I’m a huge fan of fresh sprouts: a handful makes a sandwich or a salad something delightful. In the old days we used any old jar, topped off with a paper gauze called a J-Cloth, held on with a rubber band. (Do those still exist?) It was simple, but it worked. I was a regular alfalfa seed sprouter, but got out of the habit. I’d purchase supermarket sprouts, but they weren’t always at the peak of freshness. Then there were the horror stories of people getting sick from tainted sprouts.
Enter the Seed Sprouter, which is a much more scientific operation than the jar method. It’s a system of stacking square plastic trays, quite shallow, with holes in the bottom of each bin to let moisture and air get to the sprouting seeds.
There are two trays for sprouting, a clear plastic lid with perforations for air, and a solid bottom tray to catch excess water. The perforated lid is meant to diffuse the water when rinsing the seeds, but I admit I just took it off to rinse.
It’s a very flexible system, as you can use both sprouting trays or just one, depending on how many sprouts you want to create at one time.
At 6.5 inches square, the Seed Sprouter is large enough to grow plenty of sprouts but not too large to keep on a shelf or countertop.
If you are a sprouting connoisseur, you’ll like the fact that each tray has a removable insert that divides the tray in half, so that you can simultaneously germinate different types of seed, keeping each type separate. I haven’t attained this level of seed sprouting myself, so used the multi-seed mix that was provided with the kit, and didn’t bother with the dividers.
The instructions for making sprouts is ridiculously easy. You basically just soak and rinse the dormant seeds with water, which starts them on their germination journey. Then you wait.
Once your seeds have soaked, leave them in a bright area for germination. Seeds germinate at different times, but between 2-5 days is the usual time frame.
Rinse daily. Keep them moist, and don’t ever let them sit in water. The bottom tray catches excess water after rinsing.
Once they have grown to the stage you like, put them in the fridge.
One area of concern with sprouts is food safety. It’s often recommended using bleach in your initial rinse water to ward off any pathogens. Previously with my home-made system, I’d never done this, and hadn’t experienced any problems. Mixing bleach and food didn’t strike me as appetizing—or particularly organic—but the Seed Sprouter instructions advised it “for maximum safety”, so I followed it to the letter. Better safe than sorry. There was no taste of bleach, as the dilution is very small. There are, however, differing opinions on whether “to bleach or not to bleach” seeds. Some say “it’s hardly worth eating sprouts if you feel the need to bleach them.”
You can instead use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution for disinfecting, and always make sure your seed sprouter has been washed well every time you use it.
Botanical Interests recommends hand-washing, although they say it is top-rack dishwasher safe. Maybe they know people don’t always pay attention to the top-rack caution. I did put mine in the dishwasher and it came out fine.
My seeds, from Botanical Interests, germinated extremely well and produced a tangy mix of sprouts. The unit is easy to use and allows for quick germination, and easy operation. Because the trays are flat, the seeds spread out more than in the jar method. This allows the sprouts to have better access to light so they can green up easily. With a good light source, the seeds can grow beyond just white sprouts and more into microgreens. I love knowing I now have an easy way to make such a tasty, fresh food.
Where to Buy
The Botanical Interests Seed Sprouter is available on Amazon for $19.99 plus $5.99 shipping. You’ll also find it on the Botanical Interests website for $24.95.
Now over to you – Have you tried a seed sprouter before? What did you use and how did it work? Let us know in the comments below!