Categories: Food Quality

Sprouting: Reasons to Start

Economics: Seeds can multiply 7-15 times their weight. At $4.00/lb for seed that yields 26 cents for a pound of fresh spouted indoor-grown organic greens!

Nutrition: Sprouts are baby plants in their prime. At this stage of their growth, they have a greater concentration of protein, vitamins and minerals, enzymes, RNA, DNA, bioflavonoids, T-cell, etc., than at any other point in the plant’s life-even when compared with the mature vegetable!

Organic: No chemicals, fumigants or questions about certification. You can trust it’s pure because you are the grower!

Availability: From Florida to Alaska; in January or July, enjoy live anytime, anywhere, even on a boat or when hiking a mountain trail.

Space-Time: It’s Easy! Just add water! No soil. No bugs. No green thumb required. No special lights. One pound grows in only 9 inches of space and takes 1 minute of care per day.

Freshness: Because they are picked the same day they are eaten there is no loss of nutrients sitting in crates or on grocery store shelves.

Digestibility: Because sprouts are baby plants, their delicate cell walls release live nourishment easily. Their nutrients exist in elemental form and the abundance of enzymes make them easy to digest even for those with weak digestion.

Versatility: More varieties of salad greens than on your supermarket shelves… including buckwheat lettuce, baby sunflower, French onion, garlic chive, Chinese cabbage, purple turnip, curly kale, daikon radish, crimson clover, golden alfalfa and more… Your salads will never be boring again!

Meals: Make sprout breads from sprouted wheat, rye, or barley. Snacks from sprouted peanuts, hummus dip from sprouted banzo, cooked vegetable side dish made from sprouted green Chinese sautes from mung, adzuki and lentils, even sprouted wheat pizza!

Ecology: No airplanes or fuel/oil consumed to deliver food to you. No petroleum based pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.

Sprouts are baby green plants. Like all heliotropes, they follow the sun from dawn to dusk. Through the miracle of photosynthesis, they create their own food (carbohydrate) from sunlight. Jars are simply not designed to accommodate this natural growth process. Sprouters wit: vertical orientation, on the other hand, work in harmony with the natural movement of green plants. They permit your sprout greens to grow like vegetables in your garden. In this book, we will be using a colander style vertical sprouter. Borrowing from the Orient’s love for bamboo as a cooking utensil, we will use a simple, widely available bamboo basket as our sprouter in the step by step discussion of how to grow sprouted baby vegetables indoors. In this sprouter, the sprout roots support themselves by winding into the weave of the basket instead of soil.

Once firmly anchored, they grow straight and stand tall. Our technique will apply to any sprouter with a vertical orientation and ample height for growth. Vertical sprouters grow the seedlings the way vegetables grow in the garden. Each seed gets proper exposure to light and air. The seed hulls that are normally trapped inside a jar are free to fall naturally. This makes less cleaning work for you, and the growing sprouts are free of this dead matter which can cause rot. Some of the hulls are heavy, such as sunflower shells, which become entangled in the mass of roots making the whole lot inedible. Other varieties are 4-6 inches tall and even if they could grow in a jar, would not fit. While jars are okay for basic bean sprouting, they were never intended for the more sophisticated indoor gardening of salad greens.

Advantages of a Vertical Sprouter

1) Allows for the natural vertical growth of plants just like in vegetable garden.
2) Provides a greater surface area exposing more sprouts to sunlight.
3) Yields a higher volume of sprouts.
4) Allows all sprouts to reach their nutritional peak.
5) Has its own drainage system, avoiding screens, cheese cloth, rubberbands, etc.
6) Allows faster, easier rinsing and cleaning of seed hulls.
7) Never needs soil.
8) Adds beauty to your kitchen and entire house.

A greenhouse can be made from anything that will hold in moisture and heat while allowing light penetration and air circulation. With some caveats, even a simple plastic bag will do. House your colander inside a plastic tent. Elevate the colander so it does not touch the floor or the walls for best air circulation. Good air circulation resists mold and fungus growth.

5 Easy Steps to Health: Green Thumb Not Required

1. Soak your seeds Overnight In A 16-32 ounce Jar of pure water.
2. Pour Seeds Into Bottom Of Basket Sprouter.
3. Rinse Vigorously For 30 Seconds With A Sink Sprayer Moving Evenly Over The Seeds.
4. Place Basket In Greenhouse Tent With Ample Air Above Seeds.
5. Repeat 30 Second Rinsing Twice Daily, About 12 Hours Apart. Takes Only 1 Minute Per Day.

Wash Seeds and Baskets

First, wash all your baskets by boiling them for only 3 minutes in hot water. Boiling sterilizes the natural fibers which are untreated, unfumigated and unshellacked. More on the care and maintenance of your baskets on p.28. Rinse your seeds clean, too. These special organically grown and chemical-free seeds may contain small amounts of soil or foreign matter. Rinse well and, if necessary, pick clean.

Soaking Seed

Next, open a package of seeds (we recommend clover for starters) and pour 5 rounded tablespoons into a clean pint jar; fill 3/4 of the jar with pure, cold water. Stir, then let sit for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. After soaking, pour the seeds directly onto the floor of the 8 inch basket. Rinse them clean and let the spray of the water spread the seeds evenly on the floor of the basket. Insert the basket into the plastic greenhouse tent. Remove it from the greenhouse twice each day for rinsing. It’s that easy! Now, the proper way to rinse.

How To Rinse

Rinse the seeds with cold water using the flexible spray I attached to your sink. If you do not have such a hose built in, chase a spray adaptor which easily connects to the end of your faucet. Faucet spray adaptors are available at houseware stores.

Three Methods of Rinsing

1) HOSING. The first method, described earlier hoses the seeds with lots of water pressure from your hose sprayer or faucet spray adaptor. This is the only way to rinse during the first four days of growth until the roots anchor into the basket weave. A shower nozzle, much like the one in your shower, performs best because it waters the seeds evenly without disturbing their orientation. Some sinks have a sprayer hose built in for doing dishes. If you do not have a showerhead on your faucet, you can obtain faucet adaptor from any hardware or houseware store. Rubbermaid makes a non-permanent adaptor called the Faucet Queen attaches to your faucet end. Although the name may be some quizzical, the function is one of converting the jet of water in shower spray. And, with the simple turn of a valve, your faucet returns to normal again. This small $3-$5 item is available in most stores where housewares are sold.

The sprouts prefer the even rinsing of a shower to the harsh drilling of a faucet. Please do confuse a shower spray with a mister or atomizer. Misters do supply enough force for an efficient rinse. One more point, a rinsing, you will notice that the water moves the seeds around is normal for the first two or three days but after that, try not to disturb the organization of the sprouts so that their roots may am into the basket. Anchoring is necessary for cleaning the sprouts vertical growth, and as we shall see later, for cleaning the hulls. In case you were wondering, yes, you can use your shower it self. Sprouts like it in the bathroom because it is the most humid room in the house and is often a few degrees cooler in the hot weather. Simply run the basket under the shower and set it aside to drain. You may close the curtain if your sprouts happen to be shy. Actually, the curtain keeps in the humidity and creates a greenhouse effect.

2) IMMERSION. This method is faster and easier than hosing but is only possible when the sprouts have anchored their roots into basket. This usually occurs after 4 days of growth. First, fill your sink, bowl or pot with pure water, then dip in the entire basket a total bath. Let the sprouts soak for at least 10 seconds, then drain and set in the greenhouse. Make sure your sprouts are securely anchored into the basket before immersing. Check the underside the basket for lots of rootlets showing through the weave. Water temperature and water purity are important. The water temperature should vary according to season. In hot weather, it could be cold to cool the sprouts down. In cold weather, it could be good to warm them up. Never use hot water, which can reduce germination. Use lukewarm or tepid water.

3) INVERSION. Hang On Sprouts! Once your sprouts are securely anchored, you can even turn the basket upside down! Nothing will fall out except old seed hulls. Hulls are dead matter that decay promoting root rot and mold. Eliminating these hulls will keep your sprouts healthy and delicious. Fresh hulls, by the way, are simple vegetable fiber similar to bran. Although they can detract from the flavor of the sprouts, they are not harmful to eat. The inversion method is the fastest, most thorough method for rinsing away the hulls.

How to Drain

Even though they are porous, baskets will retain water if held in a level position. After rinsing your seeds, hold the basket at an angle for a minute or until it stops dripping. You can test this yourself by holding a wet basket level and then tilting it slightly. The water will start to drain as soon as you tilt. Do not tilt too much during the first few days or the seedlings will fall out with the water. They require at least three days before their roots are long enough to wrap into the weave of the basket and hold on. Placing your basket on a dish rack or leaning it on a towel is very helpful if you have a lot of baskets or simply do not want to stand and wait. Or, when the seedlings have anchored themselves, you can wave the basket gently in a tub of water with the basket turned upside down to shake loose any excess water, then insert it back into the plastic greenhouse tent.

How to Harvest

Harvesting usually brings forth images of large machinery through vast open fields. But to a sprout gardener, it simply time to eat. Time to eat. Grab your baby-greens by their tops and wiggle them free. Draw out the whole plant, roots and all. If too tight, grab a smaller amount and wiggle as you pull. Buckwheat and black skin sunflower all have long, heavy roots that can hold a strong grip your baskets. Harvest these sprouts carefully by wiggling small amounts out at a time while holding the basket securely in place. While still gripping the sprouts, whisk the roots through a bowl water to dislodge any hulls. Yes, you can eat the roots! These roots have never touched soil and are clean and full of minerals. This is rare opportunity to enjoy the healthful benefits of eating a whole plant. Some folks are not used to touching food especially if it is be served to others, however, with sprouts, it’s different. What you grab ends up on your own plate,

So you are not actually touching someone else’s food. But if your company is fussy about fingers, pull them out for everyone and mix them in your salad bowl or set them on a salad plate where people can take their own. Unfortunately tongs or salad grabbers do not work. Because the sprouts are rooted into the basket or colander, you need the combined strength and tenderness of the human hand. If done correctly, you will not disturb the younger, immature sprouts growing underneath. These sprouts are the next generation. Although they are light green yellow in color, they will turn green and mature once exposed the light. Try not to grab deep into the basket or to pull from the bottom. This makes a hole in your crop and pulls up the younger generation before it is mature. When you are finished put your basket back in the plastic greenhouse tent and allow the immature sprouts to continue growing. If you “pluck” your sprouts properly, you can reap as many as 3 harvests depending on the variety and season. This maximization of your crop is possible simply by working with the different rates of seed growth and allowing the different generations to mature. You get greater yields and more food value from sprouts in their“nutritional prime.”

When to Harvest Your Crop

Your young, leafy green sprouts are at their nutritional peak when the bud develops a cleft (divides into a left and right petal) and drops its hull. Harvest time is when 90% of the crop is hull-free and has left and right petals. Refer to the following chart. Harvest time may vary slightly depending on temperature and season.

Number of Days To Mature

5-6 Days 7 Days 8-12 Days 12-14 Days
Radish Alfalfa Buckwheat Garlic
Cabbage Clover Fenugreek Onion
Kale . Red Pea Chia
Turnip . Sunflower Psyllium
Mustard . Wheatgrass .

Harvest Times For Chlorophyll Rich Sprouts Number of Days to Maturity.

Fenugreek 8 days Radish 5 days
Alfalfa 7 days Cabbage 5 days
Garlic 14 days Onion 14 days
Red Clover 6 days Black Mustard 5 days
Kale 7 days Turnip 5 days
Buckwheat 10 days Sunflower 10 days
Wheatgrass 12 days Chia 14 days
Red Pea 11 days Psyllium 14 days

What Seeds To Sprout? Your sprouter is ideal for growing indoor vegetable seeds that develop chlorophyll-rich, green leaves.

Alfalfa Garlic China Red Pea
Clover Onion Turnip
Fenugreek Mustard Cabbage
Radish Buckwheat Broccoli
Kale Sunflower Chia

Which Seeds – Which Size – How Much

6″ 2-3 Tbsp 8″ 5 Tbsp 9″ 7 Tbsp
Radish Alfalfa Buckwheat
Garlic Clover Sunflower
Onion Fenugreek China Red Pea

Double Decker Technique

Stack Your Sprouters! Since space is often a problem, here’s a technique to conserve it. Two sprouting baskets on top of each other take up less space than two side by side. During the First phase of germination (days 1-4), any two of the sprouters could be stacked with the smaller basket underneath the bigger one. Insert the double decker into the greenhouse.

Greenhouse Tent

Greenhouses can come in a variety of different sizes and shapes from the size of an outdoor structure building to a simple 10 inch plastic tent. Believe it or not, this simple plastic tent serves a very important purpose. During the first few days of their life, a sprout is highly vulnerable to the elements and its worst enemy is dry air. Seedlings are accustomed to the protection of Mother Earth. Normally the soil acts as their shield to regulate their temperature and keep them moist. But since our indoor seedlings are grown without soil, extra care is required. A greenhouse provides the necessary protection. It:

1) Retains moisture
2) Maintains temperature
3) Allows light to enter
4) Allows adequate air circulation.

Without protection, wind and air will dry your sprout garden. Both the roots and the tops are unprotected and will shrivel dry. If you leave the greenhouse tent off for only half a day, en damage could be done to ruin the growth potential. Even if damage is not immediately obvious, it often becomes apparent the sprouts do not grow as tall or endure as long. The dried sprouts go bad first and affect the health of the whole basket. This problem is especially critical during the first four days of germination a the seeds are just developing their roots and righting themselves. After that, the sprouts organize and send their roots down and simultaneously developing their leaf systems. Once developed, leaves retain moisture and act as little umbrellas, which shield sprouts from wind and heat. The mature sprouts are less vulnerable and can survive even without the greenhouse tent for a few hours. The leaves can stay out in the open but the roots cannot. The roots are exposed and depend on the greenhouse to prevent them from drying out.

Once you eat from the mature crop, you remove the layer and with it a lot of protective leaves. Then, they need the greenhouse once again. The greenhouse is recommended throughout the life of the sprouts but is less critical when the sprouts are mature and their leaf systems are fully developed. A simple plastic bag can serve the role of a greenhouse as long as it is thick enough not to topple from the weight of the water droplets that collect inside. A thickness of 4 millimeters with a gusseted design gives it the strength and prevents collapse. An erect tent enables adequate air circulation. Insert your sprouts into the greenhouse tent in such a fashion that it stands vertically, like a tent, over the basket. This creates a large bubble of air for the sprouts to breathe and is most critical factor in using the greenhouse. Consider the effect of bag that sits on top of or collapses on the growing sprouts. They will suffocate and, if warm outside, quickly overheat. But if there is sufficient envelope of air, the sprouts will breathe well and keep cool. The only time you may use a smaller tent or bubble of air when the sprouts are just starting. One, two, and three day old sprouts can survive with less air because their respiration process just beginning.

Homemade Greenhouse

Want to build a more elaborate greenhouse? Simply construct a rectangular frame approximately 2 feet long by 1.5 feet wide and 1.5 feet high. Staple a plastic sheet on all sides except the front flap which should be hinged for taking the sprouters in and out. Now, simply set your sprout baskets inside. In cold climates, place your greenhouse tent, rigid plastic greenhouse or homemade greenhouse, near an incandescent light where the heat of the bulb will be trapped inside for faster germination. Use only an incandescent bulb. Fluorescent lights and the new comp fluorescents are highly energy efficient which is great except need bulbs that produce heat. Neodymium bulbs are best for plants and people because they offer a fuller spectrum of light than regular incandescent bulbs. Duro-test and Chromolux are two popular brand names available through your light store. Ask them to special order it for you.

Marriage of Baskets & Sprouts

Baskets can mean many things to you and me. They may be something that holds your bread or something that holds your laundry. But to a sprout, a basket is a very personal thing. It is his/her home, cradle, bedroom and dining room all in one. Some baskets have weaves that are too wide. A little sprout could fall through to frightening death! Some are woven too thick leaving no room to breathe. Some are lacquered poisoning sprouts and people. Some are too shallow. A little sprout must have it just right. The ideal basket for a sprout is made from bamboo, a plant itself that grows in the rain forests of Asia. The vast majority of bamboo products are imported from China. Other fibrous woods such as wicker, straw, willow and rattan are not suitable. Bamboo baskets come in different sizes and shapes, but for sprouting purposes, we use one 8 or 9 inches in diameter with sides 2 1/2 inches high. The weave is a tea strainer weave and the fiber is not shellacked. Larger more open weaves are necessary for big sprouts like sunflower China red pea, buckwheat and wheatgrass that have large root systems.

Hydroponic vs. Soil Grown

Hydroponics involves the growing of plants without soil. Nutrients come from the water supply or, in commercial operations, through synthetic fertilizers added as liquid food. Our method uses only water as the source of nourishment for the growing plant, so it is primary importance that the water source is pure. Liquid kelp, available in natural food stores, can be added as additional plant food and a natural fertilizer. Add the kelp first during soaking and or more approximately halfway through the growth cycle. Put the diluted kelp solution in a bowl and place the basket of sprouts in it. The roots will soak up the nutrients from the solution. Sprouts grown with the aid of this liquid vitamin-drink taste sweeter. Generally, plants grown in a non-soil environment are less nutritious than those grown in healthy soil. But because these seeds are so rich to begin with and soil on commercial farms today is so poor, these hydroponic sprouts are still far healthier than commercial vegetables. However, if you wish the maximum nutrition possible, and are willing to invest the time, grow all sprouts in organic soil.

Why a Sprout Bag

Sprout bags are a relatively new concept in sprouting. Although jars have been synonymous with sprouting since its inception, the advent of the sprout bag is revolutionizing sprouting. Bags have many advantages over jars. Sprout bags save time, space and hassle. Say goodbye to rubber bands, special lids, musty cheesecloth, angled jar racks and broken glass. Just immerse the bag in water, then hang it on a hook or knob, a faucet or just lay them in the dish rack. Where jars only breathe thought a relatively small mouth, sprout bags yield perfect drainage and aeration on their entire surface. Fungus and growth problems occur because of too little air and too much moisture. Even your refrigerator will be happier when your remove all those bulky jars and replace them with sport bags. They take up less space the more you eat. And don’t leave home without one. Sprout bag easy travelers. Take them with you on your next trip. They pack into lunch boxes, hang happily from your pack, like long boat rides and enjoy the branch of a shady tree. Unlike jars, they never break.

Sprout History Lesson
Dark Ages
The Jar
Modern Age
The Sprout Bag
Description: Old fashioned method, cumbersome. Requires cheesecloth, screens, rubber bands. Cheesecloth collects bacteria. Description: Made from the natural fibers of the Flax plant. Hand processed. No chemicals. Discovered by Sproutman circa 1979.
Time: Time consuming 3-step process. Fill up, pour out, then tilt at an angle to store and drain. Time: Fast. Convenient 2 step action. Dip in water, hang on hook or knob.
Space: Takes up lots of shelf space and precious refrigerator space. Space: Bags expand or contract according to amount of growth and consumption.
Air: Poor circulation. Air is limited by the narrow size of the opening. Air: All sprouts get equal air. Good aeration prevents mold.
Drainage: Incomplete. Mold created by stagnant water at bottom of jar. Drainage: Complete drainage without tilting or waiting. Good drainage prevents mold.
Breakage: Requires extra care. Difficult to transport. Accidents ruin crop. Durable: Actually 20% stronger wet than dry.
Size: Small jars overflow. Sprouts get little air. Hands can’t get inside narrow opening. Takes up space. Portable: Lightweight, unbreakable. Great for traveling or camping.
Will Sprout: Sufficient for most beans and grains with some exception. Will Sprout: All nuts, grains, beans, legumes, vegetables, galatinous seeds.
Advantages: Holds 3/4 Gallon. Remains moist but not wet.
  1. Soak your seeds in a jar of pure water overnight
  2. Pour soaked seeds into pre-moistened sprout bag rinse and hang bag on hook or knob.
  3. Rinse bag simply by immersing it in water rinse twice per day, no more than 12 hours apart, a minimum of 30 seconds.

Art Of Draining

If there is an art to rinsing sprouts, then there is also an art to draining. Sprout bags are easy. Hang your sprout bag to drain hook or knob. Small hooks are easy to install and the sprout stops dripping after only a few minutes. If you find it inconvenient to hang, set the well drained bag on a dish, a dish rack or even a clean oven or dishwasher rack. Always keep your bag in a medium to-warm spot and away from dry air or drafts which dry the out. Ideally, they should remain moist between rinsing.

Nature Does the Rest

Now, the sprouts are tucked away in their comfortable natural fiber home. Neither the grains nor the beans require darkness to grow, nor do they need light. Any light will do. Keep them in a neutral place that is convenient for you. Most beans will mature in 4 or 5 days while the grains take 2-4 once mature, store them in the refrigerator and rinse once every second or third day. They will keep for one to two weeks.

Best Seeds for Growing in the Sprout Bag
Number of Days till Maturity
Lentil [4-5] Soybean [4]
Adzuki [4-5] Hulled Sunflower [2]
Mung [4-5] Peanut [7]
Green Pea [4-5] Garbanzo [4]
Hard Wheat [2-3] Chia [12]
Soft Wheat [2-3] Flax [2]
Rye [2-3] Triticale [2-3]
Kamut [3-4] Red Pea [4-5]
Fenugreek [5-7]

Large beans such as lima, navy, kidney, black bean, etc. are poor sprouters. Germination these beans is generally between 40% and 60%. That means that half the beans sprout while the other half rot. The bad beans infect the good beans leaving you with a moldy mess. Grocery store beans are especially poor sprouters because many commercial brands are scrubbed so clean they become sterile. Big beans do better in a sprout bag than in a jar because the improved aeration and drainage. If you are going to sprout these beans, they do better if rinsed more often than other sprouts. Rinse 3-4 times per day for best results.

Grains such as hard wheat, soft wheat, rye, triticale are good sprouters. Rice, quinoa, oats, barley and millet, however, are a different story. Oats, barley and millet fall into a special group since they cannot sprout in the popularly available form. These grains as found on your grocery shelves are husked for cooking. The husk is heavy jacket that protects the seed. It is not just another fiber like the bran in wheat. This fiber is a coarse ligneous cover that impossible to chew unless you are a horse. (Lignin is a woody cellulose.) Cooking does not help either. In order to sprout these varieties you must obtain the agricultural unhusked whole seed which you can only obtain from farm seed companies.

Rice is another matter. Unless you have your own rice pattie it is extremely difficult to sprout. Rice grows in marshy flooded lands and has a long gestation period. This plus its small shoot makes it impractical for home sprouting. Quinoa can only grow with its saponin rich sheath (jacket) on and intact. Unfortunately this is not how it comes when you purchase it at the health food store. Alfalfa radish clover fenugreek and other leafy green vegetable sprouts can grow in a sprout bag but because of their desire for sunlight you will get better results using a vertical sprouter. Sprout bags are so versatile that they can even sprout the gelatinous seeds like chia flat psyllium and cress.

Life Expectancy

With proper care most home grown varieties last from one to two weeks after harvest. One of the most important steps in extending the life of your sprouts is cleaning them. Cleaning means washing away the hulls. Hulls are inert (dead) matter that decays and can ruin your crop if not removed. After harvesting clean your sprouts well in order to get the most longevity from them.


The need to refrigerate your sprouts depends on these factors:
a) Their age and condition
b) Temperature or season
c) Quantity available vs. capacity to consume

Once mature you will have to refrigerate your sprouts for at least part of the time. How often depends on their condition. Identify an unhealthy sprout by its…

a) Bad odor
b) Soft or soggy spots
c) Drying or darkening of roots
d) Darkening or losing color

Bad odor is the first sign that sprouts are aging. You will smell a problem before you will see it. Texture is the next clue. Young sprouts are firm when fresh. Older sprouts will develop areas that are soft or soggy. Examine the underside of the basket where root system comes through and you will see how the roots show signs of deterioration long before the tops. The roots may look brown or dried out. Eventually the tops will tend to lose their richness of color and darken too. If you see any of these signs sprouts must be refrigerated.

Refrigerator Storage

Use this method only for storage in the refrigerator or harvest and place sprouts in a glass or plastic container. Remember sprouts will not survive as long in the hot weather. They suffer from a condition known as root rot something similar athlete’s foot. The treatment: keep them cool and clean.

Hydrogen Peroxide For Prevention of Mold

As surprising as it may sound Hydrogen Peroxide similar to the kind that sits on drug store shelves across America has become a rising star as a healing agent in alternative therapies for degenerative diseases including even AIDS and cancer. What is Hydrogen Peroxide? H2O2=H2O + O or …water plus an extra oxygen molecule. Water and oxygen are the two most vital elements of life but how does it fight disease? Therapeutically the extra oxygen is used to increase the overall oxygen level in the blood. This hyper-oxygenation is wonderful for normal cells and strengthens the immune system. But cancer cells by their nature are anaerobic and oxidize (combust) in an elevated oxygen environment. Alternative health clinics in Mexico and West Germany have been using bio-oxidative therapies with impressive results and many individuals tell of its success in treating arthritis candida herpes and other ailments including the common cold. How does this relate to sprouts?

Mold growth is inhibited the use of Hydrogen Peroxide. When added to the soak water or the rinse water mold development can be reduced or eliminated entirely and the extra oxygen encourages a more robust crop. It is this oxygen that burns or “combusts” the mold. Pharmaceutical brands of peroxide have numerous additives stabilizers and buffers to keep the oxygen from escaping as well low 3% potency. Even so it is effective in destroying germs and is the best mouthwash. Food grade peroxide is 35% potent and l00% pure. Only 15 drops are necessary to add to your soak or rinse water. Let the rinse water sit for at least 5 minutes. The treatment need not be applied every rinse but only when necessary or once every 2 days as regular maintenance. It is an aid and a preventative but not a necessity. If you are interested in the therapeutic use of oxygen the book Oxygen Therapies by Ed McCabe is also an excellent resource on the different bio-oxidative treatments uses clinics and background information.

How To Apply H202 On Sprouts

Cautions on Handling H202. Full strength (35%) Hydrogen peroxide (H202) can cause temporary white spots on the skin with burning and itching. Use rubber gloves whenever handling full strength H202. Rinse the exterior of the bottle with water before and after using. As with all medicines and chemicals keep out of reach of children. Full strength H202 is not for human consumption. Always dilute before using. Avoid contact with eyes. Handle with care.

Method [1] Soaking the Seeds. Add 1/2 teaspoon of full strength (35%) H202 to the water in which you soak your seeds. Use 16 oz of soak water. The H202 helps disinfect any bacteria in the seeds and increases the amount of available oxygen and nitrogen to them Expect some seeds to rise and bubbles to form.

Method [2] Misting the Sprouts. Use the same dilution of 1/2 teaspoon of H202 in a pint (16 oz) of water. Spray the sprouts with a mister bottle once or twice per day for extra oxygenation and disinfection. Spray the sides and bottoms of the basket too! Misting with H202 does not replace regular twice daily rinsings with plain water. Use H202 after rinsing with water. Caution: Stronger solutions may burn the delicate tips of leafy sprouts such as alfalfa and buckwheat turning them brown or yellow.

Method [3] Soaking the Sprouts in a Basin. Soak your basket sprouters in a basin or sink full of water. Treat the water in the sink with the equivalent of a 1/2 teaspoon per 16 oz of water. This is just enough to hear a light fizz when listening to the baskets. This helps generally oxygenate the sprouts and keeps them free of mold.

Method [4] Treating the Baskets. Pour full strength 35% H202 into a large pot with a lid and immerse your baskets in the solution. Let sit for 4-8 hours then strain and recycle the H202 back into its original bottle. This treatment for new or old baskets sterilizes the baskets and makes and makes them resistant to mold.

Treating Grains and Beans. Because they do not have delicate green leaves grains and beans like wheat garbanzos peanut soybeans etc. may be soaked in a stronger dilution of H202. Use 1 tsp per 16 ounces of water. Caution: Do not soak your sprout bag in H202. Its natural fibers will be weakened by the oxidizing action of the peroxide.

Mold Discoloration. If mold does develop it can create or dark spots on your baskets. Used early H202 will prevent development of mold and thus its discoloration. Although H202 stops mold the 35% concentration may not be strong enough to bleach out all the dark stains. Bad stains can be removed another strong oxidizer Clorox bleach. Mix a 1 to 1 Clorox to water solution and submerge the stained basket. Let soak until bleached clean. Bleach is not as environmentally desirable as H202.

Growing Wheatgrass in Soil. When growing wheatgrass soil mold can develop on the soil surface. Using a mister bottle spray the surface with a 1 teaspoon per 16 oz H202 dilution. A loose soil mixture of 50% peat moss and top soil is helpful.

Care for House Plants. H202 can help eliminate mold buildup on clay plant pots and saucers and control the infestation of some small insects which attack plant foliage. Spray on 1 teaspoon per 16 oz of water. Stronger dilutions may be acceptable depending on the hardiness of the plant. For spraying directly on leaves test the concentration first on a small area.

Natural Elimination of Mold. Mold is a fungus which thrives in moist environments and poor ventilation. Like all microorganisms it needs time to develop. Regular rinsing with strong water pressure mechanically removes the mold bacteria before they can take hold. The best prevention of mold problems is the daily rinsing of your sprouts with good water pressure. H202 is not substitute for rinsing.

Black Oil Sunflower. The biggest of the bunch. A towering blossom of health. Four percent protein-more than spinach! Takes approximately 10 days to mature. With the black oil sprouting variety 99% of the shells fall off naturally. Has a tremendous appetite for water. The shells themselves (not the seeds) are prone to fungus. Rinse thoroughly twice per day (don’t miss) with plenty of water pressure and leave plenty of air in the greenhouse tent. Remove them with a fork and flush the area clean. Sunflower-can you guess-likes the sun. Just make sure they do not get too hot. Plenty of rinsing cools them and helps the shells slip off. Basket method.

Radish. Watch out. This is a hot one and can bite! Respect your radish and it will provide many happy meals for you. Takes 5-6 days to mature. Shells fall off easily. A white fur is common to see growing during early growth. This indicates watering is not adequate either in terms of pressure volume or frequency. The white fur is harmless and easily rinsed away. Don’t let it go too far or it could lead to mold China Rose Radish is the best sprouting variety. It has beautiful colored leaves and red stalks. Radish will clear clogged sinuses and chest. Great to mix with milder varieties. Basket method.

Cabbage. A little guy with a light green complexion and a notch at the top of the head. Takes 5 days to mature. Because of its small size Cabbage finds it more difficult to root into the basket weaves than other sprouts. Try not to disturb the seeds’ orientation during days 2-4. This is the critical period when it attempts to root. Once they root they are rather tight-fisted and unlike the others need to be yanked out in lumps. Lots of seeds remain on the bottom. The seed jackets can mold so rinse them out and rinse harvested sprouts as well. Basket method.

Turnip rutabaga kale and rapeseed are exotic members of the cabbage family. Black mustard looks like the cabbage family but much hotter. These are delicious sprouts especially if you like cabbage but they are hard to find 5-6 days maturity. Basket method.

Alfalfa. The most famous sprout and a celebrity to whom all others owe a debt of gratitude. Alfalfa gets its name from the Arabic “al falfa” father of all foods. One of the richest sources of chlorophyll and magnesium as witnessed by its dark green color. Mild tasting. It holds on to its seed jackets tightly and matures in 7 days when 90% of them have fallen. Rinsing in the inverted position (see p. 17) successfully eliminates most hulls. Sensitive to hot temperatures and direct sunshine. Alfalfa will decay if it gets too hot indicated by a softening (mushiness) of the stalk and an ammonia smell. Avoid this during hot weather by rinsing more often and with cold water. Keep in a shady spot. Basket method.

Red Clover. A cousin of alfalfa considers itself the prettiest of all sprouts and whether or not you agree it is certainly one of the fastest and easiest to grow. It matures in only 6 days. Although it is not quite as tall as Alfalfa it has a sharper flavor a larger leaf and a lighter green complexion. It surrenders its hulls easily making it the simplest of sprouts to clean. Don’ t miss this grand lady. Basket method.

Crimson Clover. There are many kinds of clover but crimson has the largest leaf. A cousin of alfalfa it has all the same characteristics especially regarding hot temperature. It is even more sensitive to heat than alfalfa It relieves its seed jackets or hulls readily-more than any other seed providing a clean green salad free of hulls. This clover is related to the famous 4-leaf clover and other clovers blooming on your lawn in the spring. Basket method.

Buckwheat. Buckwheat is actually not a wheat at all but an herb which is good news to those of you with wheat allergies. It is quite big-4-5 inches tall and rich in B-vitamin factors like choline and inositol. Buckwheat takes approximately 10 days to mature and is ready when 90% of its hulls have fallen off. You’ll never get 100% hull removal so don’t try because the seeds ripen at different rates. Harvest by yanking out a 1 inch handful and either washing or cutting off the hulls at the roots. Because the hulls are so large they can develop fungus. Take special care washing the buckwheat seeds during the rooting stage (First 5-6 days). Good thorough washing of the seeds and the baskets eliminates mold. Buckwheat needs light warmth and moisture in order to maximize hull drop-off. Basket method. (For more on buckwheat see p. 146)

Garlic & Onion Chives. The healthiest form of these vegetables is the young plant. These healing foods are easier to digest and rich in chlorophyll at this early stage of their development and they possess all the mysterious cell factors that make these foods famous in folklore and herbal medicine. Chlorophyll neutralizes the famous odor. The young chives take 14 days to mature. The black seed jackets hang on tenaciously. Surrender to them they are okay.

China Red Pea. This bean makes pea greens 4-6 inches tall! Lots of fiber in the stalks mild taste. Take care to let the anchor in the basket. As your crop matures wash away fallen husks and seed matter which are prone to decay. Cousin of mung. Matures in 8-10 days. Can also be sprouted in bag for 3-4 days on this bean later.

Kamut Egyptian Wheat. A high protein (18%) big brother of American wheat (12%). It’s delicious. Takes 3-4 days the sprout bag for the shoots to grow to half the size of the berry. This is the right length for making a delicious sprout bread. Shake the grains within the bag to keep them from rooting into the fabric walls.

Soft White Wheat. This whole grain has no relation white flour. The term “white” refers to its golden color. This grain has less protein and gluten than regular wheat and is used for pastry flour in the baking trade. Sprout it in the sprout bag for two days to make sprout crackers and cookies or 3-4 days for snacks. Great mixed with raisins.

Shelled “Silver” Sunflower. This is the standard sunflower with the shell removed. Grow this sunflower in the sprout bag for only 2 days. Because there is no shell cover the air will oxidize the seeds turning them brown in color much like a half-eaten apple turns brown after a minute. There is no harm. Refrigerate sprout after 2 days growth. Enjoy in salads or as a snack. Great with raisins.

Lentil & Green Pea. Easy to grow beans taking 5 days in the sprout bag. The pea is still a raw bean and needs cooking or steaming for consumption in any volume.

Sproutable Barley. This is a special hybrid variety of barley that is grown without the usual heavy husk on it. Often when the husk is removed the germination is damaged and may be as low as 80%. You can use barley for making sprout bread just like wheat. Sprouted barley is famous for making barley malt the sweetener developed as the sprout converts its starch into grain sugar (maltose) The bread is delicious and “meaty” and can serve as a vegetarian “meat loaf’ substitute. Since we cannot eat whole barley because of its heavy husk this barley is a welcome alternative. However it is rare and hard to find. Sprout bag.

Mung & Adzuki. These small beans take only 5 days to grow in the sprout bag. They are Chinese cousins. Mung requires a little extra work removing the seed jackets although the jackets are hurmless and a good source of fiber. Empty your mung into a sink or pot full of water and skim off the green hulls as they float to the top. Mung is also famous for an occasional hard seed which won’t sprout and regrettably feels like a pebble in your mouth. Sprout bag.

Fenugreek. One of the tallest and greenest sprouts. A bitter herb. For best flavor always mix with alfalfa and clover. Fenugreek is easy to grow and mature in 8-9 days. Excellent for soothing the digestive track. Does best in cool temperatures below 75. It blends excellently with the other sprouts. Basket or sprout bag.

Wheatgrass. Wheatgrass is the 12-14 day wheat sprout that resembles the grass in your backyard. The grass is not eaten in salads because it is too fibrous to swallow. Although cows and horses do a fine job on grass humans don’t have the stomach for it. Instead the grass is grown for its juice. Soil method.

Gelatinous Seeds. Chia Flax and psyllium are all gelatinous seeds which create a small amount of pretty greens cherished more for their ornamental beauty than for their contribution to your salad As a group they mature in approximately two weeks (14 and are spicy bitter and mild tasting respectively.

Fennel. Fennel is a relative of dill and caraway but unlike its cousins is a good germinator. It is a vertical growing seed that develops delicate green shoot. Although they will also sprout in the sprout in the sprout bag a vertical sprouter provides the best growing environment for them. Fennel is a slow-to-start seed with a harvest time of approximately 14 days. Unlike other sprouting seeds there is no hull to far off. Both seed and shoot can be eaten and enjoyed. And what flavor! Fennel is an aromatic herb that adds zest to any salad or grain dish. It can even be included in sprout bread Fennel is easily digestible in the raw state and a small amount goes a long way because of its rich flavor. Soak 3 Tbsp overnight and germinate in a 6 inch basket or vertical sprouter for 10-14 days. Sprouts store in the refrigerator for approximately 1 week.

Characteristics of Good Sprouting Seed

Organically Grown Big unblemished leaves
90+ to 99+ Germination Shells fall off naturally
Fast rate of growth Tall and long shoots
No hard seed One year-plus shelf life
Clean no debris Resistance to root rot

Storage of Seeds Pyramids

Some years ago an interesting story about seeds was in the news. Wheat berries it seems were discovered entombed in one of the great pyramids. Wheat was a treasured grain considered to be the staff of life and was often served up as an offering to the goddess of agriculture by the Greeks and to the Goddess Ceres by the Romans. Even as early as 2 800 B.C. in China elaborate ceremonies were conducted honoring the cereal grains. But it was the Egyptian goddess Isis who is purported to have discovered the wheat grain in Phoenicia (now Lebanon).

The Egyptian kings often buried themselves with wheat so they could have food in the hereafter. All this is certainly fascinating but the real news story here is that after thousands of years the wheat berries still sprouted. Don’t worry you are not required to store your sprouting seeds in a pyramid although modern mini-pyramid domes are available and work well. But there is a lesson of the pyramids: keep your seeds dry cool and well protected to avoid contamination. In addition to these basic tenets of proper storage you will need to know a little about the storage characteristics of the different seeds. Armed with this information you can store all your sprouting seeds without fear.

Storing in Jar

Jars are the most common and probably the most successful storage method. First sterilize the jars then dry them thoroughly. An oven is a good place to dry your jars because a 200’F. oven sterilizes and dries them at the same time. If you dry your jars outside bacteria or other microorganisms not to mention dust and other particulate matter may contaminate the jar. Once you have a sterile jar it is important that you achieve a complete seal. Many lids have rubber washers in them which provide a moisture proof seal. Other jars use cardboard inside the lids and still others use a silicone coating. All of these methods are better than plain metal to glass which makes an incomplete seal.

Placement is also important. Find a location that is less influenced by the elements-light temperature and air. Avoid direct sun and heat. Cellars are traditionally the best storage areas. If you store your seeds there keep your jars elevated so as to avoid mice vermin and floods. If your quantities are small and manageable in the kitchen keep them in cabinets. The lower cabinets may be preferable to the higher ones because heat rises and collects in the highest spot.

Seeds Sensitivity to Temperature & Storage

Hard Seeds Less Hardy Very Delicate
Alfalfa Barley Shelled Sunflower
Cabbage Buckwheat Whole Sunflower
Red Clover Corn
Fenugreek Peanuts
Chia Hard Wheat
Kale Soft Wheat
Mustard Millet
Red Radish Flax
Turnip Quinoa
Psyllium Oats
Adzuki Rye
Soybean Triticale
Green Pea Lentil
Mung Bean Garbanzo

Kamut Egyptian Wheat

If you hear the name Kamut get excited. It’s wheat. Yes there are thousands of wheats all members of the triticum family but Kamut is different. It’s 4000 years old. It was brought to this country after excavation from an Egyptian tomb near the Nile River in Dahshur Egypt. Because the tomb was so dry the grain never lost its vitality. Talk about seed storage! Only 36 kernels were brought to the U.S. in 1950 and planted in Montana. Six years later 1500 bushels of this Egyptian borne wheat were produced. Big deal? It wouldn’t be except that this wheat is different. Each kernel is 2 to 3 times larger than common spring wheat and it is 17%-18% protein as compared to an average 12% protein for regular spring wheat. It is also lower in carbohydrates and higher in lipids (fat) so it has more calories.

Of course like all wheat there is no cholesterol. Kamut is higher in 8 of the 9 minerals commonly found in wheat including significantly more magnesium and zinc. The yield is also better and it is drought resistant.No interest was shown in the grain for years and it was sold a cattle feed until the mid-1980’s. Today Kamut (pronounced “kamoot” after the word for “ancient wheat”) is popular in macrobiotic circles and is used in whole wheat pastas and puffed wheat cereal It sprouts easily and has a delicious wholesome taste-great for sprout breads cookies and snacks. Although it is still hard to find keep your ears open to hear more about this new/old exciting variety of wheat.

Nutrition Value of Kamut vs. Average Wheat [6]

Average Wheat Kamut
WATER 11.5 9.8
PROTEIN 12.3 17.3
FAT 1.9 2.6
CALCIUM 30.0 31.0
IRON 3.9 4.2
MAGNESIUM 117.0 153.0
PHOSPHORUS 396.0 411.0
POTASSIUM 400.0 446.0
SODIUM 2.0 3.8
ZINC 3.2 4.3
MANGANSE 3.8 3.2
NIACIN 5.31 5.54
THIAMINE 0.42 0.45

Ancient Grain

About one hundred and fifty years ago bananas were unknown in the United States and peanuts were only eaten by slaves. So who’s to say that an old South American grain called Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) won’t become a popular American staple. It is uncanny that such a wonderfully tasty and nutritionally important food could be lost forgotten and even shunned in its native land. Quinoa was grown by the Incas on terraces in the Andes Mountains in Peru Bolivia and Chile the same places where it is grown by farmers today. It is a hardy plant which resembles the weed lambs quarters. It thrives in low rainfall high altitudes and survives when other food crops cannot. The Incas would grind it into flour for breads biscuits use its leaves for vegetables burn the stalks for fuel and use the saponin from its soak water as a soap. But today even in areas where production is greatest it is hard to find quinoa in a restaurant.

People are embarrassed to admit knowledge of it because of cultural ignorance and radio and television commercials which promote refined foods imported from other countries. How sad considering they are literally sitting on a nutritional gold mine. Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain with an average of 16.2% and some varieties as high as 20%. Some wheats come close to matching quinoa’s protein content but corn barley and rice are no competition. Like soybeans quinoa is exceptionally high in lysine as well as other amino acids Phenylalanine Tyrosine Cystine and Methionine. This makes it very compatible with other grains which as a group are low in lysine and with soybeans which is low methionine and cystine. In fact its over all amino acid make-up is similar to milk!

Selected Mineral Comparison of Grains [8]

Mg per 100 grams of weight

Calcium Phosphorus Iron
Quinoa 141.0 449.0 6.6
Wheat 36.0 224.0 4.6
Yellow Corn 6.0 207.0 3.7
White Rice 8.0 143.0 – –

Latin Names For Sprouting Seeds

Radish Rahpanus sativus
Wheat Triticum T. Vulgare T. Aestivum
Sunflower Helianthus Helianthemum
Fenugreek Trigonella Fenum Graecum.
Alfalfa Medicago sativa. Lucerne.
Clover Trifolium incarnatum
Green Pea Pisum sativum
Adzuki Phaseolus Angularis
Mung bean Vigna radiata
Author: Steve Meyerowitz