Follow these 3 easy steps to learn how to grow broccoli sprouts in about five days. Add more goodness to your meals (without having to cook).
Growing sprouts is a fun way to grow living foods indoors all year round. I love how beautiful and nutritious broccoli sprouts are. You can add them to many dishes, from sandwiches to salads, smoothies, soups and more.
Are broccoli sprouts really good for you?
As you may have noticed, broccoli sprouts are getting an increasing amount of attention right now, and that's for good reason. They contain many nutrients including protein, fibre, vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and glucosinolates (see also Sulforaphane).
To grow broccoli sprouts using the jar method, you'll need the following:
- a good-sized jar or a wide-mouthed mason jar
- a piece of cheesecloth plus a rubber band / or a suitable sprouting lid (available in stores online)
- a bowl to store the jar at an angle which allows excess water to escape
When you buy broccoli seeds be sure to purchase organic seeds from a reputable supplier specifically for sprouting purposes. Sprouting seeds are produced to much higher standards than regular garden seeds with less risk of harmful bacteria, which can cause illness.
Step 1 - Add broccoli seeds to a clean jar, top with plenty of cool water and allow them to soak.
Step 2 - Drain the soak water from the jar. Rinse the seeds, then drain thoroughly. You should do this 2-3 times daily until they're fully sprouted.
Step 3 - When ready, give them a final rinse and drain, then leave them out to dry on some kitchen paper before using or storing.
See below for full instructions.
Turn the jar while sprouting to encourage the tiny seeds to spread around the glass. Doing this can help with airflow and reduce clumping.
Broccoli sprouts - how to grow.
Soak the broccoli seeds.
Rinse, drain thoroughly and set aside, upturned in a bowl to sprout.
Rinse and drain sprouts twice daily and see their little tails start to grow.
Allow the sprouts to go green by placing somewhere bright until ready. I do this for a day or two.
Set aside on some paper towel to dry before using/storing.
How to remove the hulls
If you prefer not to eat the hulls, you can remove most of them as follows:
- Add the finished sprouts to a big bowl of fresh water and spread them out a little. Swish them around the water using your fingers and watch hulls rise to the top. Now the hulls are super easy to scoop up with a spoon.
- I like to do this using my salad spinner. Then once I've removed the hulls, I empty out the water and spin the broccoli sprouts to throw off as much excess water as possible.
Place onto some kitchen paper and store in a lidded container in the fridge for up to five days. Sprouts are a fresh healthy living food and are meant to be consumed within a few short days.
They can be frozen, although I've not done this myself. I prefer to enjoy them fresh so grow them weekly in small batches.
How to tell if sprouts have gone bad
I find broccoli sprouts do wilt or spoil remarkably quickly. If this happens, toss them out and begin again.
One of the beautiful things about growing your own broccoli sprouts is that you're in control of their environment, which can positively reduce the risk of any unwanted bacterial growth.
Healthy sprouts will have a lovely mild fresh smell to them. So, please give them a good sniff each time you grow sprouts so that you become familiar with how healthy sprouts should smell.
However, suppose they have a powerful aroma. In that case, your sprouts may have spoiled, so you'll need to throw them out and start again. Another tell-tale sign of spoiling is if they appear wilted or slimy, so again discard them straight away.
Most of the time, problems are due to these three things:
- Sitting in water - Ensure you drain them thoroughly, as sitting in water will cause them to rot.
- Poor airflow - there must be enough airflow in and around the jar.
- Too much heat - sprouts, especially broccoli sprouts, do not like warmth or heat, which cause them to wilt and smell. If this happens, toss them out.
The rinsing and draining process helps keep them clean, fresh, and moist and reduces seeds clumping inside the jar.
How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts (jar method)
- A medium size jar or wide mouthed mason jar
- A piece of cheesecloth and rubber band or a sprouting lid
- A bowl.
- 1 tablespoon organic broccoli sprouting seeds specifically produced for sprouting/microgreens
- fresh cool water as needed
- Pour the seeds into a jar and fill halfway with fresh cool water. Place to one side out of direct sunlight to soak for 6-12 hours (according to the packet instructions). This is the only time the seeds should sit in water. Sitting in water is a common cause of spoiling. If they spoil, discard them and begin again.
- Securing the lid with your fingers, empty the soak water from the jar, then fill halfway again with fresh cool water. Swirl the seeds around for a few moments before pouring the water away. Be sure to drain the water away thoroughly. Place the jar at an angle in a bowl to allow any excess water to escape. Rinse and drain twice daily until ready. I like to do this in the morning and the evening.
- The broccoli sprouts are ready to harvest in about five days. They'll have grown 2-5 centimetres long and developed their first tiny green leaves. Place them somewhere bright for a few hours so the leaves can photosynthesise and turn green. Rinse and drain one last time. Remove the sprouts from the jar and set them out to dry on some paper towel before storing.
Many people like to first soak their seeds in water with a little apple cider vinegar to clean them up and help remove any unwanted bacteria.
I've tried sprouting seeds both with and without doing this. I generally don't do this as a rule myself, as I haven't felt the need to but, please do whichever method you prefer.
Some people like to leave their sprouts in the dark to germinate by putting them in a cupboard. I tried this method when I first started sprouting but honestly, as they were out of sight I just kept forgetting about them so now I sprout mine on the counter top where I can see them each day 🙂
When sprouts start to grow their first tiny leaves place them somewhere light (out of direct sunlight) to help them photosynthesise and turn a beautiful green.
Sprouts like brassicas, including broccoli sprouts, put out tiny root hairs when they're thirsty and looking for water. You may notice this happen when you pick the sprouting jar up in the morning and see their tails look white and fuzzy.
Please give them a rinse so they can have a good drink, drain them well and you should notice the fuzz disappear. If the fuzz doesn't fade away, there's a good chance it's mould so throw them out and begin again.
The UK Food Standards Agency recommends people in vulnerable groups always cook any sprouts until steaming hot all the way through before eating them.
This is because sprouts sometimes contain bacteria, which some people may be susceptible to. Vulnerable groups include the elderly, young children, those with a weakened immune system, and pregnant women.
Never eat sprouts or microgreens that look or smell bad or weird. If you're unsure, then throw them out and start again.
Check the FSA website for more details.