How To Sprout

More and more people are discovering the benefits of the condensed energy in sprouted seeds, grains, and legumes.

I get asked quite frequently on how to sprout, what the benefits of sprouting are, and what to do when the sprouting is complete. Although the process does take a couple of days, the benefits are huge!

The story of the sprout

Simply put, sprouts contain all the elements a plant requires for life. The endosperm [center] of the seed is made up of macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein, and fats. When soaked, the seed germinates and causes these elements to become predigested amino acids and natural sugars. This process makes the food more readily available for assimilation, and higher in vitamin and mineral content than in its non-sprouted form.

Also, seeds are low in cost, can be stored indefinitely, are easy to grow, and; when sprouted, increase their nutritional value.

What’s not to love?


Notable nutritional benefits

Seeds become higher in phosphorus that can increase alertness, mental capacity, promotes healthy bones and teeth [great for babies and children!]. The chlorophyll, vitamin B, D, and essential amino acids increase too.

When cooked, wheat can sometimes cause mucus congestion, allergic reactions, and constipation. In its sprouted form, a large portion of starch is converted to simple sugars, making it easier on the digestive tract. Also, buckwheat becomes rich in lecithin, a fat emulsifier that aids in the breakdown of fatty acids.

And, did you know that when legumes are sprouted they actually become alkaline forming instead of acid forming? This is very helpful for those following an alkaline diet

Equipment you’ll need

  • Mason jars with lids and screw bands or rubber bands
  • Cheesecloth or nylon


What can you sprout?

  • Seeds: alfalfa, brocolli, celery, clover, oats, radish, fenugreek, and sunflower.
  • Grains: rye, wheat, buckwheat, barley, quinoa, millet, and rice.
  • Legumes: lentils, kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans, mung beans, and soy beans.

4 steps to sprouting


Begin by soaking the desired amount in mason jars in water. Seeds and grains need 5 hours of soaking and legumes need at least 15 hours.

Store at room temperature in a dark area [under the sink works well].



After soaking for the specified time, place cheesecloth or nylon over the mouth of the mason jar and secure with mason screw bands and a lid, or rubber bands. Drain, rinse and let stand without water for 8-12 hours.




Rinse again and drain well to prevent rotting. Your potential sprouts should be rinsed and drained twice a day using lukewarm water for 6 days [seeds and grains] or 3 days [legumes].

Keep at room temperature in a dark area.



After the third or sixth day [depending on what you’re sprouting], place them in the light for one more day to increase their chlorophyll content.

Sprouting tips

  • When determining the desired amount of seeds or grains for each container, take note that they will expand about eight times the original amount.
  • Legumes will not expand as much as seeds or grains, they’ll get to about 4 times their size.
  • For sunflower and lentil sprouts, the “tail” of the sprout should not be larger than the seed itself.

How to store

Store in the refrigerator in a jar or plastic bag for up to two weeks.

How to enjoy

It’s best to eat sprouts in raw form as cooking can destroy some of the nutritional content. There are cases where cooking sprouts is beneficial, but more on that later. You can eat the entire sprout, including roots and leaves.

I like adding my sprouts to cereal, salads, sandwiches, smoothies, sauces, hummus, and raw treats like these almond buckwheat goji bars. Because of the high phosphorus content, they would also be fantastic in homemade baby food.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a gluten-free sprouted bread recipe that I’m ridiculously excited to share with you. Take that Ezekiel bread!

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  1. I just posted this article to my Facebook walls, both personal and business. I think it’s very important and has made a huge difference with my digestion! Thanks for sharing! I need to look into sharing this with my blog as well. Great information and lovely website!

  2. Leanne…I love your site, the recipes are awesome !!! I have a question about sprouting . I am on step 3 and noticed the seeds and grains need to sprout 6 days, and the legumes {larger}for only 3 days. Is this correct or the other way around ?
    Thank you so much for all the wonderful recipes.

    • Hey Elaine – thanks for stopping in to say hello! Yes, grains take a bit longer than the beans. Totally weird, I know!

  3. We normally have a constant rotation of mung beans sprouting. I’ve tried chickpeas, but they got funky (or at least I thought they were funky). I love sprouted lentils, but I haven’t done that in a long time. Now I want to get back into it! Especially for that bread you posted!

    • Funky as in fuzzy and potentially moldy? Are you keeping them in a dry place? I find mine always do that when I leave them out on the counter and don’t rinse them enough. Can’t wait to see how you like the bread!

      • Mine started off strong and the quinoa were sprouting from day 2. I left them out yesterday in the sun to grow and they kind of got cloudy (like the mason jar is foggy looking). When rinsing, should I be rinsing a few times until the water runs clear? I was only rinsing once.
        I am super excited for these and want to find out where I messed up! Thanks!

        • Hi Alex – for sure, make sure to rinse until they’re good and clean and the water runs clear. They’ll be foggy because of the humidity. I hope that helps!