Sprouting Seeds the Easy Way

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We had a great suggestion on our Instagram from fellow bloggers, The Tin Can Travelers, about posting a how-to on growing microgreens and sunflower sprouts. We thought about doing a video but we’re still having technical difficulties with our editing software, so here goes…

Step 1: Purchase Quality Seeds

It is VIP to buy the right seeds. Though almost any seed will sprout, not all seeds are meant to be eaten as sprouts. Seeds and legumes that you purchase from the grocery store bulk bins can have harmful bacteria on them (like e.coli or salmonella) or have been irradiated to keep them from sprouting in transit (which means they will never sprout, no matter how long you wait). We use organic microgreen seeds from Seeds of Change and organic sunflower seeds from Hometown Seeds.

Step 2: Select Your Equipment

We use two wide-mouth quart jars with mesh screens – one jar for each type of seed. We purchased the screens and stands here, but you can make them yourself using a piece of cheesecloth as a screen and a bowl as a stand. We’ve tried both but find that the stands are more secure than the bowl.

Step 3: Wash, Rinse, Repeat
Place 1-2 tablespoons of seeds in your jar and cover with approximately two inches of warm water. Place the mesh screen or cheesecloth and ring on the jar. Let the seeds sit overnight.

The next morning, drain the water. Rinse the seeds by adding water to the jar, swishing the seeds around, and draining. Turn the jar upside-down on the stand to continue draining any remaining water.

Repeat this twice a day, every day until your sprouts are the desired size.

Sprouts do not need sunlight so it’s best to place your jar in a room-temperature location where there’s little sunlight. We place ours in the dining room/office area on our rolling kitchen cart.

Step 4: Eat and Enjoy!

Rinse your sprouts one final time and remove the sunflower seed shells. Store in the refrigerator in a mesh produce bag of open container. We’ve found that sprouts tend to go limp when they are in a closed container with no air circulation.

All parts of your sprouts are edible, even the hairy little roots of the sunflower seeds; but if you prefer, you can trim these off. Sprouts are especially good on salads and sandwiches.

Microgreens & Sunflower Seeds

Our Farmer’s Market opened mid-April and we were delighted to see a lot of new vendors this year. Among them was a lady selling microgreens. These delicious little plants are apparently a very popular item at markets across the US, but this was our first time to encounter them here. Along with the traditional microgreens (typically made up of broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, and such), she had an interesting addition – sunflower greens.

We bought a tray for the “introductory price” of only $2. The greens of a sunflower plant taste a lot like a sunflower seed (because, well, that’s what they are). We thought they were delicious, so we ate almost all of them. I say almost because Angie had the bright idea to try to plant some of them to see what type of sunflower they would grow into.

They grew into this –

Since opening day, the price of microgreens and sunflowers has increased quite a bit. A tray of either one now costs $5. Not that they aren’t worth it, it’s just that we’re on an “I don’t want to work so much” budget and $5 is a good little chunk for something that we use to top salads and veggie wraps. So, Angie’s next bright idea – we’d grow our own.

We picked up a couple of packs of microgreen seeds at Tractor Supply. We even got them for 25% off.

So far, we’ve produced 3 cuttings of microgreens (one rogue seed somehow got mixed in with our marigolds and grew into a good-sized broccoli before we noticed and transplanted it).

And all those sunflowers – they have made a ton of black oil sunflower seeds, the kind that you grow sunflower microgreens from.

Just one of 3 envelopes full of seeds that we’ve collected so far.

We’ve read up on sprouting these seeds to plant and are pretty excited to give it a try when we get back from our mini-vacation (aka trout fishing adventure) next week. We’ll let you know how it goes.

Have you grown microgreens or sunflower greens? What tips do you have for growing them successfully?