Growing jar sprouts is not hard. It’s something I’ve been doing for well over 20 years! Yet, if certain steps are not followed, you will not have a successful harvest and your sprouts may spoil along the way. That’s a waste of your time and hard-earned money. So, follow the simple steps discussed in the video below and read through the tips for successful sprouting following the video. Enjoy!
I hope this helps!
Tips for Growing Jar Sprouts
* Although any type of glass jar will work when growing sprouts, a quart-size wide-mouth mason jar is easiest when rinsing, draining and removing grown sprouts, so start with this type if you have one. Be sure your jars are well washed. Some people prefer to sanitize them in boiling water first.
* Whatever lid you use, be sure it will allow for air flow because your seeds and growing sprouts need air. If you don’t have a sprouting lid, use cheesecloth or a piece of clean nylon screen secured around the rim of the jar with a rubber band. Also, a piece of needlepoint mesh can be cut to fit inside a metal mason jar rim and used in place of a purchased sprouting lid.
* Use seeds only intended for sprouting. Although any seeds can be sprouted, seeds intended for soil planting are often treated with chemicals. This makes them undesirable for eating. Seeds designated for sprouting are not treated and are thereby safe to eat.
* Seeds will last the longest with the best germination rate when kept in a cold environment. Store seeds in your freezer for the longest life.
* When sprouting small seeds such as broccoli or alfalfa seeds, use 1 to 2 tablespoons of seeds. More will overcrowd the jar, not allowing them to grow to their fullest potential.
* When sprouting large seeds, such as lentils or mung beans, you could grow ¼ cup to ½ cup of seeds at a time in a quart-size mason jar.
* Rinse seeds well at the start of the sprouting process to remove any dust, debris and/or pathogens. Then cover them with cool filtered water and allow them to soak in a cool location according to the directions on the seed package (different types of seeds need different soaking times).
* Rinse and drain your growing sprouts twice a day with cool water at roughly 12-hour intervals. (Some growers prefer to rinse/drain sprouts 3 or 4 times per day. See the recommendations that came with your seeds.) Seeds may grow better being rinsed 3 or 4 times a day when in a warmer climate, especially in the early stages of growth.
* Prop your sprouting jar at a 45-degree angle to allow water to completely drain out before laying the jar on its side. Laying it on its side allows air to flow in and out of the holes in the lid while also exposing your sprouts to as much light as possible.
* For optimal growth, after your seeds/sprouts are rinsed and drained, place the jar in a sunny or well-lit location that is cool, not warm.
* Sometimes during the growing process you may notice white fuzzy areas in your sprouts. It looks like mold, but more likely is simply root hairs reaching out for water. If this happens, your sprouts are thirsty. If you rinse and drain them, the fuzzy root hairs should disappear.
* Different types of seeds may take different timeframes to grow, usually ranging from 2 days to about a week. See your seed package to know about how long you should allow your seeds to sprout.
* If your sprouts develop a foul odor or peculiar, wilted appearance, do not eat them. They need to be discarded and the jar and lid should be sanitized before starting over.
* Don’t water your grown sprouts right before storing them in the refrigerator. The excess water may cause them to spoil. Although it is not mandatory, some people prefer to remove ungerminated seeds before storing the sprouts. To do this, place all the jar contents (your grown sprouts) in a large bowl of water. Swish them around and the ungerminated seeds will float to the top. Scoop them off and discard them. Drain the sprouts very well to be sure there is no excess water left in them, as it will cause them to spoil. Store them in the refrigerator in a container with a lid. Line the container first with a cloth or paper towel to soak up any extra water. To help avoid the possibility of excess water in your storage container, you could simply rinse sprouts in a bowl of water, removing the ungerminated seeds, as you need them for your salads or snacks.
* Put a paper towel or napkin in the bottom of your storage container for your finished sprouts. That will soak up any extra water yet help to maintain a humid environment, which will keep the sprouts from drying out. Store them in a container with a lid, in the refrigerator. They should be used within a few days.
* If you want to remove unsprouted seeds from your finished sprouts, here’s a way to do it…
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.
Thank you very much for this info, Judi! It is so helpful! I was really confused from other sites about whether hulls and ungerminated seeds were edible, or how to remove them. I was also very worried about all the warnings about foodborne illness. So thank you!
I do not have air conditioning, so broccoli may not work for me this summer. Do you sprout any other kind of seeds that you could suggest, that are not cool weather plants? Thank you!!
Hi Michelle! Thank you for checking out the site, commenting, and asking your question! I’m glad the site and video were helpful to you. Regarding having no air conditioning…Whether or not sprouting may work for you in the summer may depend on where you live and just how hot your house gets. I agree that broccoli may not work well for you in the hotter months. At least that’s what I can report from my own personal experience (it tended to spoil at temps over 75F). I grow a variety of sprouts, and literally just grab what seeds I can (out of the freezer) at the moment when starting a new jar. I sprout alfalfa, Chinese cabbage, red clover, broccoli, kale, radish, and assorted mixtures of seeds (that I purchased as blends). Most leafy greens are cool weather plants. However, you may do OK with anything other than broccoli and kale. It will be a matter of trial to learn if they will grow for you in the heat (since I don’t know exactly how hot your house gets, it’s hard for me to give an exact answer). So, let me encourage you to give it a try and see! Giving them some good air circulation (like a ceiling fan) may help some.
Regarding the foodborne illness… It’s my understanding that such contamination is due to what some sprouts are exposed to in commercial settings. The seeds MUST be designated as for sprouting. Sometimes in commercial settings, seeds (and sprouts) can get contaminated from tainted irrigation water, animal manure, or unsanitary practices by workers. Under normal circumstances, seeds designated as for sprouting should be tested for contaminates (by the producers) and should be free of them. As as long as you use only sprouting seeds (for sprouting) and practice good sanitation at home, you should be fine. Literally, I have NEVER encountered a health issue from sprouts that I have grown. Never! I’ve been doing this for a VERY long time, and I always eat them raw/uncooked. I understand and support the recommendations from health agencies regarding store-bought sprouts. However, you’re FAR less likely to get sick from sprouts that you’ve grown yourself as long as you are smart about what you do. Sprouts/baby plants do not inherently contain e-Coli bacteria. If they contain the bacteria, they came into contact with it in some way. But the bacteria did not come from the seed itself, unless the seed was contaminated from an outside source. When in doubt, throw them out. If you doubt or question if sprouts are spoiled, don’t run them by your taste buds to check them out. Use your nose…if they smell sour, then don’t eat them! Toss ’em.
I’ll be happy to help you along the way, if needed. Feel free to contact me any time. If I can help you, I will. If I can’t, I’ll let you know. It’s my goal to help others any way I can, and I’m very sincere about that!
Best wishes to you and yours, and happy sprouting!
I’ve been sprouting for a month and my broccoli sprouts end up smelling musty like a damp dish rag after 3 or 4 days. I’ve changed seed products once and I still got the same result. I was leaving the sprouts at a 45 degree angle to drain and now today I’m trying to lay the jars on their sides horizontally after draining. I rinse at 6am and 6pm.
Jar lids I’m using:
I did a couple of 32 ounce jars filled with lentil sprouts and they smelled perfect.
Your video on youtube inspired me to begin sprouting. I don’t want to give up but I don’t know what to do.
Thanks for the communication! I’ll try to help. Sounds like you are rinsing the sprouts in good timing. Leaving them at a 45 degree angle to drain is good, then laying them on their side in a sunny location is good. The jar lid you showed looks fine. One thing you didn’t mention that is important with all sprouts, but especially cool weather plants, such as broccoli is the temperature of the environment they are in. If it’s too warm, the broccoli sprouts will spoil, like you described (smelling like a musty, dirty damp dish rag. And the timing is right, about after 3 or 4 days). I found that my house gets too warm during the summer months to sprout…they spoil every time. However, in the winter months when my thermostat is set at 69 degrees (Fahrenheit), they do very well and I have no issue with spoilage. So, I can’t say for sure, but maybe they are too warm. If that’s the case, it may be helpful to wait until the weather cools down some so the jar is in a cooler environment.
Just so you know, you are not alone in this type of situation. I have experienced it myself. I’ve also heard from others with the same problem. Seems like the environmental temperature is a problem for a number of people. So, try to put them in a cooler place, or simply wait until the cooler weather hits where you are. Hopefully that will help.
Take care and let me know if that works for you. If not, we’ll dig further!
Thank you for the detailed reply. My house is currently 82 degrees in Silverdale, Washington state. I appreciate you telling me that I’m not alone in my situation. That makes me feel much better. October gets chilly here so I’ll attempt sprouting again at that time. Thank you so much! I was saying to myself “I know I’m doing everything just like Judi so whats happening”! I watched your sprouting video literally at least 10 times. LOL.
I’ve been a sailor for 20 years in the Navy on Submarines and I retire at the end of October this year. Thank you for posting videos because this information will assist me in finally taking care of myself after being out to sea for so long. What you do is important and extremely appreciated by myself and your viewers.
Keep up the excellent work!
Oh Bradley, you have really touched my heart! Thank you so much for your kind words! It’s my goal at this stage and age simply to help others in whatever way I can. Your message makes is ALL worthwhile! Bless you for your kindness.
Regarding the sprouts…yes, 82 degrees is way too warm for broccoli sprouts. With that, I’m certain the issue was temperature, and not technique, nor seeds. Just wait until the weather cools down and the house gets cooler, closer to 70 degrees, and you should be able to sprout your seeds with no issue. I’m not absolutely certain about a maximum temperature for broccoli sprouts, but off hand, I’d be sure the house stays below 75F, with the cooler the better.
Best wishes to you in your retirement! Maybe sprouting will be a newfound hobby!
Judy, I enjoyed the video about growing broccoli sprouts. I had already purchased seeds for regular organic broccoli plants instead of sprout seeds. Can I use them to grow sprouts since they are organic? Thanks , Stephani
Thanks for watching the video and contacting me! Since the seeds are organic, it seems like they should be OK for sprouting. HOWEVER, I would check with the company who processed the seeds just to be sure. Take care! Judi
Fabulous information. Thank you for sharing.
You’re welcome, Margaret! Thanks for commenting 🙂
After dehulling my sprouts I put them in my salad spinner. Nice and dry.
Awesome! Thanks for sharing!!
Judy some sites suggest dehulling the broccoli sprouts but I notice you didn’t mention anything about that. Do you have any thoughts on this?
ps I am very new to all of this
Removing the seed hulls is really an option, not mandatory. I simply don’t bother unless I’m serving sprouts to guests. Then I’ll do it as a courtesy to them. Otherwise, we (my husband and I) see no issue with eating them. Thanks for asking! Happy sprouting 🙂
Hi Judy, I’m interested in your indoor garden and your hydroponic system. Please share your system and process.
Thank you Anne
Thank you for your interest in my indoor garden and hydroponic setup. I have a number of videos uploaded that are on that topic! Please visit my playlist page and click on the “Hydroponics” playlist. At the moment, there are 13 videos in that playlist, but more are coming. Let me know if you don’t find what you’re looking for. The link to the playlist page is … https://www.youtube.com/user/JudiInTheKitchen/playlists
Where can on get broccoli, watercress,
Hi Vea! Thanks for tuning in! I usually buy sprouting seeds online from any vendor that sells organic seeds designated for sprouting. I have no personal ties with any one company. Here are some that I know of that sell organic seeds:
I hoped this helps! Take care, Judi 🙂
I would love to grow broccoli sprouts, however, I am nervous about pathogens that could calls illness.
Any further suggestions for a newby?
Thanks for reading and asking your question. I realize there is a lot of info and warning on the internet from the “powers that be” about eating raw sprouts. Their cautions may be warranted when purchasing store-bought sprouts, as they may be older than those grown at home, and we also don’t know the conditions they went through before arriving on the store shelf. However, I can honestly say that I’ve grown my own sprouts for MANY years (guessing up to 30 years?) and have never gotten sick, NOT ONCE, from my own sprouts. Now with that being said, IF the sprouts do spoil for whatever reason in the process of being grown, or even when being stored, it’s very obvious and they should be thrown out. Only someone with no common sense at all would eat them. Example: When growing the sprouts, if too much water is left in the jar (if they weren’t drained enough), or if they were in too warm of a temperature, they might spoil. In that case, they will dwindle in size…they will tend to shrink some and look a bit wilted over what they were looking like. Also, they may develop an odor. In either case, it’s best just to throw them out and start over. This may happen from time to time, especially during the summer months when the house is warmer than usual. They’re not worth getting sick over. It’s very rare for me to need to toss the sprouts, but I have done it when needed.
If you’re concerned about sterilization, here’s a simple trick you could try. First be sure to use only seeds designated for sprouting. Organic would be best. During the initial soaking time, you could add a drop or two (no more) of FOOD GRADE hydrogen peroxide. That would kill any germ at all that would be lingering on them. I’m not referring to the hydrogen peroxide you buy in the pharmacy. This special peroxide is 35% strength and is labeled as “food grade” because it has no preservative nor stabilizer in it. It can only be purchased online (any site that carries it will do…just do an internet search). IMPORTANT! This stuff is not to be directly ingested. It’s very strong and will cause serious issues. However, putting a drop or two in the initial seed soaking jar will act as a great antibacterial agent. It will be rinsed away with the rinsing that you would do thereafter. I have used the 35% hydrogen peroxide when I was having issues with a particular batch of seeds. Otherwise, I have not needed to take such measures.
I hope all this helps! Best wishes to you in your endeavors. Let me know if I can be of further help.