Introduction: Sprouting Your Own Sprouts

About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific I…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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