How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts or “The Biggest Nutrition Bang for Your Buck”

April 19, 2012

Perhaps I should have waited to write this post until I have fully-grown broccoli sprouts, but I couldn’t wait to show you the status of this project! It all started with this 2-minute video from Dr. Greger (or see below) entitled “Biggest Nutrition Bang for Your Buck” where he says that “Growing your own broccoli sprouts is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve one’s diet.” Wowsa! How could this admitted health-food junkie pass on a statement like that?

Dr. Greger advises to use a Mason jar with a strainer lid to grow the sprouts, but I was sent this awesome sprouter by Victorio Kitchen Products to test. (Note: my sprouter has 3 trays which has been replaced by an updated model using BPA-free plastic with 4 trays, you can find it here).

The sprouter kit came with alfalfa seeds, but I passed on those and bought my own broccoli seeds at the health food store (they would be cheaper if purchased online, I am going to buy them from this site next time that I have heard good things about):

I am so mechanically un-inclined that I was a little nervous about screwing up the sprouter, but it really wasn’t that hard to figure out and the guide from Victorio was very helpful and easy to follow. I soaked my seeds overnight in a bowl of water and strained them before placing a tablespoon of the seeds on each tray:

The directions have you “washing” the seeds twice a day. Using the sprouter, that simply means to pour more fresh water into the top tray and let it siphon down to the bottom reservoir (you will see how this works if you have your own. It’s easy: I promise!). I was like a kid doing my first science experiment when I discovered the seeds actually sprouted the next day!

I think it might take up to 5 days to get fully-grown sprouts, but here’s how they looked this morning after 48 hours:

All up close and personal:

I moved them to a slightly lighter part of the kitchen to see if that helps along the process, although the directions say they shouldn’t be in direct sunlight. Apparently, I like to grow things because I also have hydroponic lettuce and watercress as well as fresh basil sharing space with the spatulas now:

I have never considered myself to have a green thumb and I am way too lazy/impatient to have a real garden, but my little sprouter makes me feel very gardener-esque. Before I go, I wanted to share a picture of this kale salad I made yesterday by simply pouring some of my Tangy Green Hemp Sauce over kale leaves and letting it marinate for a few hours. I served it with some roasted sweet potato, pinto beans and chopped green onions on top and called it lunch:

Have a great Thursday! Remember my new pressure cooker that I haven’t even used yet?

Well, I’m completely out of leftovers at my house so the only option I’m left with is to try and make dinner tonight using the pressure cooker. Wish me luck and I’ll report back tomorrow!

 

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

SusanM April 19, 2012 at 9:23 am

Hi Carrie,
I thought I’d describe what I’m doing as another newbie sprout grower. I am using a different container for growing my broccoli sprouts. I didn’t want to invest in special trays until I know that I’ll continue growing sprouts, so I used a quart mason jar with a mesh screen lid and plastic ring to avoid rust. I got a set of three different size mesh screen lids and the plastic ring from The Sprout People, where I also purchased organic broccoli sprout seeds. The screen lid allows you to drain off the rinse water (very important I understand) while not losing any seeds. You move to a large size mesh lid as the sprouts grow. So far so good. I had a reaction similar to yours when I saw actual sprouts growing, except I was like a kid back in preschool. It reminded me of growing something (possible pansies for Mother’s Day) in half-pint milk cartons. It was so exciting when the plant emerged and now it’s exciting the see the little sprout ends poking out of the seeds.

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Carrie April 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Hi Susan! Thanks for describing your process. I’m also glad I’m not the only one who gets giddy when I actually grow something. :) I can’t wait to eat my sprouts, but I think I have at least another day to go.

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shaeleen April 19, 2012 at 9:50 am

Hi! Love your site! Can you tell me more about your hydroponic lettuce? How did you start it and what is maintainenece like? Thanks!

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Carrie April 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Hi Shaeleen! I should have said that my hydroponic greens came from the farmers’ market, I wouldn’t have the faintest idea how to grow something that complicated. :)

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Paul April 19, 2012 at 10:26 am

Carrie,

I have been using a Victorio sprouter for 3 months for both alfalfa sprouts and it works wonderfully for small seeds, mainly alfalfa and broccoli. I have learned that rotating the dishes, bring the bottom one up to the top produces higher yields. Also leaving the top lid ajar while draining facilitates draining. Finally, keep a safety pin or push in handy to dislodge seeds that get caught in the drain holes.

My Victorio constantly outperforms my Easy Sprouter for small seeds when I use the techniques I describe above. An added benefit is because unlike the Easy Sprouter which is transluscent, the Victorio is transparent. So it greens as it grows instead of coming out yellow and having to wait longer to green it in the sun. I love my Victorio.

Angry Red Face :)

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Paul April 19, 2012 at 10:39 am

If I do it properly, my broccoli seed sprouting rates increase from 50-60 percent in an Easy Sprouter to 80 to 90 percent with a Victorio.

Poor sprouting rates have less to do with the seed source than making contact with water. An Easy Sprouter is conical (a cone) shape. Surface seed and side seed gets the water. The underseed misses it and doesn’t germinate (note use a fork to agitate seed exposure if you have an Easy Sprouter and want to increase germination rates). So getting the water to the seed is critical. And sometimes that doesn’t occur in a sprouter. Victorio has more surface area per counter space than an Easy Sprouter or Mason Jar. One more thing on the Victorio is not to overload the tray. Manufacturer recommends no more than 1/2 tablespoon per tray. I have had success at 3/4 to 1 tablespoon per tray provided I rotate the trays with each soak.

Paul (aka Angry Red Face)

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Carrie April 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Hi Paul, nice to hear from you! Thanks for the awesome info on sprouting, I am having a lot of fun with it so far. I am going to rotate my trays in my Victorio sprouter as you suggested. So far, I am getting a pretty good yield and I can’t WAIT to eat them!!!

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Candice M. April 26, 2013 at 7:55 am

Hi Carrie,
this is my first time trying to grow sprouts in my kitchen,
I bought the Victorio sprouter and Organic Crimson Clover Seed, Organic Red Radish Seed, Organic Alfalfa Seed ,
I am wondering is it normal to have white fuzzy hairs growing, this is day four and it looks kinda odd. I have followed your instructions and soaked the seeds the night before putting them in the trays, so am I on the right track with the way they look now?

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Carrie April 26, 2013 at 9:20 am

Candice, yes! The fuzzy white part is totally normal. Just make sure the sprouts don’t smell “funky” and give them a good rinse before you eat them. Enjoy!!!

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wendy (healthy girl's kitchen) April 19, 2012 at 10:55 am

Hilarious. Your pressure cooker can come hang out with my pressure cooker in the cabinet. If I had a sprouter, would it end up there too? I hope not! I have wanted one for a long time and yours looks awesome! I think I will be going to Amazon right now . . .
I have loved all sprouts that I have eaten, except for the broccoli sprout. I don’t know why, but the taste is just odd to me. I will start with the alfalfa!

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Carrie April 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Hi Wendy! I just tested my new pressure cooker using water so I guess it’s not destined for the cabinet, at least not yet. :) I am such a sucker for kitchen gadgets (could you tell?) but I am forcing myself to actually use them. The hard part for me is getting past the hump of worrying I will break something if I don’t know how to use it. Also, the pressure cooker has an element of fear involved. Check back tomorrow to see if I survive cooking with it tonight, ha ha.

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Shanna April 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I watched that too! I have been meaning to get a few more sprouters so I could start one every two days to keep up a fresh crop and have a variety ( I was thinking each of my kids could have one with their name). I love a veggie sandwich with about 3 inches of sprouts and I have put them in my green smootie too. The jars have worked well for me but I would like something with more circulation that takes up little space, like The Easy Sprouter at Sprout People.

Something I am trying that you might like- celery! When you buy celery just cut the bottom at about 2 inches or so and soak it in some water for a while and stick it in a pot! So far I have 3 growing on the table outside so the bunnies don’t get them. The middle just starts to grow into new celery-it’s so cute! Green onions can do the same thing, I have about 8 little guys who have grown 6 inches already! I read this in some comments on a frugal site and gave it a try since I eat wo much celery!

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Shanna April 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm

*so

sorry for so much exclaiming. sheesh

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Carrie April 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Hi Shanna! I love the idea of getting kids involved with sprouting and letting them have their own jar! Your veggie sandwich sounds great, too, I might have to make one of those ASAP. Thanks for the referral to Sprout People, I bookmarked that site for any future purchases, it looks really cool. Lastly, I had no idea that one could grow celery or onions from existing plants. I am game for growing anything that doesn’t require soil! Thanks again! Carrie :)

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Shanna April 20, 2012 at 10:18 am

Oops! Put them in a pot of soil after a little soak in water. Mine are just in a small (8in) flower pot.

The Sprout People site has VOLUMES of info. I got trapped in it for about 2 hours once.

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Carrie April 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Hi Shanna! Thanks for the info, I suppose I could handle the upkeep of a flower pot. :) I’ll watch out for the time trap of the Sprout People site.

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Robyn :) April 19, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Good luck!!

I bought some broccoli sprouts at Whole Foods, but keep forgetting I have them lol. I also have been forgetting to put beans in my salads and stirfry’s. I think I need to post some notes for myself now that I am eating healthier!!

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Carrie April 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Hi Robyn, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve finished a meal and realized I forgot to add an ingredient. The only way I combat this from happening is to lay out all of my ingredients before I start cooking. But, even then I sometimes forget to add something. :)

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Katherine @ Green Thickies May 6, 2012 at 10:10 am

Wow, I’ve just discovered your website and can’t stop reading! You write about everything I’m currently trying to find out about. Thanks for this article. I’ve just bought myself a sprouter and some seeds but they were quite expensive for the size of the packet. (Based in the UK) I didn’t realise Broccoli sprouts were so good for you and so cheap too, so I’m off to order some now.
I always add seeds to my Green Thickies (Green Smoothies with oats and seeds/nuts) to make them into a complete meal and this is a way to make them so much healthier. I don’t have much time as I’ve got a baby too, but I’m finding sprouts very easy to manage. Many thanks for all the great tips.

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Mike April 12, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Cool banana Carrie,
Thanks for sharing your goodness.
Mike (here I go sprouting!)

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