How To Sprout Seeds: Storing Seeds To Sprout Means Fresh Food Is Only Days Away!

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How To Grow Sprouts

Sprouting seeds is one of the easiest and best things you can do for your health. Seeds that sprout are also some of the best food items to store for preparedness.

Before I decided to follow a plant based diet sprouting seeds were a mystery to me. The only thing I knew about sprouts was from news reports about some unsuspecting customer at a local restaurant that would occasionally get sick from eating them.

Turns out that sprouts are one of mother nature’s super foods. They are rich in nutrients, they have a ton more enzymes than most other raw food, they are high in protein, they help with weight loss, they are a good source of energy, and the list goes on; click here to read more about the health benefits of sprouts. There is a slight risk to eating them, even if you sprout them yourself, but it is really no more risky than eating hamburger or driving a car.

From a preparedness standpoint sprouting seeds are a perfect prep: they are compact, they are fast growing, they can easily be germinated indoors , and all you need to activate germination is water. They are also less of a security risk than other food preps, because let’s face it, most thieves that would run across seeds wouldn’t know what to do with them.  I even keep some in my bug-out bag.

Let me show you step-by-step how to sprout seeds safely and easily. (Note: this is a great project to do with kids, for all the reasons I mentioned above and because it’s just fun to watch the seeds sprout)

How To Sprout Seeds:

How To Grow Sprouts

All seeds are suppose to sprout, after all that is what seeds do. However, if you are thinking about storing seeds I recommend purchasing them from a company that sells seeds specifically for sprouting. This way you can be sure to get seeds that have a high germination rate and also insure that the seeds have not been sprayed with chemicals that would prevent them from sprouting. I found these seeds from The Sprout House on Amazon; they sell individual seeds and blends. To show you the sprouting process I choose Dill Salad Mix, Wisdom Blend, Sol’s Bean Salad and then good old alfalfa seeds.

How To Grow Sprouts

One of the most common ways to sprout seeds is in a Mason jar with a special lid like the ones above. The different size holes are for different sized seeds and also for different phases of the sprouting process. The lids with larger holes allows the hulls to be washed away when rinsing the sprouts. The hulls don’t bother me so I leave them in but this might be a useful tool when introducing kids to sprouts. You can get a plastic top here, set of plastic tops with different sized holes here and the mesh top that just fits under a regular canning ring here.

How To Grow Sprouts

Another way to sprout seeds is in a sprouter like this one from Victoro.  This 4 tray sprouter will allow you to sprout different kinds of seeds together, and the trays are self-draining.

I’m going to show you both methods, sprouting in jars and with the sprouter.

First let me tell you a little more about the sprouter because it is a little different than the jars.

How To Grow Sprouts

Here you can see the inside.

How To Grow Sprouts

It might be a little hard to see from this picture but each arrow points to a hole; that’s where the water drains down to the next layer. Hang on and I’ll explain more about the water drainage in a moment.

How To Grow Sprouts

First, let me show you how to place the seeds in a jar. If you choose to use a jar go ahead and place two tablespoons of seeds into the jar.

How To Grow Sprouts

To load the sprouter place two tablespoons on each tray.

How To Grow Sprouts

For this post I’m only going to use two trays.

How To Grow Sprouts

If you start your seeds in jars go ahead and soak your seeds for 8 hours or overnight. Fill the jar about halfway with water to soak. I love the mesh top because the water goes right in.

How To Grow Sprouts

I used the smallest plastic top and as you can see the water is having a harder time getting in. I wound up taking the top off each time I rinsed the sprouts. However, if I had used the yellow top pictured above I don’t think I would have had that problem. The good thing is that it will keep in small seeds.

How To Grow Sprouts

I can’t soak the seeds in the sprouter like the seeds in the jars because remember those holes I showed you with the black arrows? That’s where the water flows down. So I just filled up the sprouter and let the water flow down without soaking.

How To Grow Sprouts

I’ve had this sprouter for a few years and have never really had a problem with it. However, from time to time I get in a hurry and don’t replace the top tray correctly and the water leaks out, usually all over the counter. So, now I place the entire sprouter in a bowl.

How To Grow Sprouts

This is what I started with, two jars and two trays.

How To Grow Sprouts

After 8 hours drain the water.

How To Grow Sprouts

Fill the jar up with water.

How To Grow Sprouts

Rinse the seeds.

How To Grow Sprouts

But this time drain the water out,  so that the seeds are wet but not in standing water.

How To Grow Sprouts

After rinsing and draining place the jars upside down in a bowl or on a drying rack. The remaining water will drain out.

How To Grow Sprouts

Here is what the second tray looked like after the first water drainage cycle in the sprouter.

How To Grow Sprouts

The water from the sprouter flows down from the first tray through the second tray to a collection tray on the bottom. Here is the water from the that first water drainage. As the seeds begin to sprout the water does not look this yucky.

How To Grow Sprouts

Pour the water out.

How To Grow Sprouts

Then fill the sprouter up again.

Until the seeds sprout and are ready to eat, every twelve hours or so (first thing when you get up and last thing after dinner) rinse and drain the seeds if you have them in jars or empty the sprouter and refill it if you have a sprouter.

How To Grow Sprouts

This is Sol’s Bean Salad Mix from seed to sprouts.

How To Grow Sprouts

Since Sol’s Bean Salad Mix was in the jar with the metal mesh top I wanted to show you how the top will look after a few days. When this first happened I thought it was rust, it’s not, it’s just gunk from the seeds. You can wash it off.

How To Grow Sprouts

This is Wisdom Blend from seeds to sprouts.

How To Grow Sprouts

Alfalfa from seeds to sprouts.

How To Grow Sprouts

And Dill Salad Mix. Yeah, I got into them before I finished taking pictures – you caught me…..:) That’s why it looks like some are missing in the last picture.

Be sure to refrigerate your sprouts after they have reached the desired growth. Always rinse sprouts before you eat them – I use a vinegar rinse on mine. They will store in the refrigerator for about a week. You can continue to rinse them even after you’ve placed them in the refrigerator, however, let them drain thoroughly before placing them back into the fridge. If they have become slimy in the refrigerator discard them

How To Grow Sprouts

The whole process takes about 5 days. Of course, you can eat the seeds any time after they begin to sprout (as soon as they get those little tails) so that could be as soon as 3 days. It just depends on how you want to eat them. The sprouts large enough to have leaves go well in salads and on sandwiches. The 3 day old sprouts can go into soups or stews.  Although, I’ve been known to throw the longer sprouted seeds into soups and stews as well; wait until just before serving, because the sprouts will retain their crunch in the hot dish. Here are a few more ideas for eating sprouts.

Like everything in food storage I recommend storing what you eat and eating what you store. This is a super easy skill to learn and get into the habit of doing, even if your food storage only consists of sprouting seeds and a few containers of grains. As long as you sprout your seeds you will be able to retain a fairly healthy diet no matter what the circumstances.

  • Mike says:

    I want to try this just have something grown fresh in the winter. With all the snow we are going a little bit stir crazy and some micro gardening will do us good. Great article, thanks! -Mike

  • Cary says:

    An excellent source of sprout seeds and supplies is Sprout People at sproutpeople.org. Wonderful old-time business, good prices, terrific quality!

  • Fran says:

    WOW!!! Fantastic 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks Jennifer. I have to admit that I was A Bit Worried about Growing My Own Sprouts. Because of the HORROR Stories you hear from e-coli to mold. But, The Pics on Your Site has made a Believer Out of Me. And I Just Placed an Order. As Usual Your Newsletter Helped me a 100+++% with Daily Life as well as Prepping.

  • Deb says:

    I started growing sprouts last year…they are amazing and taste incredibly fresh! You can’t go wrong; suggestion – a salad spinner makes rinsing very easy.

  • Donna says:

    Your instructions are great, clear, and easy to follow. Great job, thank you!

  • Karyn says:

    Very informative and basic. I used to grow sprouts until they molded and I didn’t know what I did wrong – will begin again. This site does not say to keep the sprouts in a dark place or to place them in the sun for a few hours when ready for consuming; it doesn’t look like the ‘dark place to sprout’ is necessary (probably why mine molded). Thank you!

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      Hi Karyn,
      You can put them in a dark place to sprout if you like. However, I just placed mine in a strainer next to my kitchen sink. I think well drained trumps placing them in a dark place……:)

  • Su says:

    Thanks so much, this is great! Beautiful pictures!

  • Michelle says:

    How long do the seeds last and how do you store them?

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      I store them at room temperature. They are seeds so as time goes by they will be less viable. They should be fine at room temperature for at least a year. If you want to keep them longer then you can store them in the refrigerator or cool place (basement, root cellar).

  • Susan says:

    I have just found 8 packets of assorted seeds unopened dated 2013, can l use them or throw away and start again.

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      Hi Susan,

      You can try to sprout them. Some might sprout and some may not, it just depends on how they were stored. If they are only 3 years old, I would try to sprout them and see what happens……:)

  • Johnnie Green says:

    Hi Jennifer my name is Johnnie. I am just starting my new addition to my life sprouting. I have sprouting seeds and would like to know how and where to store them until use. Thank you Johnnie…..

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      Hi Johnnie,

      You can store them in a cool dry place. Make sure your container is NOT airtight. Seeds are living and need airflow even though they might be dormant.

  • Michelle says:

    Can I feed sprouts to my chickens?

  • Sherry says:

    You can also use plastic canvas for the lids. You can get it in a couple of different sized grids. You can make 12 grids for a couple of dollars.

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      Hi Sherry, I have heard of people doing this but I am very cautious about plastics that not food grade.

  • Maura says:

    Thank you! I’m going to try this soon! But I have chlorinated filtered water in my home. Is that good, or should I use bottled or sterile water? Thanks again! ❤️

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      Hi Maura,

      It really depends on “how bad” your water is. I use tap water to soak and rinse and I’ve never had a problem.

  • Janis says:

    What room temperature are you sprouting in? Ever use warming mats to get to an ideal(?) temperature? What temperature of water (filtered from fridge can be chilly) are you using? No sites seem to include that info in instructions.

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      Hi Janis,
      I’m in Texas so I don’t need a warming mat or warm water. However, if you live in a very cold climate you might need them. You’ll just need to test sprouting in your environment.

  • David W. Atherton says:

    That is pretty cool! Thanks for sharing.

    #ItsASelfReliantThing
    #FillMyJarAug18

  • Kim says:

    A vegan friend told me that every vegan cookbook should begin with “move to America” as many items (and cooking methods) are not conductive to the rest of the world. I have discovered that sprouting in India results in moldy sprouts. I’m going to wait for the hot, dry season to try again.

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