Sprouting Nuts, Seeds and Beans

Nuts, seeds, beans and grains are full of goodness. But some people have a hard time digesting them. Try sprouting! It’s a wonderful way to get even more benefits from these healthy foods.

Benefits of sprouting

When these items are allowed to sprout, they begin to change: the nuts, seeds or beans must adapt to support the new sprout – the new plant. So their chemical makeup changes. Vitamins antioxidants increase, protein increases and starch decreases. Sprouted nuts, seeds and grains are also easier for your body to digest.

Sprouting nuts, seeds, etc. at home is easy. You just need a few supplies. Some instructions will tell you that you need special sprouting jars or lids from a health food store, but they’re not really necessary. If you end up doing a lot of sprouting, they might be handy, but cheesecloth and a regular canning jar work just fine.

What you’ll need for sprouting

Nuts, seeds, beans, or grains (find a list of good sprouters here, with their recommended soaking and sprouting times. There are also some things you may not want to sprout.)

  • A clean, quart-sized (or bigger) glass canning jar with lid and ring
  • Cheesecloth or mesh screen
  • Filtered or spring water (room temperature to slightly warm)
  • Mesh strainer

Fill the jar one-third full of your nuts or seeds. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Fill the jar the rest of the way with filtered or spring water (lukewarm, not cold). Top the jar with a square of cheesecloth and screw on the ring to hold it in place.

Leave this on the counter to soak — it will take anywhere from half an hour to 12 hours, depending on what you’re soaking (see this table for recommended soaking times.)

Sprouting jar

Sprouting jar

Sprouting jar

After the soaking time is up, drain the water from the jar (you can pour it right through the cheesecloth, or put a strainer over the mouth of the jar), remove the lid, fill the jar with clean water, replace the lid with the metal insert in place of the cheesecloth, and shake the jar to rinse. Put the cheesecloth lid back on and drain. Invert the jar and place it in the light, at an angle, so that water can drain off and air can circulate.

Inverted jar

Invert jars to drain

Repeat rinsing, draining and inverting, every few hours or at least twice a day, until sprouts appear (this will take anywhere from 12 hours to 5 days, depending on what you’re sprouting. Our lentils sprouted after 1 1/2 days, and almonds and sunflower seeds after 2 days). When your sprouts are ready, rinse them well in a mesh strainer, drain, and store tightly covered in the refrigerator. If desired, spread on paper towels and allow them to dry. Enjoy your sprouts within 2 to 3 days.

Sprouted lentils

Our sprouted lentils

You can use sprouted items as you would normally. Add them to soups or salads. Or eat them out of hand as snacks.