Things You Can Do with Broccoli Sprouts
Broccoli sprouts are a superfood with cancer-fighting properties. You can enjoy them with salads, stir-fry, or any foods you want to add some extra crunch and texture to.
You can grow broccoli sprouts easily in a jar at home. Use regular broccoli seeds and soak them for 24 hours to help germination. Place them in a jar with some water, draining and rinsing after 8 hours and 3 or 4 times each day thereafter. Broccoli sprouts will be ready to eat in about a week.
You can also grow broccoli sprouts in a container with or without soil.
Why Do People Grow Broccoli Sprouts?
Broccoli sprouts are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods you can eat and, while you won’t find them in most stores, you can make them easily in your own home.
Broccoli contains an important chemical called sulforaphane, which is known to be a cancer fighter. A small amount of broccoli sprouts contains as much sulforaphane as broccoli itself.
You can eat broccoli sprouts in several ways, including on salads, in stir-fry, or on sandwiches and wraps. They add a slight amount of crisp and texture to the meals you use them on without adding extra calories or unhealthy carbohydrates.
What Do I Need to Grow Broccoli Sprouts?
The most common way to grow broccoli sprouts in your home is by growing them in a jar. You can find mason jars at a craft or gardening store or purchase them online.
The jar should be at least 4 inches deep to allow enough room for the sprouts to grow. Make sure your jar has been cleaned and sterilized to prevent anything from contaminating your growing sprouts. A cheesecloth and rubber band are also necessary during the draining process.
You’ll also need some high germination broccoli seeds. Purchase these from a trusted garden supply center. Later in the process, you’ll need something to drain your jar on, like a dish-drying rack.
growing Broccoli Sprouts in a Jar
Rinse your seeds thoroughly with water in a colander with very small holes. You should only use about 2 tablespoons of seeds per jar. Some people choose to soak the seeds for about 24 hours in distilled or filtered water, as this can increase the germination rate.
Without drying the seeds, place them in the bottom of your cleaned and sterilized jar. Fill the jar about halfway with distilled or filtered water, pushing down any seeds that begin to float to the top. All your broccoli seeds should remain at the bottom of the jar. Put the lid back on jar.
Place the jar somewhere you can see easily so you’ll remember to come back to it in about 8 hours. This is when you’ll need to drain the water from the jar and give your seeds some fresh water.
Caring for Your Broccoli Sprouts
Caring for your broccoli sprouts involves draining dirty water and providing fresh water in the jar to rinse your seeds every few days. The first time you’ll do this is about 8 hours after you first prepare the seeds and jar.
To drain the water, place a cheesecloth over the jar opening and secure it with a rubber band or the outer ring of the mason jar lid. Tilt the jar over so it’s at an angle appropriate for draining and place it where it can drain, like on your dish-drying rack. Allow it to drain for several minutes until all excess water is out of the jar.
You can then add a small amount of fresh distilled or filtered water to the jar through the cheesecloth, just enough to cover the seeds. Gently rinse the seeds by moving the jar in a small, circular motion. Again, invert the jar and drain on the drying rack for several minutes.
Now that you’ve rinsed the seeds, you can place the jar in a warm, dark location. You’ll need to repeat the draining and rinsing process 3 or 4 times each day.
In about 3 or 4 days, you’ll begin to see leaves. This is when you need to move your jar to a sunny location to allow the leaves to keep growing. Remember to continue the draining and rinsing process during this time.
After another 2 or 3 days, your sprouts will grow to full length and you can eat them. Remove the hulls from the sprouts before storing. You can then put the regular lid on your jar and store them in the refrigerator.
Other Ways to Grow Broccoli Sprouts
The most common way to grow broccoli sprouts is in a jar, probably because it requires little maintenance. However, you can also grow broccoli sprouts in a container with or without soil and yield the same results. This video by Khang Starr shows you how to do both:
Growing Broccoli Sprouts with Soil
You can use almost any small container to grow these plants in soil. Place a thin layer of potting soil on the bottom of the container and spread it evenly. Place soaked broccoli seeds evenly over the soil, and then cover with another thin layer. Cover with plastic wrap and store in an area without a lot of sunlight.
Once you notice leaves in 3 to 5 days, you can move to an area with sunlight. After another 2 days, your sprouts should be ready to harvest. Gently pull them from the soil and rinse in cool water, removing the hulls to extend the life of your sprouts.
Growing Broccoli Sprouts in a Container without Soil
If you don’t want to use soil, place seeds on top of a few wet, white paper towels in a box or container to grow broccoli sprouts. Cover the container with plastic wrap with some small air holes for ventilation. Keep the seeds in a warm area away from direct sunlight until they begin to grow leaves. Then, move them to sunlight and harvest as you would when grown in soil.
Photo by Julie Gibbons licensed under CC BY 2.0.