Make an Easy Jar Sprouter & Start Sprouting Sprouts! [VIDEO]

There is no excuse for you to not start growing your own food. Even an apartment dweller or yachty can enjoy fresh nutritious sprouts without the use of land or soil.

While we travelled in our campervan for 6 months we always had a jar of sprouts on the go – alfalfa, broccoli, mung beans, lentils… and all we needed was a fresh water supply for rinsing. This is ideal for at the office, whilst travelling in a campervan or a boat, hiking and camping.

They are extremely economical with a couple of tablespoons of seeds resulting in a couple of cups of sprouts!

Sprouting Lentils and Mung Beans in our campervan

To start sprouting, you will need these materials:

A large jar

A small piece of flyscreen or mesh of some sort

A rubber band

Organic Seeds for sprouting.

  • Make sure you have preferably organic seeds that are specifically for sprouting and eating. Seeds for planting in soil are often coated in a pesticide and fertiliser.  Also make sure that the seeds haven’t been heat treated as some countries require it upon entry. This will kill or reduce the viability of the seed to sprout.

Types of Seeds

  • Alfalfa (3-6 hours soak time)
  • Mung Beans (4-6 hours soak time)
  • Broccoli (4-8 hours soak time)
  • Red Cabbage (4-8 hours soak time)
  • Radish (6-12 hours soak time)
  • Mustard (8 hours soak time)
  • Fenugreek (8-10 hours soak time)
  • Onion (8-12 hours soak time)

Some seeds requiring light cooking before eating to improve digestibility

  • Lentils (5-12 hours soak time)
  • Chickpeas (8-12 hours soak time)
  • Soybeans (15-24 hours soak time)

The Process

  1. In your sprouting jar, soak a small handful of seeds for between 4 hours (for small seeds like Alfalfa) and overnight (for larger seeds like Lentils) in fresh pure water. Add enough water to allow for the seeds to expand to twice their dry size and still remain covered.
  2. After soaking, add the flyscreen/mesh ‘lid’ secured on by a rubber band. Make sure you drain out as much of the water as possible.
  3. Put in a cool place away from direct sunlight and heat, keeping it upside down and on an angle so any excess water can drain out and fresh air can get in.
  4. Rinse the seeds daily, 2-3 times, with fresh pure water (under a high pressure tap if possible) and be sure to drain out as much of the water as possible. If you know you won’t be around to rinse your sprouts keep them in your fridge and rinse them when you can.
  5. When the sprouts are an inch long they are ready for eating. Some seed will not develop green leaves (eg mung beans) but seeds like Alfalfa will. When they get their first pair of leaves put them in indirect light for the chlorophyll to develop in the sprout thereby increasing the nutrition for you!
  6. Preferably get rid of the seed husk by immersing in water so the empty husk floats so you can scrape them off.
  7. Drain all of the water out and store in a sealed (but breathable) container in the fridge. Rinsing every few days, and draining well will prolong their life. They will last up to a week in your fridge.


  • When sprouting make sure they have good drainage and aeration and don’t have wet feet
  • Use fresh, cold pure water for soaking and rinsing
  • Use organic seeds specifically for sprouting
  • Don’t ‘oversoak’ or undersoak’ as this may kill the seed or not activate it enough for germination
  • When there are signs of mould or brownness they are starting to go bad. Don’t eat these ones

Other methods of sprouting include using a colander (for larger seeds), and even pantyhose is effective!

11 Responses

  • November 26, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Great video of how exactly to complete the whole process. I am keen to try this as I’m about to move about our sailboat and won’t be able to have much of a garden (but I will attempt some pot plants). I looooove alfalfa sprouts but find they can often be expensive to buy so this is a great alternative!

    • November 26, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      Nice to meet you Kelly! Me and my partner actually moved aboard our sailboat 2 years ago so sprouting and making ferments, preserves and drying things is the best thing you can do for your nutrition aboard especially if you are planning on cruising a lot or going offshore eventually, or just plain can’t be bothered going to shore to buy greens 🙂

  • SarahZ
    December 2, 2012 at 4:47 am

    I love this idea.. but I didn’t have cheesecloth or a screen so I used the little bag thing that garlic comes it, and it worked great for my alfalfa seeds! Extra bonus for reusing garbage.

    • April 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      nice idea Sarah! Also old (clean) stockings work too!

  • October 18, 2012 at 10:49 am

    […] you would like to try sprouting for yourself here is a great little video with written instructions as well, showing you how to sprout seeds in a […]

  • January 20, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Thank You for sharing this! I love it! I knew that there was a much more ethical way of sprouting than buying little plastic trays! This video has made my day!

  • Andrew Gronow
    January 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Great time lapse video. I was looking to buy commercially made jars, but I think I’ll do the DIY method. Thanks…

    • January 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm

      Why buy new materials when you can reduce waste and re-use materials that make a perfectly effective sprouter I say 🙂 The time lapse shows the true nature of sprouts- they are ALIVE!

  • Chantel
    August 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Can you sprout chia seeds? If so, how long should you soak them for?

    • August 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      Hi Chantel, I have read you can sprout chia seeds and they are delish, but it requires a different method to jar sprouting as the seeds are ‘slimy’ when wet and shouldn’t be soaked in a jar of water. So rather than soak, try putting them on a moist paper towel on a tray and just misting/spraying with water to keep moist until they sprout. Today I ate some mung bean sprouts from may jar sprouter and I didn’t soak them long enough as some were still hard. Mung beans need longer than some of the smaller seeds like alfalfa and chia.

  • Peter Bracher
    January 23, 2011 at 9:18 am

    This video shows how EASY growing you own sprouts really is! I loved watching the seeds actually growing in the jar over a few days.

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