How to Grow Sprouts in a Jar: 7 Steps to Sprout Heaven

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Growing organic sprouts

Day 5. Growing organic sprouts in a mason jar on the kitchen counter.

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Arina P Habich

The easiest way to grow sprouts!

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Sprouts are one veggie we think everyone should be growing at home. Not only do they add fresh flavor and crunch to salads, stir-fries, sandwiches, and wraps, but they’re also a great source of antioxidants. The easiest way to grow them is in a mason jar. Just follow seven steps to grow your own sprouts.

What Are Sprouts?

Before a plant “grows up,” it starts as a sprout. Eating 5- to 7-day-old seed sprouts of beans, broccoli, and other vegetables is incredibly good for you—even more nutritious than the full-grown plant. 

Bean sprouts (also called mung bean and soybean sprouts) have long been popular in many Asian cuisines or as a filling. They are full of health-giving nutrients, protein, and fiber. Extra crunchy, they taste great stir-fried with finely chopped garlic, ginger, a little soy sauce, and a splash of sesame seed oil. 

Broccoli, cauliflower, radish, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables are also great as sprouted vegetables; in fact, many people who don’t like to eat these vegetables when full-grown actually enjoy the sprouts, as they don’t have a bitter taste and are slightly sweet.

Microgreens are different than sprouts. They are also tiny, but they are the immature greens of arugula, radish, basil, and other plant seeds; their tiny leaves emerge within 10 to 20 days. Our colleague Robin did a test growing both microgreens and sprouts!

Sprouts grow much faster, making them the ultimate convenience food! Just follow these directions for the easiest way to grow sprouts at home.

How to Grow Sprouts in a Jar in 7 Simple Steps

  1. Gather your materials. Aside from the seeds, there’s a good chance you’ve already got most of the materials somewhere in your home. Seeds can be ordered online or purchased at your favorite local garden shop.
    • Seeds (popular choices include alfalfa, broccoli, radish, soy, mung bean, and lentil)
    • Quart-size mason jar
    • Muslin, cheesecloth, or other fine mesh
    • Rubber band
    • Water
  2. Soak your seeds. Add a tablespoon of seeds to the jar and cover with a couple of inches of cool water. Cover the jar with a piece of muslin or cheesecloth and secure it with the rubber band. Let the seeds soak overnight.
  3. Drain and rinse. In the morning, turn the jar over to drain the water through the cloth. Remove the cloth, rinse the seeds with fresh, cool water, and drain one more time. 
  4. Pick a good place. Give the jar a little shake to spread the seeds out, then set it on its side in a cool, dark place. Tip the jar to allow excess water to drain out and air to flow in. (Try propping it up in a bowl or dish drainer on a folded towel to keep it in place.) 
  5. Keep the seeds moist. Each morning and evening, rinse and drain the seeds to keep them moist, then return the jar to its spot.
  6. Add sunlight. In 2 to 3 days or so, you’ll notice tiny light yellow leaves beginning to sprout. Move the jar to a place that gets indirect sunlight (direct sunlight will heat up the jar too much), and continue to rinse the sprouting seeds a couple of times a day.
  7. Harvest and enjoy. Your sprouts are ready to eat when the leaves turn green and grow to the size you want—this usually takes around a week, give or take a couple of days, depending on the kind you’re growing. Rinse them one final time and either pat them dry with a clean towel and store them in a container in the fridge…or go ahead and eat them!
Sprouts growing in a mason jar. Jar is tilted in a bowl to drain water out after rinsing. Credit: Jennifer de Graaf

If you are a true sprout-eating fan, consider gathering some additional jars and starting a new crop every few days. That way, you’ll always have fresh sprouts on hand. 

Here’s another way one of our colleagues grows bean sprouts—using a juice carton.

And if growing sprouts has whet your appetite (literally!) for indoor gardening, check out How to Grow an Indoor Vegetable Garden

About The Author

Su Reid-St. John

Su, a master gardener, spent many years editing and writing garden content for Bonnie Plants and Miracle-Gro. Read More from Su Reid-St. John

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