Broccoli sprouts: how to grow your own at home


I have always been fascinated by plants. There is still so much to explore and discover in the plant kingdom and I would love to be a part of it. At the moment I am really enjoying my studies in horticulture, focussed particularly on veg and ornamental plants.
Working sustainably and using eco-friendly integrated plant protection are very important to me.

Favourite fruit: Raspberries
Favourite vegetable: Tomatoes

Broccoli sprouts are healthy, taste good and are easy to grow. The mildly spicy sprouts are a nice addition to many dishes, especially in winter.

Broccoli and broccoli sprouts
Broccoli can also be enjoyed as sprouts [Photo: CGissemann/]

Besides the better known soybean sprouts, a variety of other plants can also be used to grow sprouts. Broccoli sprouts are particularly popular. They are both healthy and simple to grow. Read on to learn about the health benefits of broccoli sprouts as well as how to grow them yourself.

What are broccoli sprouts?

Sprouts are seeds that have just begun to germinate. No light is needed for germination, which is why sprouts are typically yellow or white in colour. At this stage, the cotyledons are visible, but not yet fully developed. In just a few days, the sprouts are ready to eat. Broccoli sprouts are versatile and can be used in salads, wraps, soups and sandwiches. They are mildly spicy and have a slight cabbage-like taste.

Broccoli seeds in a jar
Broccoli sprouts germinate without much light [Photo: yMediaPhotography/]

Tip: In addition to broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica), sprouts can also be grown from soy (Glycine max), lentils (Lens culinaris), mustard (Sinapsis) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa). You can find an overview of the suitable plant types for growing sprouts and their health benefits in our article on sprouts.

How to grow broccoli sprouts

To grow your own broccoli sprouts, you will need a container for sprouting, broccoli seeds, water and a little patience. Sprouting trays or sprouting jars can be found in many shops, and they make sprouting easier. That said, a clean canning jar and a filter cloth to cover it work just as well. The optimal germination temperature for broccoli seeds is between 18 and 22 °C. Pay close attention to hygiene throughout every step of the process − humid and warm conditions are also ideal for the growth of fungi and bacteria.

Instructions: Germinating broccoli sprouts

  1. Wash the broccoli seeds with plenty of tap water (e.g. in a kitchen sieve).
  2. Then soak the seeds in water for 6 to 8 hours. If using a sprouting jar, you can soak the seeds directly in the jar.
  3. Pour out excess water. If using a sprouting tray, distribute the seeds in the tray.
  4. Place the sprouting jar or tray in a dark, 18 to 22 °C warm place and water the seeds at least twice a day. Pour tap water into the jar for a few minutes and then let it drain out again.
  5. After 3 to 5 days the broccoli sprouts are ready. The first cotyledons should be visible, but not yet fully developed.

Tip: Sprouts do not keep very long and need to be eaten promptly after harvest. Kept in a closed container in the refrigerator, the sprouts will only last about two days.

Sprouts growing in sprouting jar
Growing sprouts is easy with a sprouting jar [Photo: Marie Shark/]

How healthy are the sprouts?

Broccoli sprouts contain comparatively high amounts of sulforaphane, which has an antioxidant effect. Such substances help the body to prevent diseases. In addition, they contain iron, phosphorus, calcium and zinc as well as vitamins B1, B2, C and E. However, because sprouts are usually consumed in small quantities, they do not substitute a balanced diet, but are a great supplement to one.

Can you eat broccoli sprouts raw? Yes, you can. Unlike sprouts from legumes, such as lentils and soybeans, broccoli sprouts and others from the cruciferous family (Brassicaceae) do not need to be cooked to be digestible.

broccoli sprouts in vegetarian tacos
Sprouts are a delicious, healthy addition to any dish [Photo: Magdanatka/]

Besides broccoli seeds, many other seeds are suitable for growing sprouts. Alfalfa sprouts, for example, are both aesthetically attractive and beneficial to digestive health.