Grow Sprouts for Fresh Food This Winter

Nutritious sprouts are perfect for indoor winter gardening. In just a few days, you can grow sprouts from a handful of seeds.

| November/December 2012

  • Although some plants are more common than others (alfalfa or mung bean first come to mind), a wide variety of other plants are great for sprouting.
  • Sprouts are easy to grow indoors—all a plant seed needs to sprout is to be kept moist and in contact with air.
    Photo by StockFood

As fun and satisfying as it sounds to have fresh food growing indoors in winter, the truth is that, unless you have a greenhouse or the absolute perfect window, most produce can’t grow with the limited light it would get indoors in winter. This is not the case with sprouts. Sprouts grow wonderfully indoors, and they add a burst of flavor to a wide variety of dishes.

Plus, sprouts are incredibly healthy. Contained inside a single seed is everything it needs to grow into a hearty plant. And that’s exactly why these tiny guys are such great sources of nutrients. You can certainly benefit from eating raw seeds, but soaking and sprouting them helps them begin to grow, unlocking some of those powerful compounds. It’s a great—and easy—way to release all that nutrition into a tangy, tasty treat.

In culinary terms, sprouts are typically enjoyed raw or cooked as flavorful additions to other foods, rather than eaten on their own. Sprouts fall into three broad categories: salad-, grain- and bean-type sprouts. Eating a variety of sprouts is the best way to take advantage of their complete buffet of flavors and health benefits. Many types of dishes can be improved by the addition of fresh, homegrown sprouts including scrambled eggs, salads, coleslaw, dips and spreads, salads and wraps, casseroles, soups, breads and stir-fries.

How to Sprout Seeds

First, choose a few plants to sprout and get organically grown seeds from your favorite company (try Johnny’s Selected Seeds or Sprout People). Although some types of sprouts (such as alfalfa) are more common, all the plants listed in “Seeds for Sprouting” below make good sprouts. Seeds require very little in order to sprout: mainly, to be kept moist and in contact with air. Although you can find commercial sprouting kits (including great automatic sprouters), the following simple methods fulfill the requirements. With any method, first rinse your seeds a couple of times, then soak them overnight in a clean jar of water.



Hemp bag method: Dump the soaked seeds into the bag, wet it thoroughly, then hang the bag on a hook to drain.

Jar method: Dump the soaked seeds in a glass jar. Cover the jar with fine-mesh cheesecloth or window screen, and secure it with a rubber band around the lip. Turn the jar over into a container with a wider mouth to catch dripping water.

Brandey Schultz
12/14/2012 12:05:34 AM

Basil sprouts?


Curtis Jones
10/25/2012 10:01:34 PM

I buy my sprouts from Botanical Interests - excellent selection!




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