How To Start Sprouting
Before I jump into sprouting I wanted to see if anyone has suggestions/tips from their sprouting experiences that might make things easier for a newbie!
Right now I just want to sprout a few things - like alfalfa and mung bean sprouts. I've done some Googling and reading, and it seems like there are a few starter kits out there which might be good. They include things like jars, with the drainer lids, some seeds to get you started, instructions, etc. However, it seems with the jar method you need to be able to constantly be draining them. I don't have much space. And living in a household with other people I can't monopolize the drying rack in the kitchen with them either. So I'm not sure exactly how/where I'd set them up to drain.
Would bag sprouting be a better option then? Do the bags self drain easily? What other tools are handy to have for the sprouting/draining methods?
Any tips appreciated!! :)
I start an alfalfa / red clover combo every 3-4 days and I use 1 and 2 quart glass canning jars. You can buy the sprouting lids, I got mine at our health food store, or you can make your own with a canning ring and plastic mesh canvas available at the craft store. You can use both size 7 and 10 for this purpose.
I sprout buckwheat in bags - but lentils and mung beans I use the jar method. We live in the desert and my sprouts dry out when I sprout in bags.
You can leave your jar to drain in a bowl - you don't have to use the dish drainer.
I have never once had moldy or otherwise spoiled sprouts using the jar method. It's cheap and easy.
Here's a good tutorial video by Sprout People on sprouting beans in a glass jar. I use the same method for my alfalfa/clover combo. Draining WELL. My alfalfa combo takes about 5 days.
Then I dehull, put into a clean jar, cap it off and refrigerate. *Ü*
Thank you Deb! The jar/mesh lid info was especially helpful. I'm pretty sure I can locate both those things easily! I may need to pick up some spare bowls though . . . does it matter how tilted the jar is sitting in the bowl, or is any angle, so it drains, good enough?
Also, do you buy seeds online only, or are they something a store with things like veggie seeds would have? Before I go running off to the seed store I'm just curious.
You're sure welcome Gossy! I didn't know how much detail to go into - I'm happy to help out with any questions and 'go into detail' - ha!
Below is a picture of the sprouting lids I use. The tri-colored lids are what I bought at the health food store (hfs) for around $4. They're all different sized openings. The large red one would be one you'd use for say mung beans.
The 7 and 10 size on the canvas is 7 squares (holes) per inch and 10 per inch. So - depending on the side of the seed, you'd use the larger or smaller mesh. For example with alfalfa and clover, since they're teeny - you'd use the 10 as the holes in it are smaller.
When I've used a bowl to drain the jar, I make sure it's at at least a 45° angle - that way you still get air circulation through the lid. Any higher of an angle and the sprouts tend to clump up at the mouth of the jar and not allowing air flow.
I'm able to buy organic red clover and some other organic sprout seeds at our HFS. I do order some from Azure Standard as well.
Hope this helps! *Ü*
Awesome Deb, thank you so much! I know I can easily get my hands on some large canning jars, and I'm pretty sure I can find the mesh in different sizes to make lids. It's kind of funny, but after you wrote this to me I was looking up online places to buy mass quantities of seeds, and found a raw food site who then advocated bag sprouting instead of jars! Now I feel more confused lol. They seemed to insist that jars have "stale" air, are more work for sprouting, the jars can't expand/contract so they may take up to much space and have too little sprouting area, they are more of a hassle for draining and could create mold easier. Of course they were attempting to hock their own sprouting bag as part of this, so it isn't surprising. I'm just curious, since you seemed to be advocating jars (which I'm honestly leaning towards due to ease of access for one), my biggest concern is mold. You mentioned not ever once having moldy sprouts in the jars - do you do anything special to help prevent this or will following the methods from the link you provided be sufficient?
I think I'm going to get some alfalfa and mung bean seeds to begin with, and get a few jars/mesh strainer lid things. None of these things are very expensive so even if I ruin a batch I won't be too upset.
Also, are there any other sprouts you recommend? I'm looking for some that maybe are a bit zippier/tastier for using as the bedding for salads, instead of greens. I have some broccoli sprouts and something else that I bought from a local grower, they labeled it as a "zesty" mix, and though I highly enjoy it, I don't find it that zesty! :) Any recommendations are appreciated.
You're so welcome!
Yes, it sounds like they're trying to see their sprouting bags. Not that there's anything wrong with sprouting bags! But I definitely find them more troublesome when I use them as far as, "where do I put THIS?" while it's sprouting.
For example - when I sprout buckwheat in the bags (which I always do, I sprout it for a granola recipe I make). I sprout 3 bags full at a time. I literally hang the bags on a clothes hanger with spring clothes pins! Then I have to hang the hanger (with the 3 bags clothes pinned to it) from a plant hanger and then place a big tray underneath it to catch all the drips. Now picture that one!
If I was sprouting just one bag full, I suppose I could place it in a colander on a plate or something similar - but I sprout a lot at a time.
Mold - - That is correct, I've never once gotten any mold on my sprouts in a jar. I think the key, like they talk about in the Sprout People video for little seeds, is to get off as much water as you can. And I do! I do not want my seeds/sprouts sitting in any water. I shake that jar well, getting out as much water as I possibly can.
I picked up a wooden folding dish drainer and that's what I set my sprouting jars in - but I realize you said you don't have room for that. That's why I suggested a jar. Although I heard of a sprouting station sitting up on top of the refrigerator - so maybe that's an option for you? Mine is just sitting counter top.
Okay - I found some pictures that might help explain...
When I sprout alfalfa - I put 1 tablespoon dry seed in a 1 quart jar. The large 2 quart jars hold 2 tablespoons seed.
My hfs carries a 'spicy sandwich blend' and I believe it has alfalfa, red cover, broccoli and radish.
You might like to go to sproutpeople.com and see what they offer! Their selection can't be beat!
Zippy to me is broccoli and radish - wow. I've tried and tried. I love them as plants but not as sprouts, they're pretty intense! It sounds like you'll probably love them though. Sprout seeds are really cheap (again, considering it only takes 1 T. per quart of sprouts) - so don't be afraid to experiment. Like you said, you'd only be out pennies.
Don't be shy about asking more questions, I'm happy to help if I can! Enjoy the pics below ~ ~
Thanks so much again Deb for all the help and advice. I truly am in love with sprouts. I can't stop eating them. I used to think I hated sprouts - but I've come to realize a lot of the veggies I thought I hated were because they weren't fresh and/or were cooked, and tasted awful. I've been eating fresh organic local grown sprouts for a week or so now and realized I just love 'em! So I'm totally get some supplies from Sproutpeople to get myself started. Their site has everything! I probably could run around digging up things for the jars, but I'm going to be lazy and just order some jars and lids from them. Help support other sprout lovers!
And the idea about putting them on top of the fridge is genius. I currently have nothing at all up there, they'll be out of the way so no one can complain, but I can fairly easily access them and check on them as needed, etc. I may even pick up a drain rack and bin to put it in, so I can put the jars on that and they'll have excellent draining! Is it okay to put the jars straight up and down for draining or should I look for/rig up something angled?
Thank you again - bunches! You're the best!
Hi Rebecca ~ I'm no sprouting expert and others may have different ideas on angled or straight -- but I learned to keep the jar angled and this is for air circulation.
When the jar's angled, air can get in through the holes in the lid. When it's straight up and down, that would impede air circulation as the sprouts would be covering the lid 100%.
But - do you mean sitting straight up with the lid on top? He showed being able to sprout beans that way on the Sprout People video, but I've never tried it for beans or smaller sprouts. You can always give it a try and see. My concern especially for small seeds is that they would then be sitting in a small pool of water. It's almost impossible to get out every drop of water - I'd think this might cause mold. I don't know as I've never tried it.
Congratulations on ordering neat stuff from Sprout People!! Yes, that's the way to go. Post back and let us know what you ordered and how it's all working out for you, okay? *Ü*
Do you have Alissa's book and DVD? The book has all the information you'll need to sprout.....sprouting charts etc. Her DVD show how simply it is to sprout and she doesn't use anything fancy....just some bowells and then covers them with a paper towell. Her DVD and book really are great tools and cover all the in's and out's the raw food.
LIVE SIMPLY that others might SIMPLY LIVE........Mahatma Gandhi
I agree with every method mentioned. I reuse jars that I had purchased sauerkraut in year ago and for the mesh lid I use a plastic type window screen that you can purchase from any building supply place and a tight rubber band, the kind that is used on broccoli in the grocery store. I have plastic Tupperware containers that I drain mine into that works well for me.
Good luck with your sprouting.
Take care, Paul Le May
I use the easy sprout containers ... they work well. Check out sproutpeople.com. They have tons of wonderful seed, and many sprouting containers. plus they have detailed instructions on how to sprout every kind of seed.
they also have a yahoo group where folks talk about their sprouting experiences. lots of great info and advice there as well.
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Energy Healing Practitioner
Organizer - Raw Vegan Community Meetup Group (St. Louis)
ok I've been reading the posts on sprouting here. I'm new to the sprouting--so far I've only sprouting some seeds I got from the health food store. It looked like Srpout people video he used some sort of beans. I am in the process of buying Alissa's dvd and book and understand that she has some sprouting infor in there. What kind of stuff do I sprout and where do I get it??
I like sprouting just alfalfa or an even mixture (50-50) of alfalfa and red clover. These are the same size seeds - easy to sprout and both are available our my local health food store.
These are mild tasting sprouts and sprout in about 5+ days depending on your conditions. *Ü*
I have been using the Sprout Garden on the wheatgrasskits.com. Its a 3 tray stackable system that won't take up much counter space and is so easy to use. Each tray has tiny drain holes so even alfalfa seeds won't go thru.
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