Do-it-yourself sprouting doesn’t require fancy equipment. It doesn’t even require any fancy sprouting kits. At the bare minimum, essential sprouting materials include a wide-mouth jar, a rubber band, and a fine-weave mesh fabric such as a piece of old curtain sheers or cheese cloth – items that many people have in their home. In an article I previously wrote, I give details for setting up this system along with two other homemade sprouting lid options.
The rubber-band method and other homemade sprouting lids work, but sprouting kits may make growing sprouts easier, cleaner, and more enjoyable. Here I will give a variety of sprouter kits to consider.
1. Sprouting lids
Sprouting lids are probably the most common type of sprouting kits for sprouting in a glass mason jar. Many variations of sprouting lids are available to purchase.
There are 2-piece ring and mesh combos made either from stainless-steel or plastic: metal ring and metal mesh, plastic ring and plastic mesh, or plastic ring and metal mesh. There are also 1-piece lids, most of which are plastic units that have built-in features to help angle or invert the jar for adequate drainage.
All sprouting lids should fit onto wide-mouth glass jar (1- and 2-quart sizes) to ensure adequate air circulation. Narrow jar openings don’t provide enough space for air circulation, which is essential for sprouting.
Good sprouting lids should not rust (not an issue with plastic lids). They should be strong enough to withhold heavier sprouts like beans yet fine enough to withhold small seeds like alfalfa. Metal rings included with wide-mouth canning jars are aluminum, and will rust with 1-2 uses. Plastic lids touch sprouts directly – something that may make health-conscious people uncomfortable. Stainless-steel mesh provides the best option for strength, durability, and food safety.
As for the outer ring that screws onto a wide-mouth canning jar, both food-grade stainless-steel or plastic rings are good options. A plastic ring doesn’t contact the sprouts, because the stainless-steel mesh insert provides a barrier between the sprouts and the plastic ring.
- Best used for: Large and small batch of virtually any seed, bean, lentil, pea, grain, or nut. It fits on 1-quart or 2-quart Mason Jars, making it easy to tailor the yield to your needs.
- Ones to try: Sprouting Lids, stainless steel mesh and plastic ring combo, in packs of three with sample seeds, $19.95 CDN, purchased from my online shop. These are sourced from Fungaea, Urban Farming Company. Try also Mumm’s Seed Stainless Steel Sprouting Screen (temporarily out of stock) or their Sprouting Jars, $6.46 for a 1-litre or $9.48 for a 2-litre sprouting jar.
2. Tiered sprouter kit
These are nesting plastic trays with holes in the bottom of each tray to drain rinse water. Proper drainage of water keeps sprouts moist without the risk of spoilage.
- Best used for: Small quantities of different types of sprouts with the exception of alfalfa seeds, which get stuck in drainage holes. Each tray allows for a different seed to yield great variety.
- One to try: A.Vogel bioSnacky® Original Seed Sprouter, $29.99 CDN
3. Hemp bag sprouter kit
A hemp bag is best for sprouting beans and grains, and is the most convenient travel sprouter. It is no more than a sack made of hemp fabric that is tied at the top and hung to drain over a sink. Hemp is a durable fabric that offers superior drainage, so spoilage problems are rare.
4. Cup sprouter kit
Modelled on the glass jar technique, this plastic container has a base to catch extra rinse water, an insert for smaller seeds, and a lid for travel and storage. This is a foolproof sprouting tool, even in humid climates.
Last things to consider
Plastic sprouting kits are a concern, specifically sprouting kits that have plastic contacting sprouts. Although some people regard “food-grade” plastic as safe, minimizing contact between food and any type of plastic – even food-grade plastic – is best for hormone balance and optimal health.
Instead, glass sprouting kits, as in glass mason jars with sprouting lids, are healthier options and, with a little practice, work just as well as plastic sprouting equipment. Glass is not as convenient for travelling as plastic, but hemp sprouting bags are a better option for travel than plastic.
Seed samples that come with your sprout kit are a bonus to prevent delay in getting started. If the sprouting system you choose does not come with sample seed packs, do purchase some to start sprouting right away. Alfalfa, lentils, and broccoli seeds are great beginner seeds to sprout.
In the end, choose what suits your health and food values and your budget. Sprouting kits need not be expensive. Anyone can sprout using a jar, rubber band, and cheese cloth or mesh bag.
The goal is for you and your family to include more sprouts into your meals and snacks rather than going another week or month without sprouts. This requires starting somewhere. Don’t let equipment prevent you from starting. If you are looking for a longer lasting sprout kit, consider one of these four options.