Sprouting jar: how to grow your own sprouts in a jar


I grew up on a small, organic family farm and after a gap year spent working on an American ranch, I started studying agricultural science. Soil, organic farming practices, and plant science are what I am most drawn to. At home, when I'm not in our garden, you can find me in the kitchen, cooking and baking with our harvested fruits and vegetables.

Favorite fruit: Even if a bit boring - apples
Favorite vegetables: Bell peppers, red beets, zucchini, white cabbage

It is easy to grow your own sprouts in a jar at home. In this article you will find out how to sprout seeds at home with little effort.

Sprouts in a glass jar
It couldn’t be faster – after only a few days, the sprouts are already ready to harvest [Photo: grafvision/ Shutterstock.com]

If you decide to grow your own sprouts at home in a jar, you will be able to enjoy the harvest after just a few days. The small sprouts are not only quick and easy to grow, but they also contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. You do not need much space or equipment to grow sprouts at home. Growing sprouts in a sprout jar is especially easy. Read on to find out all our tips on how to make your own sprouting jar as well as instructions on how to grow them and our favourite seed varieties.

When is the best time to make a sprouting jar?

Sprouts are typically grown in the kitchen and are therefore unaffected by the weather. As a result, you can begin growing sprouts in a jar at any time of year. Aromatic sprouts are a delicious addition to soups, spreads, and salads, especially in the winter when fresh vegetables are scarce.

Tip: Supermarket shelves are well stocked all year but where do the vegetables really come from? Many consumers are now trying to eat more seasonal fruit and veg, instead of blueberries from Peru and asparagus from Egypt. A seasonal calendar makes it easy to see which fruits and vegetables are in season each month. If you choose to eat more sustainably, you may find that your winter vegetable options are limited. This is where growing your own sprouts can come in handy.

Which sprouts are best suited to a sprouting jar?

If you want to grow sprouts, you are spoilt for choice because you can use the seeds of many different vegetables, grains, and pulses. The germination period, taste and size of the sprouts differ depending on the species. Here is a list of some species that are especially well-suited species for growing in sprouting jars.

Type of sproutSoaking time (hours)Sprouting period (days)Taste and use
(Medicago sativa)
6 - 87 - 8Slightly tart and nutty; tastes great in sandwiches and in salads
Adsuki bean
(Vigna angularis)
6 - 83 - 5Blanch briefly before use; delicious in Asian rice dishes
(Trigonella foenum-graecum)
82 - 3Become bitter if grown too long; tastes like curry
Broom corn millet (Panicum miliaceum)4 - 82 - 3Perfect in muesli or salads
Garden pea
(Pisum sativum)
10 - 123 - 4Only consume when heated up; can be used like normal peas
(Foeniculum vulgare)
108 - 12Slightly milder than its seeds; great in fish dishes or on top of soups and salads
(Cicer arietinum)
12 - 183Slightly nutty; blanch briefly before eating
123 - 4Nutty; good in salads
Mung beans
(Vigna radiata)
124 - 5Sweet; good in Asian dishes
Red radish (Raphanus sativus var. sativus)6 - 84 - 6Hot and spicy; delicious in salads, sandwiches and dips
Common radish (Raphanus sativus)6 - 84 - 6Hot and spicy; perfect for salads, dips, sandwiches
Common beetroot
(Beta vulgaris)
84 - 6Red in colour; light earthy taste; good in salads and sprout mixes
Soya beans
(Glycine max)
154 - 5Blanch before use; tasty in wok dishes and soups
Sunflower Seeds (Helianthus annuus)2 - 41 - 3Mildly nutty
Sprouts in a sprouting jar
Radish and alfalfa seeds grow well in sprouting jars [Photo: Gudafuda/ Shutterstock.com]

Almost any type of sprout can be grown in a sprouting jar. There are, however, certain “slime-forming” seeds which are less suitable. This includes garden cress (Lepidium sativum), rocket (Eruca sativa), chia (Salvia hispanica) and flax seed (Linum usitatissimum). Due to the fact that they are very close together in a sprouting jar and easily stick to each other, they can start to rot quickly. These seeds are better suited to a shallow seed tray.

Sprouting cereal seeds can also be problematic because there is no guarantee of 100% germination, which often results in mouldy seeds. It is also worth noting that sprouting jars with larger holes at the top can result in smaller seeds simply spilling out of the jar. For example, when growing broccoli sprouts (Brassica oleracea), first test whether the holes are small enough for the seeds and if not, use a sprouting tray.

Nonetheless, there are still plenty of seeds left that are excellent for growing in sprouting jars. How does homegrown chickpea, lentil, radish, or soybean sprouts in a jar sound?

Sprouted seed varieties
There is a wide range of seeds available for growing sprouts in a jar [Photo: Patty Orly/ Shutterstock.com]

Tip: Blanch legume sprouts, such as chickpeas, before consumption as they contain substances that are inedible or indigestible when raw.

Selecting the right sprouting jar

A sprouting jar is a regular jar with a height of about 15 cm. The jar comes with a suitable lid that has little holes or a sieve insert. This is necessary so that the water can drain off and enough air can circulate through the jar. Additionally, there is usually a stand to hold the jar in an inclined position, allowing excess water to drain out. Sprouting jars come with metal or plastic lids and holders.

Sprouting jar with plastic stand
This sprouting jar has a plastic lid and stand to ensure excess water can drain out [Photo: Marie Shark/ Shutterstock.com]

Tip: How to make your own sprouting jar

If you would like to save money or enjoy crafting, you can easily make a DIY sprouting jar. All you need is a large jar, for example, a mason jar with a capacity of 500 to 750 ml, one to two elastic bands and a waterproof material with holes, such as a fly screen. Trim the fly screen so that it fits generously over the top of the jar. Then simply secure it with an elastic band. To achieve the inclined position, use either a shallow dish or a dish drying rack.

DIY sprouting jar with fly net
With a little creativity, you can easily make a sprouting jar [Photo: Dan Shachar/ Shutterstock.com]

How to sprout seeds in a jar

Growing sprouts in a jar is simple, and the path to grown sprouts is only a few steps long.

  1. Put 2 – 3 tablespoons of seeds in a kitchen sieve and rinse them under running water. Then place the seeds in the sprouting jar and cover with water.
  2. Soak the seeds for about 10 hours. This process is carried out for almost all types of sprouts, with the exception of cress and flax, which do not require soaking. After soaking, pour the water out and remove any non-swollen seeds. This water is excellent for watering plants. Place the jar at an angle to allowing the remaining water to drain.
  3. To create ideal germination conditions, place your sprouting glass near a window but without direct sunlight. The temperature needs to be between 18 and 22 °C.

How to properly care for your sprouting jar

There is only one important care measure to take to ensure that sprouting is a complete success: daily rinsing. Rinse your sprouts in the jar with fresh water in the morning and evening, then place the jar back in the holder to drain – this prevents bacteria and mould from growing.

While rinsing, take a quick look at your sprouts in the sprouting jar. If you find mould or a musty odour, you must restart the germination process from the beginning. The moist, warm environment in the sprouting jar is ideal for the growth of potentially toxic bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. According to studies, sprouts that are too old and purchased pre-packaged are highly contaminated with germs, which is yet another reason to grow your own sprouts and eat them fresh.

Sprouts with white fluff at the base
The white fluff around the root of the radish sprout is easily confused with mould [Photo: Aneta_Gu/ Shutterstock.com]

Hint: Some sprout varieties such as radish have a kind of white fluff on their fibrous roots that is easily mistaken for mould. However, these are fine roots that are completely natural and no cause for concern.

When to harvest your sprouts

Depending on how quickly the sprouts germinate, they can be ready for harvesting after three to four days. If you do not use all of the sprouts right away, you can store them in a jar in the fridge for a few days. Before beginning a new sprout cycle, thoroughly rinse the jar with hot water.

The microgreen trend also involves growing sprouts. Discover how to grow microgreens in our dedicated article.

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