Guest post by Christina Wood, Dietetic Intern at WCHC (Master of Applied Nutrition Student from University of Guelph)
Did you know that you can grow your own micro greens inside your own home? You just need a clean jar with a breathable lid, some seeds to sprout, clean water and a little bit of time.
Mung bean and mustard seed sprouts
What is sprouting?
When the seeds of a plant are encouraged to grow or germinate, the seed splits open to release a sprout. Once the seeds sprout, they essentially become baby plants that are nutrient dense and delicious to eat.
What kind of seeds can I sprout?
There are many different types of seeds to sprout. Here are some examples:
Nutritional benefits of sprouts
Sprouting increases the nutrient level of the plant, which makes them richer in protein, vitamins C and K, magnesium and folate than the unsprouted seed (1).
The proteins in sprouts tend to be easier to digest and absorb by the body because the sprouting process reduces the content of an antinutrient called phytate (2).
Phytate is considered an antinutrient because it decreases the body's ability to absorb nutrients from the plant. For those who are vegetarian or vegan, better absorption of proteins from plants is a substantial benefit (2).
How do I sprout?
2 Tablespoons of seeds
Large glass jar and a breathable lid (see note b)
(a) If you sprout mung beans, make sure to cover your jars with a tea towel or put your jars in
a dark spot away from direct sunlight. The light causes the leaves to turn green which
makes the sprouts bitter.
(b) Your jar will need a breathable lid so that water can get in and out, so cheesecloth and a
rubber band to hold it in place works well. In the pictures below, a piece of needle point
mesh was cut so that it is the same size as the lid. That way the screw band can be used to
hold it in place.
Add about 2 tablespoons of seeds in your jar. You only need a couple of tablespoons of seeds because when your sprouts start to grow, they will multiply in size and start to fill your jar. Cover the seeds with water, about half a jar full. Soak the seeds overnight (up to 12 hours). This will activate or help start the germination process.
Soaking mung beans and lentils
Drain the water through the breathable lid and then rinse and drain with fresh water again. From now on draining and rinsing should be done at least 2 times a day.
Draining and rinsing seeds
After each rinse and drain, make sure to prop your jar upside down at about a 45° angle so the water can continue to drain.
This is very important! Your seeds should stay moist but not waterlogged.
Keeping the jar at an angle allows for air to circulate your seeds. Set your jars somewhere you won't forget in your kitchen.
Draining pea, mustard, and alfalfa seeds
Continue to rinse and drain twice daily and watch your sprouts grow. Depending on the type of sprout you decide to grow, you can have edible sprouts anywhere between 2 and 7 days.
Once they get to about 1 inch long, you can start to harvest them. At that point give your sprouts a last rinse, drain and then dump and spread the sprouts onto a clean tea towel to let them air dry for about an hour.
Wrap them in paper towel and store them inside a container in the fridge ready to eat. Make sure to use within 1 week.
Lentil sprouts after 3 days
Ways to enjoy your sprouts
Add them raw to your salads, sandwiches, smoothies or as a garnish on soup. You can also incorporate them in cooked dishes like rice, stir fries or even omelets.
Radish sprouts on top of a beet salad
(1) Erba, D., Angelino, D., Marti, A., Manini, F., Faoro, F., Morreale, F., Pellegrini, N., &
Casiraghi, M. C. (2019). Effect of sprouting on nutritional quality of pulses. International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 70(1), 30–40.
(2) Schlemmer, U., Müller, H., & Jany, K. D. (1995). The degradation of phytic acid in legumes
prepared by different methods. European journal of clinical nutrition, 49 Suppl 3, S207–