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DIY Sprouting Jar Tutorial for You and Your Chickens

Lentil SproutsYou have probably heard all the hype over sprouted grains lately. It is a simple process where you sprout things like wheat, lentils, beans, spelt, millet, alfalfa, etc. in a jar on your kitchen counter and then sprinkle the results over your salads and sandwiches.

Sprouts are packed with vitamins and nutrients that are normally destroyed during processing or cooking. Growing some fresh is an excellent way to add nutrition to your diet. But I don’t grow sprouts very often for myself…

I grow sprouts mostly for my chickens.

Okay I know it sounds silly, but sprouts are easy and fun to grow and the chickens love them. Sure, I can grow sprouts for myself too, but the girls get so excited over these things, I just end up giving them all away. The chickens get extra nutrients and they eat it up like it’s candy.

It’s the same procedure whether you are sprouting for yourself or your chickens. So, let me give you the low down on how its done. Then you can decide for yourself who gets the resulting nutrition packed greens.

Now, I should also note here that I sometimes grow foraging sprouts in trays and window boxes for my girls. But they seem to enjoy these kitchen counter sprouts so much more and will devour them in minutes. It is probably because they get the complete seed here rather than just the tops poking out of the dirt. But for now, this post is just on the sprouts…

How To Make A Sprouting Jar

How To Make A Sprouting Jar

  1. You need a canning jar and a sprouting lid. Although you can buy a sprouting jar lid for about $5 each, I need several. So I just make my own for pennies.
  2. To make your own lid, use plastic needlepoint sheets found at the craft store. (Just ask at the store and they will point you in the right direction.) They come in different colors and only cost $0.50 per sheet. You can make 6 wide mouth sprouting lids per each 13 x 10.50 inch sheet. That’s a good deal! Note: Some people use wire mesh, but it can rust. You can also use cheesecloth or a piece of nylon stockings. But I find the needlepoint sheets to be the best method.
  3. Use a canning jar lid as your template and scissors to cut out rounds of plastic.
  4. The circles fit perfectly inside a canning lid ring and are washable and long lasting.

Growing The Sprouts

How To Grow Sprouts

  1. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of seed to your glass jar. How much depends upon the size of the jar. For example, I typically use 1.5 tablespoons of red wheat berries in my quart-sized jar. Don’t add too much or the seeds won’t have room to grow. Try to use organic seed from the health food store so you know it is not sprayed with sprouting inhibitors. Most health food stores even have a “sprout” section where you can buy special seeds just for this purpose, but they tend to be very expensive. I buy in bulk in the bean/grain section of the store.
  2. Fill the jar with water and set it soak on the counter for about 6-8 hours. I usually do this at night and then drain the water in the morning.
  3. After soaking, drain out the water. Then fill and drain one more time to rinse and set the jar in a dark area of the counter (not in direct sunlight).

How to Grow Sprouts

4) Twice a day, (I do morning and night) fill the jar with water and drain it out. (You are just moistening the seeds). Tip the jar upside down into a bowl for a few minutes each time to be sure all the water is drained out. That’s all you do!

5) After as little as 2 days, your seeds will begin sprouting but are white! At this point…

Growing Sprouts

Lay the jar on its side and let it get some light for a few more days so the sprouts can green up a bit. (I set mine on the bright/sunny kitchen table.) Then serve! You can store them in the refrigerator and they will continue to grow, but they will still need to be moistened every day.

The whole process takes about 4-6 days depending upon the seed. Let me know if you give it a try!



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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.