Broccoli sprouts are a brassica vegetable that are a rich source of up to six times the sulforaphane content of mature broccoli leaves. Sulforaphane is an inactive glucoraphanin compound activated when chewing broccoli sprouts vegetables. 

The sprouts are naturally functional foods due to their antioxidant and glucosinolate concentrations. Besides, broccoli sprouts have been studied and proven to possess numerous health benefits.

For instance, a study on the functional properties and metabolite profiles of red cabbage, broccoli seeds and sprouts found broccoli sprouts to retard diabetes development and significantly reduce the effects of AGEs formation in diabetic conditions.

Another review on the potential of broccoli found broccoli sprouts to be an alternative source of selenium for preventing prostate cancer.

As such, broccoli seeds continue to gain prominence in dietary health benefits, and this is what has largely ignited the curiosity among many people to grow them at home.

While growing broccoli sprouts at home can be easy, managing the sulphur compound in the growing seeds can be challenging. The sprouts can develop a pungent smell under certain conditions, such as poor airflow.

This article teaches how to grow and manage broccoli sprouts for an ideal taste of its potential health benefits.

Let’s dive in.

How to grow broccoli sprouts at home

Growing broccoli sprouts at home is easy, and you can do so in two different ways:

  • Using a sprouting tray
  • Using a mason/glass jar with a sprouting lid (strainer lid)

How to grow broccoli sprouts in trays

To grow broccoli sprouts in sprouting trays, you need a seed sprouter, a bowl, filtered water and organic broccoli seeds.

1. Acquiring broccoli seeds and sprouter

You can buy organic broccoli seeds and a seed sprouter from specialty online stores such as Sprout People.

The sprouter has 3-4 trays with filters and a bottom tray to hold water.

It also has a guideline for the number of seeds to sow in a single tray.

2. Preparing broccoli seeds

  • Wash the broccoli seeds thoroughly in filtered water
  • Put the seeds (about 2 tablespoons per tray) in a bowl
  • Fill the bowl with filtered water till the seeds are completely covered
  • Let the seeds soak overnight
  • Strain the seeds the next day

3. Planting soaked seeds in a tray

  • Add 2 tablespoons of the soaked broccoli seeds into a sprouting tray
  • Spread the seeds evenly with the help of a clean spoon
  • Rinse the sinks at least twice to keep them moist
  • The tray has a strainer, so it’s easy to rinse while the water stains out
  • Do the same with the other trays while stacking them together
  • Transfer the stacked trays to a dark room (away from direct sunlight)

4: Caring for the seeds

  • Lightly water the seeds in the morning and evening. Excess water will strain out through the strainer.
  • Pour out the excess water to avoid excess moisture which can spoil the seeds
  • Your broccoli sprouts should be ready to harvest in 6 days.

5. Harvesting

  • Unstack the trays
  • Your sprouted seeds will have a yellow color
  • Rinse the sprouts at least thrice
  • Expose them to light to develop a green color for about 45 minutes
  • You can place the trays on a sun-facing, partially-lit window
  • Get rid of unsprouted seeds through rinsing and straining (optional)
  • Your sprouts are ready for consumption

6. Preserving broccoli sprouts

  • Dry the sprouts. You can spin them around in the tray using a salad spinner to remove the moisture. 
  • Alternatively, you can lay down a clean kitchen towel, add another layer of paper towel, then use your hands to spread the sprouts onto a paper towel and leave them for about 60 minutes to dry.
  • Put them in a covered glass dish and preserve in a fridge for use. Not more than 7 days.

How to grow broccoli sprouts in a jar

The inverted mason jar kit contains two sprouting jars with meshed lids, jar racks and a ceramic base tray. Keeping the jar inverted helps drain any water left behind when rinsing and straining, as the water can spoil the seeds.

Here is a guide to growing broccoli seeds in an inverted mason jar:

1. Preparing the seeds

  • Put 2 tablespoons of organic broccoli seeds into the mason jars
  • Fill the jar halfway with filtered water and drain
  • Cover with the meshed lid
  • Let them soak for about 5 hours
  • Drain the water through the meshed lid, shaking to ensure all the water comes out
  • Roll the jar around to spread the seeds and stick them onto the walls of the mason jar
  • Set them on the rack to drain overnight

2. Growing the sprouts

  • The growing process involves rinsing and draining the seeds twice daily for about 6 days
  • To rinse, add filtered water into the jar, swirl it around and drain the water through the mesh lid. Tilt the jars on the rack to drain any remaining water. Repeat the process for day 2 to day 5.
  • On the third day, you should see some fuzzy white strains (sprouts).
  • Your sprouts will be ready for use on the sixth day.

Are there home alternatives to the mason jar?

Certainly! You can use materials that are readily available, especially in your kitchen.

  • The traditional sprouting method involved growing seeds in a wide-mouth glass jar covered with cheesecloth.
  • Cheesecloth would be trimmed around the edge of the metal ring or rubber band to prevent wicking of water.
  • However, this method challenges the draining of water, causing a pungent smell due to poor airflow.
  • To improve the traditional jar, replace cheesecloth with a mesh screen lid to provide a better airflow and easier drainage.
  • Keep the jar in an inverted position between rinses to drain any remaining water.

Why are my broccoli sprouts smelly?

Broccoli sprouts have a sulphur smell due to their sulphur content. However, they shouldn’t have a pungent smell.

A pungent smell can be a sign of fungi growing on the sprouts, especially due to poor water drainage of the growing vessel.

To prevent the “rotten-eggs smell”, ensure your growing vessel allows air circulation and easy water draining between rinses. The inverted mason jar and broccoli seed sprouter offer that.

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