprouts. Many people are familiar with alfalfa sprouts and bean sprouts. But you can also consider radish sprouts, beet sprouts, and pea sprouts. In general, any plant from which you would eat the stems and leaves is a good option for sprouting. Plants from which you only eat the fruits (such as tomatoes and peppers) typically don't work.
Tips for Growing Sprouts
While growing sprouts in a jar is a very easy method, there are also other specialized gadgets you can buy for your sprouting operation. They include multi-tiered sprouters, jar lids with different sizes of strainers for easy rinsing and draining, and even sprouters that automate the rinsing process for you. Whichever method you choose, growing sprouts and adding them to your diet is a simple and effective way to get a little more nutrition.