Monday, October 24, 2016

Sprouting basics for fall & winter health!

Thanks to everyone who dropped by our Little City Farm booth at the Kitchener Public Library's 2nd annual DIY Festival.  We were there to share basic homesteading skills, and we decided to talk about how to grow sprouts at home.  Here are a few basic tips and suggestions for successful sprouting, perfect to get started now that the weather is turning colder and we are no longer eating fresh greens (other than kale and chard) from our local gardens!

The Basic Steps of Sprouting

  1. Rinsing – water is key – use lots, rinse 2-3 times per day, keep sprouts in cool location.
  2. Draining – it is essential that sprouts are well-drained after rinsing!
  3. Air Circulation – keep sprouts in well-vented area with good air circulation, not in a closed cabinet.
  4. Cleanliness – start with clean seed, sterilized containers, and wash well between uses.
  5. Storage – store completed sprouts in fridge – some sprouts can keep up to 6 weeks if stored properly.

Hints and suggestions for sprout success

  • Alfalfa and other small seeds can be grown up to 4 cm long. A 25 g bag of alfalfa seed can grow 45 cups of sprouts!
  • Lentils & peas are best small, with sprouts up to 1 cm long. They get tougher with more growth.
  • Miss a rinsing? Just continue normally if sprouts seem alive and show no signs of mold. They should be fine.
  • Mold – if you see a spot of mold, remove it with a good margin of healthy sprouts. Don’t mistake the fuzzy white root hairs of radish, canola, mustards, and other crucifers for mold.
  • Taste – be sure to taste sprouts as you go along; use them when you like them.
  • Greening – to green up sprouts (chlorophyll), leave them without a cover for a few hours in bright light (not direct sunlight).
  • Temperature – sprouts grow best between 18C-25C (65F-75F). Use lukewarm water for soaking and rinsing in a cooler temperature, and cold water in a warmer room temperature.
  • Drainage – drain the sprouts well before they go in the fridge. Rinse in the morning, cover, and refrigerate in the afternoon.
  • Mung beans – grow best in a drainable tray or basket. They like extra rinsing, and are best grown in complete darkness to prevent bitterness.

Benefits of Growing Sprouts at Home

the fastest, easiest, most affordable way
to grow your own food!

  • very affordable food source 
  • accessible food source (grow right in your kitchen)  
  • allows you to eat extremely local all year round 
  • sprouts are nutrient-dense food, high in vitamins and minerals
  • enjoy unique flavours & textures 
  • sprouted food is easier on the digestive system 
  • sprouts are living foods full of health and vitality for us
  • sprouting makes nutrients more available to our bodies 
  • easy to grow (takes only a few minutes per day) 
  • sprout growing takes up little space (a kitchen counter or top of fridge) 
  • organic and non-GMO food source
  • gardening satisfaction for you (even in winter)
What can you sprout?
Microgreens (e.g. arugula, brassicas, chard, radish)Micro-herbs (e.g. basil, dill, cilantro, chives)
Leafy greens & shoots (e.g. peas, sunflower, buckwheat, wheatgrass) True sprouts (e.g. alfalfa, red clover, radish, mustards, brassicas)
Legumes & pulses (e.g. peas, chickpeas, lentils, mung, adzuki) Grains (e.g. rye, wheat berries, spelt)
Nuts & seeds (e.g. sunflower, almond, sesame) and more!

Simple Mason Jar Sprout Method

  1. Soak seeds in cool filtered water.  Use aprox. 2 Tbsp seeds per 500 ml jar.
  1. Cover with mesh lid and let soaking seeds sit at room temperature for 4-12 hours (depending on 
    size of seeds).
  1. Drain & rinse in the jar until water runs clear.
  1. Prop jar on angle to drain completely.

  2. Repeat 2 times per day. Sprouts are ready to eat in about
    4-8 days, depending on size of seed. Store in fridge for about one week (drain completely before storing).

Information, seeds & sprouting equipment

Mumms Sprouting Seeds (Saskatchewan) –
Sproutman Publications –
Toronto Sprouts –

International Sprout Growers Association –

The Sprout People –

Ann Wigmore Institute –

Sprout Master (Ontario) –

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