Introduction: Sprouting Your Own Sprouts

Picture of Sprouting Your Own Sprouts

A diet of seeds will give you scurvy. A diet of sprouted seeds will give you better nutrition than you have now. Yachties, survivalists, and Mormons count on sprouts as a way to thrive on cheap stored food.
There's not much to it. Soak the seeds or beans for a day, then rinse and drain them once a day.
After the first day they've magically become fresh vegetables.
Mung beans and lentils are the easiest to find and sprout.

Eat them quick! They'll keep growing and you'll have too much.
Here's a jarfull of mung I sprouted in the cab of my truck while driving south, camping and building my going-to-Cuba canoe on the way. Some sprouts are better grown in the dark. When exposed to light they start making green leaves. These are fine.

That's all you really need to know.
That and the fact that a lot of your food is contaminated with poison.
So you better find a source of safe water and switch to a diet of sprouts.

Step 1: Your Basic Mung Beans

Picture of Your Basic Mung Beans

Here are some dry mung beans I got at an Indian grocery store for $1 a pound or so. The broken ones won't sprout, but the others will. Mung and plain old regular lentils germinate with more vigor than adzuki, chickpeas, soybeans, or any other of the seeds I've tried. That makes it easy because dead seeds want to spoil. When there are no dead seeds your sprouts will stay good longer and require less rinsing.

Step 2: The Sprouting Vessel

Picture of The Sprouting Vessel

The sprouts need air. If you seal them in they'll die and spoil.
If they get too much air the ones on the top will dry out and not be as good, depending on your climate.
Condensation on the top can lead to mold problems. You'll figure this all out pretty quickly by yourself.

The basic sprout bucket is any container with a cloth or paper towel rubberbanded over it.
Here's what I use at the moment, it's a yogurt tub with some triangular vents stabbed in the top.
Some people like special sprouting trays with drains in the bottom. Maybe that's the key to sprouting adzuki (red) beans. I've never gotten those to not spoil.

If you've got fruit flies or trilobytes or whatever, use a cover that keeps them out, like the basic rubberband-napkin cover system.

Step 3: Exactly This Much

Picture of Exactly This Much

Put a cup or so of beans in the tub. Half full is way too much. They'll swell up and overflow the top, Rodents will feast and overpopulate, and plague will strike your village.
I think our spies sometimes use sprouts as a time-delay fuse to push a button on their bombs.
Anyway, don't put too many seeds in the jar.
If you don't use enough seeds you'll go hungry, also they seem to like company and turn out a lot better when the jar gets crowded.

Step 4: Soak 1 Day

Picture of Soak 1 Day

Put plenty of water in the jar, the seeds will swell up a lot. The water will turn sort of nasty, kind of what you'd expect from zombies waking up and sweating.
So don't think you can drink it. It's not good.

Speaking of dirty, my hands look like that because I WORK. It's honest clean dirt from fixing my old jalopy. If your hands don't have some dirt on them your soul is probably all dirty instead.

I'm using store-bought spring water to soak my beans because I'm on an old military base.
They were dumping toxic chemicals everywhere like maniacs.
Of course they thought it should be secret. Now every old military base is a superfund toxic cleanup site.
I suppose the active bases are creating tomorrow's toxic waste sites right now.

Step 5: And Drain

Picture of And Drain

Just up-end it over the sink for a while.

That's it! Then rinse your sprouts every day.
That means just pour in some fresh water and then pour it out again. This water doesn't get weird like the initial soak water, so if you're on a yacht or in space where fresh water is scarce, you can use it for something else after rinsing the sprouts with it.

Step 6: Soda Bottle System

Picture of Soda Bottle System

I used to sprout in these three liter soda bottles. I'd turn them door-flap down to drain.
The mung sprouts here are at the third day perfection phase, perfect for piling on a slice of pizza.
The lentils seen here have just been drained after the first day's soak. They can be eaten raw already, but will be better after a couple of days.

Those third-day mung sprouts can be put in the fridge and will stay just that way for a few more days. But the magical perfection of third-day sprouts is a thing of the moment, not to be clung to.
Don't be sad though, it shall return as yet next batch of sprouts springeth green.


dolorsg made it! (author)2017-01-01

thanks for the detailed steps!

Nancyg85 (author)2016-05-10

do the soda water bottles need holes also for drainage as i saw it in another video please info. Tks

celalboz (author)2011-02-15

to everyone who reads this, author says he obtained these monk beans from Indian grocery , is this beans may not be organic as in mice duds tainted which can give icola virus?
I also see that he has no health problem so can we assume, once you rinse them it is ok to sprout them? I would like an answer by anyone please..

DIY-Guy (author)celalboz2013-02-04

If mice "duds" are a possible problem with the seeds you have, it is ok to soak them with a diluted bleach solution for a time. Depending on the delicacy of the seed, some Internet articles mention 1:19 or even 1:9 dilution ratios using plain household bleach and water. Soaking times mentioned range from a few minutes to a few hours. The general consensus appeared to be that diluted bleach kills fungus, molds, bacteria, and surface virus contamination without harming the seed. Only be sure not to germinate them in bleach solution. I hope these anecdotal clues help you in your search for answers.

JessicaF80 (author)DIY-Guy2016-04-23

Cinnamon does the same thing with no risk of harmful chemicals. Just lather on the cinnamon and dont bleach your food. After all the point is to eat healthier

Sonnodeldrago (author)DIY-Guy2014-12-16

Beautiful info. Thx!

celalboz (author)DIY-Guy2013-02-05

Thank you for your helpfull explanations.

flammaefata (author)celalboz2013-01-16

It's advised to rinse the sprouts before you soak them overnight to initiate their sprouting. But I think you should research the specific sprout you want to start a little before starting with it.

blodefood (author)2008-04-09

Sprouting is wonderful! It's a great way to supplement your fresh veggies, especially in the winter. DIY is way cheaper than buying sprouts. If you don't have a lot of space, you get to do some quickie gardening on your kitchen counter in a very small space.

You can sprout almost any bean or seed you can buy dry in the grocery store. Dried chick peas, green peas and lentils make a tasty combination for salads, and soup. You can do the same with wheat and rye grains. You can buy packages of seeds at your health food store that have other seeds, beans and grains. These have soaking instructions on them which is usually 6 to 10 hours. Try sunflower or clover. In 3 to 5 days you have some yummy, supernutritious sprouts.

This instructable was great, because I didn't think of using a yoghurt container. I bought one of those sprouter containers that set me back $20. One thing though, I rinse my sprouts twice a day . I use a mason jar with a screen lid now where I can watch the progress of the sprouts and then put it in the light to green up the leafy ones.

There are some sees like amaranth and teff which are very tiny and should not be soaked. Use a mist sprayer. Other seeds like broccoli and flax should not be soaked, but laid out on paper towel as they form a gelatinous mass from their seed coats. Use a mist sprayer to water.

Do not eat tomato or potato sprouts as they are poisonous. Do not use lawn seed as this has been specially treated for lawn use.

shooby (author)blodefood2008-09-17

Wikipedia says that Kidney bean sprouts are also poisonous. I was pretty miffed, that's the only kind I have at home at the moment.

blodefood (author)shooby2013-10-29

Kidney beans, black turtle beans, romano beans, pinto beans and similar should be cooked. They are not poisonous, but just hard to digest. When they sprout tails they are ready for cooking.

bobwojo (author)blodefood2015-08-31

Kidney beans have a Toxin that is destroyed by cooking them..Read up about it here or here

flammaefata (author)blodefood2013-01-16

Thanks for all the info! I wouldn't have known about the broccoli and flax seed sprouting tip.

I see Wikipedia says "All the sprouts of the solanaceae (tomato, potato, paprika, aubergine or eggplant) and rhubarb cannot be eaten as sprouts, either cooked or raw, as they can be poisonous."

Sonnodeldrago (author)2014-12-16

I'm SO close to declaring that I love you. SO close. My love for you is sprouting,so to speak. God, I love a funny man. xo :)

jackhg (author)Sonnodeldrago2015-08-24

your funny!!!

gary.kupsak (author)2015-03-22

Just began growing mung beans. First two crops were very healthy. Tow questions.

1. Is there an easy way to separate the green hulls from the sprouted beans?

2. My grown sprouts taste somewhat more bitter than the store bought bean sprouts. Is there any explainable reason for that?

Thanks for you attention to these questions.


VanSophiaVn (author)2014-10-30

Nice post thanks for sharing keep the good work.

You want to make clean and safe bean sprouts at home??? Watch my video "how to grow mung bean sprouts"

wayne.carson.777 (author)2014-08-28

A good source for certified Organic Beans, Grains and Seeds is SunOrganic Farm. Great pricing and delivery to your door.

startree (author)2012-05-25

I was just going to comment what a great post this was and well written to boot, and howglad i was to find it etc, and scrolled down to see I'd already made the same kinda comment at some previous time. Now I'm off to write an instructable on how to go senile gracefully.

BigBadgers2001 (author)startree2014-08-02

Brilliant, lol.

Greensprouts (author)2014-01-15

I have a question. I just started a lentil sprout first time. After the lentils were soaked overnight I started the first rinse and found some skin/husk floating in the water. Are these harmful to sprouting? I read on some of the comments that broken or dead seeds should be removed as they spoil. Will the loose skin/husk spoil?

jackcday (author)2009-01-07

there are a lot of mormons on this site! :D

DIY-Guy (author)jackcday2013-02-04

That other guys comment sure did not sound nice! (But maybe since he's been there, he's got some point... somwhere... ah, I can't find his point. Can you?)

flammaefata (author)2013-01-16

Well I read about sprouting seeds somewhere, and since I started the whole process a few days ago and wanted to post how pretty my seeds are now I came across your great instructable!

I just used a random plastic food container I had and some plastic mosquito netting we bought the other day for our windows, secured with a rubber band. I sprouted lentils (after letting them soak overnight and rinsing them each day) and this is how they look on the third day!

Now I found an asian-type recipe I'll try (from Allrecipes). Thanks for the instructable!

masterclyned (author)2009-03-18

Im assuming by your plastic growing container that these don't require any light? Would light dry them out at all?

flammaefata (author)masterclyned2013-01-16

The Wikipedia page on Edible Sprouts says that yes, you can sprout some sprouts in the dark and others in some light (not direct light as this can dry out the seeds). But generally speaking the ones sprouted in the light are more nutritious (were able to photosynthesise) but the ones sprouted in the dark are sometimes more crunchy (and white, if you prefer that look). You can apparently also get more crunchy sprouts by putting a bit of a weight on top of them (not too heavy as you don't want to squish the sprouts).

Anyway, go read the Wikipedia page if you want, it's got a lot of interesting info :)

Capohanf (author)masterclyned2009-03-27

Actually there are two sprouting methods. One is the cupboard method where you put the seeds in a inclosed area and the other is on the counter top. Either way the seeds wll sprout. I hear the only diff is seeds in the cupboard don't taste as 'strong'.

Foaly7 (author)2010-06-27

Which of the two types of sprouts in this instructable is better?

Foaly7 (author)Foaly72010-06-28

And also, do you just sprout more when you eat all of your jar of them? (Probably a dumb question)

Foaly7 (author)Foaly72010-06-28

I know I'm asking a lot of questions about this, but I'm getting ready to try this kind of stuff, and this should be my last question on this instructable. Could you still sprout the seeds if you store the unsprouted ones with this "Alvin" vacuum canning thing? 

flammaefata (author)Foaly72013-01-16

Okay, I know you asked this two years ago, but I was interested and did some research.

Here are the links to the USDA's nutrient database for Lentil Sprouts and Mung Bean Sprouts as well as their data on the Nutrition Data website (lentil sprouts, mung bean sprouts) which gives you nice graphs about how filling and nutritious they are. (I think the Nutrition Data site is the better of the two)

All in all it looks like lentils are definitely the more calorific of the two (106 vs 30 kcal).  Mung bean sprouts have a higher "completeness" (spectrum of minerals) and "amino acid score" (spectrum of amino acids) than lentil sprouts (notably lentil sprouts have no tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid for humans).  Lentil sprouts have a bit higher vitamin C and more thiamin and folate than mung bean sprouts, but mung bean sprouts have much more vitamin K.

I would think either of them are great, mung beans might be a bit better though, and you shouldn't live on a diet of only lentils as you'll have a lack of tryptophan in your diet (but who lives on only one food source?) Anyways, have a look at those pages and you can draw your own conclusions too :)

As for your second question, when your sprouts are ready you can keep them for a few days in the refrigerator (like the instructable says - this slows down or stops their metabolic activity) or you can eat them all and start a new batch.  You can have several batches running at the same time (started a day after each other) to ensure you always have fresh sprouts.

For your third question:  I would think storing unsprouted seeds in a vacuum container would not damage them at all - I don't think they need air to stay in quiescence (their dormant state) as their dormancy is supposed to protect the seed until it gets the environmental signals that lets it know that it's safe to start growing.  For safety's sake I would try to use the seeds before their "Best before" date, but that said...

Once I threw out an old packet of lentils in the hopes that the birds would eat it.  It rained the next day and as all the beans were lying in water I thought they'd go off, so I threw them into the garden to serve as mulch.  Lo and behold, a few days later there were lentil sprouts *everywhere*.  So if the packet is old the seeds might still sprout, I'd just advise removing those that don't sprout as the dead seeds can spoil the rest.

loppy96 (author)2012-11-15

Ive been growing my sprouts in starbucks cups

oneaustin (author)2011-06-23

I was just looking for a cheap way to grow sprouts but got a few good laughs too!

aluce1 (author)2011-04-22

Okay, trying this with alfalfa and buckwheat. hey, it's what I got on hand at the moment. I might have some lentils somewhere in my food storage. (you don't have to be mormon to be awake, you know) I'll post how this goes with the buckwheat. it might give another option.

popcorn man (author)2009-01-06

I once read something online about sprouting brown rice, it mentioned something about soaking the rice in strong green tea rather than water. Apparently it stops the water turning "nasty" and hugely increases the nutritional value; perhaps it would also be applicable here.

cww (author)popcorn man2011-02-07

Brown rice has to be soaked for anywhere between 16 and 70hrs in warm water before being able to sprout like this. There is an instructable about it if you do a search.

Capohanf (author)2009-03-27

As far as I can find out you can 'sprout' ANY plant. As to wheather some are bad to eat, I think all that are normally thought of as food are safe. I wonder if anyone has sprouted Pot? Some seeds need to be roughed up though. ie. rubbed between fine sandpaper to make it easier for the water to enter and start the process.

cww (author)Capohanf2011-02-07

I've heard you should not eat sprouted tomato seeds and someone on another instructable said no seeds that become fruits.

startree (author)2010-04-22

oh you are funny! and a cool instructable too :)

vrkelley (author)2008-09-28

Reporting back. after trying this for 9MO! Great success! Thank you!

Back in Dec, I bought a pouch of mung seeds from theHindi store. The sprouts take a week and they do not look like the bean sprouts that you buy in the store (or the picture). What is the brand of mung pictured? I'd like to grow some that look like the bean sprouts they use in chow mein???

What worked well: Our grocery and health food stores have a section of canisters for sprouting. Expensive by the lb but a little lasts a long time. Their alfalpha and mixes taste and work better.

Kaldea (author)vrkelley2009-07-27

If you want the ones like in the picture I bought these and they looked the same

pleabargain (author)2009-06-25

You're a poet philosopher. Or a philosopher poet?

solo.card (author)2009-05-01

So once you've got your sprouts growing in the jar, can you eat the bean/seed too, or do you just pull them off and let it do its thing again... ?

Asura-Valkyrie (author)solo.card2009-05-01

If I remember my botany classes, that is a no on that one. Seeds have only one set of leaves, a root, and shoot inside to germinate given the right environment. The cotyledons are the very first leaves that come out of a plant holding all the nutrients it needs until it's true leaves form to preform photosynthesis. The plumules are the shoot that starts to pop out along with the root in the sprouting. If you took this all away, there would be nothing to help the cotyledons open. In other words, a dead plant. Best thing to do would be to eat the whole thing, because it won't be growing again.

Sorry for no image the first time.

tofuttibreak (author)2009-01-23

Three days later, I have sprouts! Thanks, this is exactly what I was looking for.

Aaronicus (author)2009-01-14

I'm ex-Mormon and I understand the HUMOR in bringing up Mormons whenever you're talking about survivalist and food storage stuff. If you'd wake up and stop seeing the world around you through the BoM filter, you'd realize that the rest of the world sees you as: polygamists (possibly with horns) and survivalist/food storage nerds whose women know how to can, bottle, and preserve. By the way, you can scale up this sprouting plan using those great 3 gallon buckets with the wide mouths that cat litter comes in at Sam's Club. So you Mormons with eighteen kids and four wives take note. :)

Penny (author)2009-01-04

If you want ideas on other things you can sprout, these folks have a lot of good information (they also *conveniently* sell sprouting materials!):

Superninjacamper941 (author)2008-11-02

What are you talking about with the mormons don't hate!! We don't survive off of mung beans we eat what you eat.

shooby (author)2008-09-23

Ok, just initiated the process. Unfortunately, I bought peeled mung beans (by Cantonese is only, do you think it'll work? If no one knows, I'll repost and let people know.

About This Instructable




Bio: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output ... More »
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