6 easy steps to sprout heaven

You can make your own sprout maker from a glass jar in just a few minutes.

Find out how to sprout. All you need is an old jam-jar and some seeds (like lentil, pea or chickpea) that you can buy from any supermarket. It’s super easy.

Sprouts grow well all year round – and are the perfect thing for midwinter when few others things can be sown. They also make a great first growing project.

A mix of rose radish, chickpea, pea, mung bean and lentil sprouts
A mix of rose radish, chickpea, pea, mung bean and lentil sprouts

Why sprout?

Sprouts can be grown at any time of year in even the smallest home, and on the smallest budget.  What’s more they’re packed with vitamins and nutrients, good for your health and fighting off those pesky winter colds.

A huge variety of seeds can easily be grown to eat as sprouts including radish, pea, chick pea, mung beans, alfalfa, fenugreek, sunflower, lentil, and broccoli. Each has its own unique flavour.

Add them to sandwiches, salads, soups and stir fries or eat them on their own.  It’s fun to experiment.

Fantastic value

You don’t need to buy the small, pricey packets of sprouting seeds either. Many dried pulses like mung beans, lentils or chick peas from the supermarket or health food shop will sprout just as well at a fraction of the cost. If buying sprouting seeds online, look out for the larger (500g) packs as they are often much better value.

How to make your own sprouter

Sprouters are readily available to buy or its super easy to make your own. In my experience, a DIY jam-jar sprouter is actually easier to use and gives better results than many commercial sprouters. Make your own sprouter in two simple steps:

1. Find a decent sized glass jar, preferably with a lid.

2. Drill small holes in the lid – 3mm is fine  or punch them with a hammer and nail. If you prefer, you can dispense with the lid altogether and simply drain the water off through your fingers.

Drill approx 3mm (1/12th inch) holes in the lid. In this one I also drilled a couple of large holes (5mm) to drain the water faster - hold the larger holes at the top so that the smaller sprouts do not fall out of them.
Drill approx 3mm (1/12th inch) holes in the lid. In this one I also drilled a couple of large holes (5mm) to drain the water faster – hold the larger holes at the top so that the smaller sprouts do not fall out of them.

That’s it. Your sprouter is finished and ready to go. Now here is how to use it…

How to grow sprouts

1. Put some seeds in the bottom of the jar and cover with water to soak for twelve hours. You can add just one type of seed or a mix of varieties, it’s fun to experiment. The seeds will expand a lot as they grow. Half to one inch (1cm – 2cm) of dried seeds will usually fill a jar. It varies between seeds – radish expand more than sunflowers, for example – you’ll quickly learn.

Soaking the seeds for twelve hours helps speed the germination process. The seeds will swell to double their size, too.
Soaking the seeds for twelve hours helps speed the germination process. The seeds will swell to double their size, too.

2. After twelve hours rinse the seeds in water. Ideally the water should be at room temperature – not too cold and not too hot. Then drain the water out of the holes in the lid, leaving the seeds damp but not swimming in water.

Rinse the sprouts in water and drain. Try to avoid rinsing them in very cold water as this can slow the sprouting process.
Rinse the sprouts in water and drain. Try to avoid rinsing them in very cold water as this can slow the sprouting process.

3. Repeat the rinsing process at least once every 12 hours until the sprouts are ready – usually about 2 to 4 days.

After three days, these sprouts are nearly ready to eat. As you can see they're already trying to escape the jar so I probably started with a few too many in the first place.
After three days, these sprouts are nearly ready to eat. As you can see they’re already trying to escape from the jar – so I probably put a few too many seeds in this jar in the first place.

4. Eat the sprouts straight away. Or transfer them to a plastic bag in the fridge where they keep well for several days (my family has happily eaten them at least a week later).

How do you like ’em?

If you grow or buy sprouts, I’ll be fascinated to hear how you like to eat ’em in the comments below – which varieties do you like best and what’s the tastiest ways to eat them?


If you enjoy sprouting, why not try growing peashoots and other microgreens? They are easy to grow, delicious and nutritious. Here’s how to grow peashoots. 

Health warning

In the main, sprouts are a super healthy food, and make an excellent addition to most balanced diets. However, please be aware that, like some other foods (oysters, eggs for example), sprouts can occasionally carry Ecoli and Salmonella food poisoning (inside the seeds). The chances of buying contaminated seed is very low. However small, you should be aware there is a risk, particularly if you do not enjoy strong health.



176 thoughts on “6 easy steps to sprout heaven”

    1. I think most seeds sprout as well in summer, although perhaps things like peas should be kept in a cooler room if possible. Anyone else have thoughts or suggestions to help answer this question?

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    1. Anywhere really – ideally not too hot or cold. I usually keep mine on the window sill – but move them if very hot and sunny. Some people start them in the dark. But for green leaves they need some light

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  4. Is there a trick to knowing when the sprouts are ready to be eaten? Can you eat them too early and would this be a problem? Mine look ready but it’s only day three.

  5. Posting the warning about salmonella and ecoli possibly occurring when sprouting seeds is most commendable.
    Soaking seeds in water with added hydrogen peroxide will eliminate this danger.
    Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most efficient sanitizers.
    Happy sprouting!

    1. Nicholas Wilkinson

      I believe you would be insane to use hydrogen peroxide here, or to recommend this to other people.

      1. For reference, the Division of Agriculture at the University of California also recommend using hydrogen peroxide: http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/datastore/234-412.pdf

        I don’t personally use it, but we all have different levels of risk we are happy with. To the best of my knowledge, with a careful, sensible approach – using good quality seeds, and good basic hygiene – the chance of contamination is low as is the risk to most healthy people (for older people or those with immune issues, the risk is higher). But there remains a small risk for all of us (probably no more than, say, eating contaminated eggs) and, for those that are concerned by this, the paper lined to above from California offers a procedure to grow sprouts in the safest way possible.

  6. Failed miserably with my first 2 tries with broccolli sprouts
    Kept them in the dark as per the instructions I read elsewhere … They started ok but only some sprouted and then after a few days began to decompose
    I was following the rinse instructions but note that there are no specific instructions her to keep in the dark

    1. foodismedicine

      Be sure you’re using non-chlorinated water like spring water. Depending on you source most plants don’t take to treated municipal tap water. you can also try airing out tap water for sprouting and plants for 1-2 days. Extreme temperatures also affect sprouting results.

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  8. Packets of sprouting seeds.(Unwins and Suttons) Information on backs seem to be different to previous comments here and I summarise the instructions.
    Mung: lay on flat tray, exclude light, remove sprouts from the bean, wash, and cook 2 mins
    Alfalfa, red cabbage and fenugreek: germinate on flat, warm,light airy position, harvest with scissors 2cm, eat immediately.
    It seems that cutting is involved so that the seed testa are not eaten.

    With previous germinations I ate the lot.

    1. These are instructions for eating microgreens, not sprouts. Sprouts are the seed and shoot. Microgreens are a little more developed, with stems and the first of leaves (seed leaves). They are cut off of the root system before eating.

  9. Hi, I’ve just bought an organic mix of…
    Sunflower, Mung, Adzuki, Alfalfa, Chickpeas and Beluga lentils.
    Can i soak all or some of these together successfully, if so which and for how long?
    Many thanks from a first timer Paul

  10. My navy beans dont look like they are going to sprout. I soaked them for 6brs and then rinsed them. Ive been watering with cool water (every 3 or 4 hrs)because our house is extremely warm. This is the third day and nothing seems to be appearing😞

  11. Thank you for your helpful and informative article on sprouting! I’ve tried sprouting alfalfa seeds for the first time and they are doing well after day 1. I’ll definitely try other seeds.

  12. Really useful information – followed your method with a sprouting bean mix bought online (thanks for the recommendation) and it worked perfectly.

    My new lunchtime favourite is a granary roll filled with sweet chilli houmous and sprouted beans.

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  14. Sounds crazy I know, but a couple heaping tablespoon full of mixed bean sprouts added to already cooked oatmeal gives it a nutty taste, yum! No sugar of any type added either!

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  18. I love this clear and easy to follow advice. I am losing weight, and asked my vegan daughter for ideas to make salads exciting, she suggested sprouting seeds and it’s brilliant, great fun too. Followed the steps you suggested, and it’s so easy. My first batch was china rose radish, surprisingly yummy, packed a real flavour punch!

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  20. What various (other) local seeds can be sprouted that are beneficial to the heart, blood, vision and skin? Papaya seed, Apple seed, orange seed, etc. I’m new on your blog but interested in following you for I see light in your lead of wellness.

  21. Hi! This is a great post! I’m new to sprouting and I just wanted to ask if the lentils I normally buy at the supermarket, (I’ve been eating the same brand of lentils for a long time in stews and other recipes) are they safe to sprout? I’m a bit scared but I really want to sprout lentils

    1. Yes, they should be safe. Their is a small risk with all sprouts and this is slightly higher with lentils from the supermarket compared to lentils sold specifically for sprouting. But as long as you do not have any health problems, the risks are very small – I certainly know many people who’ve happily sprouted supermarket lentils for years!

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  24. I’ve been using my steamer for sprouting seeds (mung and adzuki) and I love it – but is there any way I can sift out the unsprouted mung beans? They’re like little bullets and I’m scared of breaking my teeth!
    A lot fall through the holes in the bottom of the steamer when I rinse, but there are always some that remain.

    1. Prevent sprouts/seeds from falling thru use a layer of coffee filters. They also help keep the sprouts evenly moist.

    2. You might try floating the mass of sprouts in a large bowl of water, and giving them a swirl to separate them. Usually, most of the hulls will float to the top and can be removed, and the unsprouted seeds will sink to the bottom. You would scoop off the hulls and discard them, and then scoop up the sprouts from the top & center of the water, leaving the unsprouted stuff at the bottom. (This also works for clover, etc.)

    3. I know what you mean. It depends on the beans. Try changing your source. I find that if the beans are super tiny to begin with, there will be hard ones and after a while you will know by looking at them or by judging the first soak time. If after 24 hrs they are not all plump and you wait and wait for the skin to split then you got bad beans. If the source is good you won’t get any hard ones at all. I mainly buy mine in the bulk section at my health food store but you can get good beans anywhere if you know how to judge the dry ones. I am assuming that organic will have a higher nutrient profile and be free of antifungal sprays that are toxic and sometimes used on garden seeds.
      I would also assume that all supermarket beans are non toxic. I know they do grow if the skin is intact. That being said, some types of sprouts can not be eaten raw due to natural anti-nutrients that must be killed with heat. Something to keep in mind . . . |O_o . Lolz
      {I live in Canada, so I can only speak for this region of the world}.

      1. Great info. Tai. I like adzuki beans. I didn’t realize bean sprouts where so nutrious. There are hard to come by here though. Is Canada a place where people use alot green houses? Are you originally from there?

  25. I would be grateful if you could answer my question: my husband is sensitive to gluten (NOT allergic) – would he be able to consume soproute wheat? I hope someone can clearifie this doubt for me . Thank you!

      1. The question wasn’t about whether or not to consume grains. (That’s over on the “Paleo or No” website. I vote “no.”) It was about which grains have gluten, and in what form. Buckwheat, et al., do not contain gluten.

  26. VERY helpful – explained in a simple and adding other possibilities (e.g..mix seeds) and writing as if I was in the room listening to you. Thank YOU! nadia

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  29. this page has resolved so many of my doubts and worries that i am going straight into the kitchen now to start my soakings😊. Thank you everyone, Mark in particular.
    Pinning this

  30. HI , I’m wondering if you can help with our different question .We have a yellow headed amazon parrot that we’ve had for 35 yrs.Guess i have been doing something right ,but ,now i would like to add some more nutrients to his diet besides his fresh fruit ,veggies & nuts,plus seeds. I would like to add different sprouts to his diet ,but,I’m concerned about the mold issue & what sprouts are safe for him. I will go to the sites you suggested also ,but,I just thought there might be someone out there with the same question. Also just one more question ,are grocery store dried beans safe to sprout ? I’m planning to read over this article again form all the helpful sites & hints .Thank You for a great site .

    1. I have a 32 yr old yellow napped Amazon and I am trying to avoid soy and peanuts. I found Tops all in one seed mix which can be fed dry or soaked or sprouted, just ordered it. I have been mixing Tops pellets in with her seeds as I take her off of the seeds she is used to. She is now eating them (after ignoring them for some time.) I have also ground them up in a magic bullet and mixed them in with either steel cut oatmeal or quinoa. These both are pricey products but I don’t use but a teaspoon of the pellets in the seed and same with the ground ones, so they last a long time and she is getting healthier. There is a lot of info in a book by Gudrun Maybaum, “What happened to my peanuts?” Good luck, it is hard to know what is best for these delicate creatures in captivity.

      1. Thanks for the great info. The Congo African Grey with whom I share my life will be happy with the new variety to pick through! 🤗

  31. Please any body can help me my mung bean bean sprout turn brown? Also how to grow mung bean sprout with long and thicker stem root?

    1. Mung sprouts are like wine grapes. They like to “struggle.” To encourage thicker roots, place a weight of some kind on them so they are compressed a bit. If I want thicker sprouts than usually grow in my mason jars, I soak the seeds and then grow them in a tray sprouter. I punched holes in a piece of food grade plastic (cut from a package) that fits just inside the tray. Then I put a shot glass on top of the plastic sheet to weigh it down a little bit. Works great. As for color, you can keep the sprouts white by growing them in a dark place. (Make sure you keep rinsing them regularly, though!)

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  34. Hi, I have been sprouting chick peas on and of for years. Recently a friend told me one should always cook sprouted chickpeas before eating them – steam, boil or add them to soup, for example.
    The reason she gave is that they contain some chemical when raw that is harmful to humans.
    Can anyone please advise me on this; there is contradictory information on the net and I would like to find an authoritative site or person who can clear this up for me.

    I don’t really want to cook my chickpea sprouts except maybe in stir fries.

    I have also just introduced someone else to sprouting chickpeas and as she has a shop and may consider at some stage selling them, it is an even more urgent concern for me now.

    Many thanks for any advice or references.

    1. Hi Baszia. The reaction of digestive system to sprouted chickpeas is individual. In general sprouted chickpeas are considered safe to eat raw. However, because the chickpeas is a bigger seed their “anti-nutrients” are neutralised during sprouting process slower than in small seeds. Therefore, we sprout and sell smaller, not over-cultivated type of chickpeas, that is more digestible comparing to regular white chickpeas. You can find our Green and Red Chickpeas at http://www.claylike.co.uk http://claylike.co.uk/?p=496 or in our Clay Like shop.

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  38. Just found this site I have sprouted on and off for years I bought an electric freslife sprouter which worked well for a year and then stopped. My son kindly. bought me another one but it also packed up after a year (like it was programmed to do so.) Has anyone had a similar experience??

    1. Don’t give up! You can break old habits! I was introduced to sprouting by a caring friend who was more worried about my health than I was (she also got me into Kombucha!!!). Because she cared enough to buy me two starter kits so I can always have sprouts on hand (from http://www.sproutpeople.org), I felt bad at first if I didn’t have a crop or two on the go at all times. But now, I am crazy about seed sprouts (the raw bean sprouts are too hard for me to eat, so I add them to the rice or quinoa which I cook in my rice cooker and they are perfect that way) and my tiny indoor garden of sprouts is now my obsession. I start very small, there is no electricity involved. Once in a while I don’t have any on the go, but I make a point of spending time with them every few days, and perhaps you can do the same. If it out on the counter, where you can see it, you will use it. Do not pack your sprouting system away. Also, go to sproutpeople and see what new sprouts you can grow, as perhaps you just get bored with the same flavours?

      This tiny gesture, this act of kindness which my friend showed to me, is not tiny to me, it is huge, and it has let to oil pulling (something I had never heard of before she was here sharing her health tips along with the sprouters she bought me) as well as kombucha. I had not heard of that either but now I want to do a fast as it is really amazing how it makes you feel.

      By keeping my sprouters in plain sight every day, I remember all the things she cared enough to show me and do for me. You might want to try that, too. Keep that sprouting system visible and change up what you sprout!

      Good luck!!!

      1. I keep it simple. I sprout in a tray that has some holes in it, line it with some paper towel, put the tray in a rubbish bag. 2 day wash them to get rid of the external shell. Put a little uniform weight on them. 3/4 day just keep them hydrated. 5 day ready to eat. To avoid the risks of E.Coli or Salmonella I just blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute. I am a doctor. They will still be packed in nutrients. then you may enjoy them in salads, stir-fries, soup or just snacking on them with some sriracha and soy sauce on top….

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  42. I read your sprouting lessons and it’s very interesting. am from Nigeria. please can soyabeans be sprouted and healthy is its consumption?
    Thank you so very much.

    1. I understand soy beans can indeed be sprouted, Mary but its not one I’ve tried myself yet. If you google ‘how to sprout soy beans’ you’ll find lots of tips on how to do it. Good luck.

    1. Tom, don’t be afraid! Start off with purchasing your seeds from a reputable, tried and tested and safe outlet for sprouts with clear instructions and guidelines, like sproutpeople.org. A dear friend got me started as she was concerned for my health more than I was. She got me a starter kit and got me going! I did not know you could sprout raw almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc. as well as things like beans and pea. I even sprouted quinoa!! Going with a trusted source of seeds should make you feel more comfortable and trust me, it is life-changing! The nuts are insanely delicious as are many of their other mixed packages of seeds! NO I do not work for the, but I trust them!!! Everything you ever wanted to know about sprouting is available on that site!!!! Good luck!!

  43. here is a healthy way to eat sprouts as a snack no cooking just raw
    you have your new sprouts all fresh(any sprouts) put them in a bowl add lemon juice sprinkle black salt (rock salt) add dash of chillie pwd add roasted cumin and coriander pwd add crushed peanuts(opt) chat pwd (indian flovours) mix well and munch the crunchy sprouts good health to you.

    1. Happy to find this site. Very happy to see recipes and flavor enhancements. I tried sprouting when living in Florida, but it was a mess. Didn’t work. Now that I live in Mississippi, it seems the conditions are just right. So far, I’ve successfully sprouted alphalfa, clover, and lentils. Alphalfa and Clover are well greened in 4 days—-it’s almost as if I can see them growing after the full second day! The lentils take about 6 days. I rinse my sprouts a little more often than described here, but I imagine location dictates everything. Thanks Again…..this is a great site.

      1. I used to sprout seeds in the tropics (ie even more hot and humid than Florida) and if I recall correctly, I needed to rinse the beans/seeds at least twice a day, drain really well, and leave the pierced lid / screen off. It’s humid enough, even an open tray might be moist enough in the rainy season. Definitely no direct sun.

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  49. You can elevate the taste of sprout salad by adding finely chopped onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and a dash of salt to it. Squeeze a little lemon over the salad and toss. Viola! Amazing lunch ready! You can also eat it as a snack or a side to a meal.

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  52. Love the blog and sprouting is really easy fun inexpensive and super nutritious… so many plusses here its amazing more people dont know about it. So far our favorite is hands down gotta be the green lentil. Its cheap, grows everytime, and we love them cooked or raw. We eat sprouts in a stirfry or in salads mostly. Havent tried them in any other methods as this is really what we usually eat. Ready to try mung beans next. Our chick peas havent worked yet, as the area of the kitchen where I have sprouted seems to be too sunny for them, and it just ferments the beans. The adzukis are amazing, and the peas were okay too. We tried navy beans with a disatrous result. Adding vinegar or lemon juice or salt has not seemed to benefit ours at all. One note for the person who asked about the draining. I have learned through my studies of hydroponics that when the plant is removed from the water source is when they grow. So the Drainage stage is CRUCIAL to the development of the sprouts. Thanks so much for the great info. Pinning!!! 😉

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  54. Thank your for sharing 🙂 Quick Question. I’ve been sprouting lentil, chichpeas, etc… Basically larger beans with a lot of success. However, when I try smaller beans/seeds, like alfalfa, I’m not so lucky. I’m using the jar method with a screen on the top. The jars are rinsed twice a day. With the smaller seeds, I have a hard time draining the water – The mesh seems to be too small and the jelly gook won’t let the water drain. I’ve tried a larger mesh and the seed get stuck on the mesh or go wash out of the jar. Has anyone tired sprouting seeds successfully with the jar method? What type of screen did you use?

    1. Hi there, I don’t bother with a screen, I just use my fingers (held over the end of the jar, letting the water slip through). Occasionally the odd small seed slips through (particularly before they have sprouted much) but other than that it works very well and saves time putting the screen on etc. Mark

      1. Try to use cheese cloth placed over the top of a jar and a rubber band, that way you can rince the seeds. Hope this helps.

    2. Hi Khaus. Why won’t you try to make your own sprouter from a 1/2 litre plastic container. Just pierce few holes with a needle on the bottom of the container (smaller than smallest soaked seeds) and keep the lid as well so you will be able to squeeze the water out while rinsing. Detailed step by step here http://goo.gl/Q93nGl or here https://www.pinterest.com/pin/550635491910133788/
      Then you won’t lose any seeds and holes on the bottom will clean themselves with water and air passing through. Good luck.

    3. I make myself into a human salad spinner by using the tried and true method of swinging the container around with a knee-high pantyhose! I make sure the end of the container with the drain holes in it are at the bottom, and away I go! The cats know to run when I start to swing and the centrifugal force does all the work. My sprouts are never in danger of being too moist.

      1. I got started with http://www.sproutpeople.org who are the most helpful people, after a friend purchased the basic sprouting kit for me because she was worried about my health! It was the kindest gesture and I feel better having the proper guidance to make sure I don’t waste any seeds or accidentally poison myself. I was going to sprout tomato seeds until I checked their website and found out tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, which = poison! Better to start with the facts so you don’t waste time, efforts or seeds!

    4. I’ve been sprouting alfalfa and mung beans since the ’70s, and have always used a piece of old pantyhose(I know, I know). But, the seeds can be drained easily, put back into the pantry or dark shelf to sprout. Happy sprouting!

    5. I’ve been sprouting for years. Alfalfa and clover are not gelatinous, i.e. don’t get goopy when they’re soaked. Make sure you’re not also including watercress, chia, flax, or arugula seeds in the mix, which will release the “jelly” that blocks the mesh screen. Gelatinous seeds can be very tricky to sprout. Usually they’re grown on soil or a growing mat as microgreens. If they are sprouted, they have to be less than 10% of a mix of seeds to keep from gumming things up.

  55. Thank you Mark for putting this information nicely together!
    It is not clear to me that the sprouts has to stand without water? Do you only use water for rinsing?
    Is it kept in the fridge while sprouting?
    thank you!

    1. From what I know of biology, leaving the sprouts in standing water creates a better environment for mold growth. If you see a fuzzy, gelatinous growth around young sprouts, that’s a type of water mold that specifically thrives on seeds and wet conditions.

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  57. Hi Mark: Great site – I’m new here and to sprouting : ) Have a rather strange question – can you sprout Banana and/or Acorn Squash seeds ?? that come inside each ??? Sorry, I looked at all the comments and your replies and no one asked this question. Also, is there a greater risk in buying and sprouting from just regular old fashioned seeds from the grocery store ?? like mung beans, peas, lentils, etc. in a package rather than “organic” only ??? just wondering ????
    Thank you in advance for your reply – I will check back often.
    Sandra in AZ : )

  58. Dear Mark,
    I would like to know why is it necessary to drain out the excess water if you wish to sprout any of the pulses. I guess the pulses will not sprout. But my question is why?

  59. I made a sprouter from a jam jar, however the pinned metal top started rusting 🙁 Has anyone this experience? or advice on how to avoid?


  60. Carrot I eat carrot from seedlings? Been told I need vitamin A and wondered if I could get it better from sprouting and eating carrot seedlings?

    1. Hi, very interesting question. I’m not sure. You can definitely grow and eat carrot shoots – carrots sown thickly in a tray and then harvested for the leaves when an inch or two high – good added to salads. This would be a quick and easy way to get the leaves. Carrot sprouts? I’m not sure. I can’t see why not but I’ve never seen them or heard of anyone doing them so I can’t really advise. If you find the answer, I’d be very interested to hear what you learn.

      1. The problem with carrots from seeds is they take so long to germinate, you can trick the seeds by putting them in the freezer for a couple of hours then take them out to imitate the start of spring. Also the outside of the seed is super hard so you can lightly use some sand paper on them, but don’t go crazy. Not sure about sprouting them but I do this when I’m planting.

  61. I’ve sprouted for a decade or more in 70’s & ’80’s. Would like to have a go at it again. Loved article/blog and would like to Subscibe please.

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  63. How do I grow sprouts in a tray?..ie…I bought broccoli and mung seeds, can you explain how to use the trays and tray liners?

    1. Hi Brenda, somewhere that is comfortable for people will usually also be comfortable for sprouts. Ideally out of the drafts and not too cold or hot. A window sill is OK – as long as it doesn’t get too much direct sunlight (they’ll dry out if there is too much).

  64. Hi Mark, I’m just about to start my first sprouting session and read through your blog and saw that someone recommended adding vinegar to the water to prevent salmonella, do you recommend this? as I couldn’t find your reply and are the beans/seeds etc from the link you added better than that found in health stores?

    1. Hi Hollie, the risk that any seeds are carrying salmonella or e-coli is very small. I know people who eat sprouts sprouted from beans in health food stores nearly every day of their lives without ever having any issues. That said, seeds sold specifically for sprouting, particularly from a reputable trader like Sky Sprouts, will be the lowest risk. Sky Sprouts supply sprouts all over the UK, and, to my knowledge, there has never been a problem with any of their seeds. (I’m sorry, I don’t know if the vinegar helps.)

  65. Just tipped my fenugreek sprouts down the sink- lid came off silly me.all sprouts,especially mung beans,are wonderful for stir fries.just a little bit more protein,tofu or quorn and you have a really quick tasty veggie snack.chicken fish etc also work well.

  66. I sprout alfalfa seeds and my favorite way to eat them is on an avocado sandwich. I use a large mason jar and substituted stainless steel window screen for the solid lid and just screw the top down and it holds the window screen in place

  67. Thanks, some great tips here. My staple is brown lentils and puy lentils. Apart from being tasty, they are very easy and quick to sprout, whereas I’ve had mixed results with alfalfa and others.

  68. Thanks Mark,
    I’ve done some tests in the meantime. I use a three-layer container with ventilation holes (sold in health food shops, at least in Belgium, where I am). I found that if I move the sprouts away from any corners or edges and make sure they have access to air, the mould seems to not appear anymore.
    Thanks again for your wonderful tips!

    1. Hi well done for solving that puzzle, Natalie! You’re welcome for the tips – great to hear they’re working for you. Happy sprouting! Mark

  69. Hi Mark,
    I hope you don’t mind me coming back with another question. In having a close look whilst sprouting begun, I found a small portion (just on a few shoots) of white, hairy looking stuff which I assume might be some kind of mould. This happened on the mixed seeds, but not on the lentils and other beans. I removed it and it doesn’t seem to affect the rest. Have you ever had this problem and do you know how to avoid it?

    1. Hi Natalia
      It sounds like it might be mould. I’ve occasionally found that on mine. If it’s just a little I don’t personally worry about it – having said that, I’m not a health expert so I’m not in a position to offer reliable advice to you on the subject. I do, however, find that mould appears less if I rinse the sprouts more often, sometimes three times a day. So that maybe something you’d like to try.

    1. Frank, you can either use dried pulses from health food shops – like mung beans, chick peas, whole lentils or peas – as these will usually sprout OK. This is usually by far the lowest cost way. Or you can buy seeds sold for sprouting, available online in many places. Buying in bulk is usually much better value than buying small packets. Quality can vary so shop around. I use http://www.skysprouts.co.uk/ – I’ve been delighted with the quality and taste of their seed sprouts, and they are great value, too.

  70. Hi. Thanks for these tips. I was just wondering how you know when they are really ready to eat? I’ve been trying to find this info on the net but cannot find anything specific. Is there any sign to look out for like the splitting of the bean, leaves on seedy sprouts or something like that? I’m on day three of my first sprouting ever (lentils on one level and a mix of alfalfa, roquette, radish, etc on the other) and I have no idea when I should consider that they are ready to eat.
    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    1. That’s a very good question and you’re right, no one ever really explains that. It varies a bit between seeds but usually there is a window of a few days in which you can eat them. Most sprouts take 3 – 5 days, although it can be a bit longer in cold weather. I’m not really sure how exactly to explain it! But my guess is that – if your seeds have grown small roots and shoots – you can eat them now. What I’d recommend is eating a few now and leaving some for tomorrow and the next day so you can see how they develop. Eat a few on each day and discover what stage you like best! Once the sprouts have developed a proper pair of leaves they are full grown and at this point its usually best to transfer them to a plastic bag and keep them in the fridge. They’ll stay fresh and tasty for a few days in there. Oh dear, I’m not sure if that helps?

      1. Thanks for this very clear reply, which is indeed very helpful. With your explanations and your photos, I now have more of an idea of what to do. I tried them today and indeed had the intention to try some today, some tomorrow and some the next day… but I got so carried away that I have almost eaten them all! some had the little roots and shoots and some didn’t. I definitely have to be more patient with my next batch, which is already on it’s way. I can tell I’m going to get addicted to this new form of gardening and eating! Thank you again for your precious advice.

  71. I’m new to sprouting so this may be a dumb question. After they sprout, do you cut the sprout off the seed or eat the entire thing?


    1. Hi Duane, thanks for asking that – no such thing as a dumb question here… When sprouting you can eat the whole plant, roots and shoots.

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    1. The cream cheese and cracker idea sounds tasty, I look forward to trying – sprouts are a bit addictive aren’t they? Thanks, too, for sharing the link to your site, it’s looking good, lots of useful stuff on it. Cheers, Mark

    1. A little cayenne pepper in the soaking water keeps the mold and bacteria away
      Cayenne is also good on the soil when growing wheat grass
      A little MSM powder in the soaking water grows into the sprout plant and makes the best organic sulfur you can get.

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