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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

My Sprout Growing Operation

I know, I know. This may be of no interest to many of you. But for the one person who may be interested, I wanted to show just how un-sophisticated it is to grow your own sprouts.

I keep sprouts at all three stages, at all times. When the finished batch is first refrigerated, I start a new jar of lentils soaking. The middle batch would be about halfway sprouted at this point, and those new ones would be lentils soaking in water overnight. Within 3 or 4 days, the finished batch would be nearly consumed, the middle batch would be a day away from finishing, and the newest batch would be about 3 days in (4 or 5 days from finishing). I will keep this up until our kale comes back in March for a last harvest before going to seed. 

right to left for the sprouts progression -- 1) newly sprouted, 2) almost done, 3) fully done and in process of consuming
I use repurposed food jars and pyrex baking dishes
the jars are from salsa, queso, natural peanut butter, and instant coffee --
these sprouts are 1 day away from being completely sprouted

these sprouts were completed about 4 days ago, keeping fresh in the refrigerator in a glass bowl
lined with a paper towel, then covered with a lid

As for how we use the sprouts, I add them to soups, stir fry, shredded cabbage when making cole slaw, and as is, for an impromptu salad. For a quick lunch on Sunday, I heated 2 cans of chicken and noodle soup (bought from the clearance table due to can dents) and tossed in handfuls of the sprouts as the soup finished heating. Delicious and easy. When I make a stir fry, I substitute sprouts where I might add chopped cabbage. In fall as we were finishing off the garden lettuce, I stretched what little lettuce we had with lots of sprouts when making salads. And now, when I make cole slaw, I mix in several large handfuls of sprouts with the shredded cabbage for taste and texture variety.

my lunch the other day -- reheated baked beans, toasted, homemade
whole wheat bread, and a salad of sprouts with ranch-style dressing

But the way, I most often eat these sprouts as a simple salad plainly dressed with oil and vinegar or ranch-style dressing. I use the sprouts in my lunch nearly every day. A handful of sprouts cost me about 2 cents in lentils and another penny in water for the soaking and rinsing. I can't buy a serving of produce at the market for 3 cents, especially not at this time of year. 

In addition, I haven't bought a single piece of equipment for sprouting. I use previously-used food jars and glass baking dishes. I don't even use cheesecloth or a screen on the opening of the jars. Super-duper simple and extremely little effort -- that's my kind of gardening.


  1. This is such a good idea! I'm glad you are able to enjoy the sprouts, especially at this time of year.

    I'm thinking of trying this. I've never bought sprouts at a grocery store, but used to eat them from salad bars as a teen. My youngest son, and I would eat sprouts. My oldest son, and husband would not. It is difficult to get those two to eat veggies. They only want meat, potatoes, corn, but will eat frozen mixed veggies with carrots, peas and green beans. Does everyone in your family like the sprouts?


  2. I love your blog full of practical frugal information. I started sprouting again after you mentioned lentil sprouts a few months ago. I think I will adopt your simplified sprouting technique for larger seeds and keep the cheese cloth covered jars for the tiny seeds like alfalfa.

    A Lidl opened near me in December, the day before the sell by Lidl puts 30% off stickers on products. On the sell by date items are marked with a 0.50 cent sticker and meats are marked $1.50. I bought 2 5 lb chubs of 73/27 ground beef for $1.50 each (ground beef for 30 cent/lb woo hoo). I made two meat loafs and cooked the remainder and froze the cooked beef. I followed your recent instructions for cleaning animal fat and freezing the clean fat in tablespoon dollops. I am so grateful for learning another frugal technique and not wasting food.

    Thank you for all the time and effort you put into your blog. Also I made caramel nutty bars and spiced nuts for Christmas and they were both a hit. -Robin

  3. Easily grown lentil sprouts--the greatest think since sliced bread. :) I think you are convincing a lot of people that this is a easy, practical, and frugal thing to do. However, as easy as it is to do, no one in my family likes sprouts well enough to grow them.

  4. Lol I was wondering if you could help me. I am making stuffed cabbage and will not use the whole head of cabbage. I am steaming it if it makes a difference. I want to use the extra cabbage in your soup and can I just chop it up and freeze the leftovers? Thanks, if anybody knew this you will.

  5. Hi Angie,
    I have to say, not everyone in my family is as enthusiastic about the sprouts as I am. I really do eat them (and love them) every day. The other members of my family will eat them a few times per week, and that's pretty good. I think it's hard to convince non-vegetable eaters to want to eat sprouts, not because of the taste. Maybe a little the texture, but mostly because they're different. If you happen to have some dried lentils in the house, it's easy to try out 1/4 cup to see if it's something you and your younger son would enjoy. Good luck with this!

  6. Hi Robin,
    Wow, what an amazing deal you got on ground beef! Doesn't that give you such a thrill when you come across a deal like that? I hope Lidl has many more bargains for you.
    Wishing you continued luck with your sprouts!

  7. Hi live and Learn,
    well, in your case, the sprouts would be a waste of money, so not frugal at all. All the more sprouts for me-e-e-e-e-!

  8. Hi Cheryl,
    Steaming it should do the same thing as blanching, so I think it will be just fine when used in soup after freezing.
    Enjoy the stuffed cabbage! Sounds yummy!

  9. I've read your columns on sprouts with interest. I've not really eaten them in a long while but was never opposed to them. I asked my husband last night about eating them and he was open to trying them again. I have a package of dried lentils in the pantry. I'm doing a pantry challenge and have run out of fresh lettuce. I'm thinking I may have to give sprouts a try as a substitute. By using them up I thin the pantry and provide some fresh needed produce-win, win! I'm going to review your directions from the earlier post and give them a try, starting with a small amount. Thanks for all of your great, frugal information!


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