Pea sprouts are $5 at the local grocery store. Such a tiny bunch. Barely enough for one salad. Since I’m not paying that exorbitant price I learned to sprout.
I’m so glad I did! Nothing could be easier or cheaper than sprouting peas and beans in a jar.
What speaks “spring” to you? For me, it’s the return of the ducks from the south, muddy boots and fresh peas. Is that why peas are always on the menu for Easter?
There’s a plethora of choices when it comes to sprouting. For beginners, it’s a good idea to start sprouting with peas and beans.
If you like the taste and experience, then move on to broccoli, red clover and radish.
Low in calories and high in protein, sprouting is simple, healthy, and easy to do. In just 4-5 days, you have fresh grown vegetables for your salad. Talk about farm to table.
Let’s sprout today! Here’s how.
Why bother sprouting peas and beans?
Sprouts are seeds that have germinated and become very young plants. The process is called sprouting. Sprouts are eaten for a special green treat.
Investing a few minutes of your time and a few bucks in equipment can produce tasty and economical vegetables at home.
Best of all, spouting peas and beans in a jar can be done year-round for fresh and crispy veggies when you least expect it. Nothing is growing in my garden from January through April but sprouts can be grown anytime indoors.
Think you don’t already eat sprouts? Re-think that! Ever munch on the inch-long and thread-like gangly sprouts at the salad bar? How about the three-inch noodle-like mung sprouts in your favorite chop suey?
Big emphasis on fresh veggies. Today’s mass produced vegetables are coated with a multitude of chemicals, picked before they are ripe, shipped thousands of miles and stored for many days on trucks and grocery store shelves before you consume them.
By the time you eat those white-tipped strawberries, they don’t have much nutritional value or flavor.
So by sprouting peas and beans in a jar, you have 100% eliminated agricultural pesticides and preservatives from your food. You are eating the healthiest and freshest food possible grown in the privacy and comfort of your own home!
Your kids or grandkids will love sprouting and it counts as the science lesson of the week. Plus, those of us who are impatient only have to wait 4-5 days to enjoy the fruits of our labor instead of months as is the case with most garden grown veggies.
How to use pea and bean sprouts
Sprouts are super nutritious and can be eaten raw or cooked. Sprouts boast those famous B vitamins and other minerals including iron, potassium, folate, manganese, thiamin, niacin, vitamin C and riboflavin.
Sprouting peas and beans add a bit of crispness to your recipes. I use them mostly raw in salads or to make my sandwich healthier and prettier. Ditto for that omelet.
Sprouts are also easily incorporated into stews, soups and stir-fries.
No fresh green salad or pasta salad is complete without a few sprouts on top. And your daily smoothie will thank you for a dollop of sprouts on top in lieu of the more traditional whipped cream.
Finally cook sprouts with quinoa, rice, vegetables or any grain for a complete meal or a unique side dish to pass at the neighborhood party.
Where do I get seeds to sprout?
There are lots of easy and fairly cheap places to get sprouts.
The quickest place will be any grocery store. The seeds, legumes or grains are usually located in the Mexican, Asian or rice aisle.
But they may or may not have organic seeds which are vital. Your local natural health food store will almost always carry a great selection.
International food stores or the international food section of your local grocery store is always a safe bet. Check the Asian/Indian section in particular for a wider choice.
Your local grocery store may also have a natural/organic section to check out. The cheapest option is always going to be the bulk section. The easiest option is to buy sprouting seeds online.
Supplies needed for sprouting peas and beans
- Sprouting seeds. Peas, beans, mung or garbanzo are the easiest to start with for first time sprouters
- Sprouting jar with a stainless steel screen and lid. I LOVE this jar and always use it with much success!
- Filtered or purified water
- Citric acid powder
*You can’t just sprout any old seed from a seed packet. Those won’t work. Seeds packed for garden planting and those packaged for sprouting have different standards.
Sprouting seeds must be prepared in a food-grade facility that ensures no contamination comes across the seed. Garden seed could potentially become a breeding ground for pathogens that could make you sick.
So only use seeds specifically labelled, packaged and sold as sprouting seed. Purchase high-quality, untreated, non-genetically modified (non-GMO) seeds, grains, or legumes that have been tested for germination.
I use a jar designed specifically for sprouting that has a metal mesh lid. But a Mason Jar or bowl could be made to work.
The process will still work if you ventilate the container properly. You’ll have to make a plastic wrap “lid” and poke holes in the top for air circulation.
But if you plan on sprouting multiple times, buying a sprouting jar for $5-$6 makes a lot of sense!
Method for sprouting peas and beans in a jar
- Place two tablespoons of sprouting seed or 1/4 cup of legumes/grains/peas/beans in a sprouting jar with three times as much water as seed. Soak overnight. For many small seeds, five hours of soaking is sufficient. If you have it, adding a teaspoon of citric acid powder will help hinder spoilage.
- The next morning, drain the water from the jar. Rinse seeds in fresh, lukewarm water and drain again. Once you have thoroughly drained your seeds, place your jar in a warm (70 degrees F) and dark place. A pantry or closet work well or even the dark corner of your kitchen counter top. I put mine in a box.
- Continue to rinse and drain seeds twice a day until they are about an inch long. Just because I’m silly, I sniff mine with each rinse to make sure they smell fresh. If for whatever reason, they don’t, I compost them and start again. In hot and dry weather, you may need to rinse the seeds three times a day. Turn jar over gently. Overturning the jar rapidly will cause shifting in the sprouting seeds. This can break the tender shoots and kill the sprout. This breakage causes the sprout spoil.
- Sprouts should be ready to eat in 3-5 days, depending on the seed used. But taste them each day to see if you like them! Put in sunlight on the last day to add chlorophyll turning them green and giving them extra nutrients. Yippee-skippee. After the sprouts have “greened up” (1-2 days) transfer them to a lidded container lined with a paper towel. Store in fridge. Bon appetit.
Insider tip: Some people save the water used from rinsing the sprouts as a treat for their house plants!
Are sprouts safe?
Yes! You may have a few concerns over salmonella or bacteria growth but using safe kitchen practices is always the same whether you are growing sprouts in your kitchen or handling any other food.
It always helps to buy certified organic sprouting seeds so you can enjoy sprouts safely.
Sanitation is always at the forefront. Make sure your sprouting jar and lids are clean and sterilized just as you would any canning jar.
Never eat sprouts that look or smell weird. If they smell bad, turn a strange color, or grow mold toss them in the compost bin and start again. This can happen if your jar wasn’t cleaned properly or the sprouts are not rinsed enough.
Eat sprouts within 3-4 days of sprouting and always store in an airtight container always in the fridge.
And as an added safety warning, pregnant woman or nursing mothers should never consume sprouts just to play it safe.
Final tip: It’s important to avoid excess moisture during the sprouting process. If indoor humidity is 70% or greater….sprouting is a no-go.
|Seed||Quantity||Yield||Daily Rinses||Growing Time||Best Sprout Length|
|Alfalfa (salads)||2 tbsp||1 qt||2||5 days||1-2′|
|Alfalfa seed (baking)||1/4 cup||1 cup||2||24 hours||1/8″|
|Broccoli seed||1 tbsp||2 cups||2||4 days||1″|
|Fenugreek seed||1/4 cup||4 cups||2||5 days||3″|
|Mung beans||1 cup||4 cups||4||3-4 days||2-3″|
|Radish||1 tbsp||2 cups||2||3-5 days||1/2-1″|
|Red Clover||3 tbsp||1 qt||2||4 days||when sprout is green|
|Sunflower seeds||1 cup||3 cups||2||24 hours||1/2″|
|Wheat||1 cup||4 cups||3||3 days||1/2″|