Sprouting Your Own Sprouts




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

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.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

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.

The Instructables Book Contest

Participated in the
The Instructables Book Contest

1 Person Made This Project!


    • Kitchen Skills Challenge

      Kitchen Skills Challenge
    • Teacher Contest

      Teacher Contest
    • Teacher Notes Challenge

      Teacher Notes Challenge

    89 Discussions


    3 years ago

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


    8 years ago on Introduction

    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..

    5 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 3 years ago

    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


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    4 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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."


    4 years ago

    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 :)

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    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.



    4 years ago on Introduction

    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" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHGpqUXZFnY

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



    7 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    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?