Sprouts Are An Excellent Survival Food


When I was a kid, my aunt made a mean bean sprout sandwich with sharp cheddar and salsa.  That excellent sprout sandwich was the extent of my experience with sprouts until later in life. Little did I know that sprouted seeds fit a survival food niche that no other food can match.

Sprouts are edible germinated seeds from grains, beans, nuts, or legumes.

Sprouts Are An Excellent Survival And Emergency Food Source

  • Grow All-Year-Round 
  • Do Not Need Light To Grow
  • Contain: Vitamins, Amino Acids, Micronutrients, and Protein
  • Seed Shelf-life is 1 to 5 years 
  • If Frozen, Shelf Life is Up To 20 Years
  • Eat Raw Or Cooked
  • Grow Garden Produce In The Winter
  • Sprouting is Easy
  • Sprouting Equipment and Seeds Are Inexpensive

Drawbacks To Sprouting Seeds For Your Emergency Food Pantry

  • As with store-bought produce, there is a risk of food-borne illness 
  • Low Calorie (You need to supplement your sprout diet with a high-calorie food source.)
  • Water is required to sprout the seeds

Sprouts Are Easy To Grow

There isn’t anything easier to grow than Sprouts. Grow them right in the kitchen cupboard. Use numerous jars and start a sprouting garden, so you always have fresh produce.

Sprout Whole-Grains From Your Long-term Storage

  •  Raw-Whole-grains stored in your pantry can be sprouted as long they haven’t been baked or heat-treated. 

White rice has the germ removed and will not sprout. Whole-grain brown rice and wild-rice will sprout.

WholeGrains That Can Be Sprouted and Eaten: Alfalfa, Barley, Corn, Buckwheat, Clover, Einkorn, Oats, Maize, Millet, Rice, Rye, Spelt and Wheat

20 Seeds Commonly Used For Sprouting

The seeds in the chart below are edible when sprouted.

Seed Chart includes: type of seed, days to germination and nutritional profile

SeedDays to GerminationTaste ProfileNutrition
1.Adzuki3 -5Mild FlavorA,B,C & E, All amino accept Tryptophan, 25% Protein
2.Alfalfa5 -7 Mild FlavorA,B,C,E&K, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Zinc, Carotene,Chlorophyll, Amino Acids,35% Protein
3.Almonds3-5 Almond FlavorVitamin A, B,C,&E, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin,  Phosphorus, Potassium, All essential Amino Acids, 20 to 25% Protein
4.Broccoli7-10 Spicy/Radish-likeVitamin A,B,C,E & KCalcium, Iron,  Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Carotene, Chlorophyll, Amino Acids, Antioxidants, 35% Protein
5.Buckwheat1-2 Mild FlavorVitamin A,B,C & ECalcium, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium, Amino Acids, 15% Protein
6.Cabbage3-5 Cabbage flavoredVitamins A,B,C, E & K,Calcium,Iron,Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Carotene, Chlorophyll, Amino Acids, 20 to 25% Protein
7.Fenugreek6-8 Bitter FlavorVitamins A, B, C, E, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Amino Acids 30% protein
8.Garbanzo2-4 Substantial EatingVitamins A&C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Amino Acids, Protein
9.Kale2-5 Strong FlavorVitamins A, B, C, E and K, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Amino Acids, 30 to 35% Protein
10.Lentils3 -5 Substantial EatingVitamin A, B, C,& E, Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Phosphorus, Amino Acids, 25% Protein
11.Millet2-3 Sweet and NuttyVitamins B, C, and ECalcium, Iron, Magnesium, Pantothenic Acid, PhosphorusAmino Acids15% Protein
12.Mung Beans3-5 Mild FlavorVitamins A, B, C and ECalcium, Iron, Magnesium, PotassiumAmino Acids, 20 % Protein
13.Peanut5-10 Fresh Pea or chickpeaVitamins A, B, C and ECalcium, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorus, PotassiumAmino Acids20-25% Protein
14.Peas5-7 Mild FlavorVitamins A, B, C and ECalcium, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorus, PotassiumAmino Acids20 to 25% Protein
15.Radish3-5 Peppery FlavorVitamins A, B, C, E and K, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, ZincAmino Acids, Trace Elements, Carotene, ChlorophyllAntioxidants30-35% Protein
16.Crimson Clover4-6 Mild-EarthyVitamins A, B, C, E and KCalcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc,Carotene, Chlorophyll, Amino Acids, Trace Elements35% Protein
17.Rye2-3 Nutty FlavorVitamins B, C, and ECalcium, Iron, Magnesium, Pantothenic Acid, PhosphorusAmino Acids15% Protein
18.Sesame2-3 Nutty FlavorVitamins B, C, and ECalcium, Iron, Magnesium, Pantothenic Acid, PhosphorusAmino AcidsProtein: 15%
19.Sunflower3-5 Mild FlavorVitamins A, B, C and ECalcium, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium, 25% Protein
20.Wheat2-3 Days Corn FlavorVitamins B, C, and ECalcium, Iron, Magnesium, Pantothenic Acid, PhosphorusAmino Acids15% Protein
Sprout Information Compliments of Sproutpeople.org

The Difference Between Seeds For Sprouting And Regular Garden Seeds

  • Sprouting seeds are often organic, free of pesticides, and fungicides.
  • Sprouting seeds go through a more rigorous cleaning process
  • Some sprouting seeds are bleached to clean the outside surface of the seed.  You can read about this here
  • Until you are familiar with sprouting, purchase seeds sold specifically for sprouting and eating. 
  • Only sprout edible seeds that are free of fungicide and pesticide.

Sprouts and Microgreens Are Not The Same Things

  • The seeds used are the same, but the growing method for sprouting and microgreens is different.
  • When Sprouting, seeds are grown in water, and the entire plant is eaten. 
  • Microgreens are harvested two to three weeks after you plant them, and they need light, sprouts take, on average, 4 days before harvest.

Equipment You Need To Sprout Seeds For Eating

  •  Jar (I use a 32 oz Ball Jar)  
  • Cheesecloth or cotton cloth, or Sprouting Lid  
  • Rubber-band if you are using cloth (Used to hold the cloth around the top of the jar, and keep seeds from coming out when rinsing)
  • Sprouting Seeds

*You could also use an old jelly jar or a peanut butter jar, poke holes in the top of the lid and make sure it’s super clean.

*There are specialty, sprout trays available but they are not necessary.  Get used to sprouting and see what equipment fits your needs.

CaliKim29: How To Make A DIY Sprouting Jar Lid

Sterilize Your Sprouting Equipment

Cleaning your sprouting jar and equipment for sprouting seeds is a snap.The simplest way to do this is with dilute bleach. Mix 1 part of bleach with 9 parts of water

  • Sterilize your sprouting equipment by boiling in water for 10 minutes or
  • Sanitize with bleach and hot water or
  • Sanitize equipment with Star San (Used to sanitize brewing equipment, I’ve used this to make Mead, it works well)

12 Steps to Sprouting Edible Seeds In A Jar

Clean And Sterilize All Of Your Sprouting Equipment Before Sprouting.

  1. Start with 1 tbsp to ¼ cup of seeds
  2. Place the Seeds in your jar
  3. Add 3 parts of clean water to 1 part of seed (You can’t use too much water)
  4. Soak the seeds in clean water for 6 to 12 hours.  (There are exceptions with soaking times so follow seed-packet directions)
  5. After soaking seeds for 6 to 12 Hours
  6. Place your screen or cloth lid over the top of your jar, so when you drain water out, the seeds won’t come out.
  7. Drain the water from the seeds
  8. Rinse the Seeds with clean water.
  9. As long as your sprouts are in the jar: Rinse and drain sprouts 2 to 4 times per day to keep them from getting moldy or mushy.
  10. After 3 or 4 days, seeds will germinate, you can place them in the window-sill to develop chlorophyll.  Not too much sun, or you will burn your sprouts. This step is not necessary.
  11. After harvesting, sprouts dry them out.  (on average, 3 to 4 days from starting sprouts to harvest, plus additional time for chlorophyll development)
  12. Place sprouts in the refrigerator. Store inside a sprout bag or a clean glass jar. Don’t use plastic unless you poke holes in it. Sprouts need to breathe. (Dry sprouts will keep in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks depending on the type of sprout)

*Remember: Rinse, Drain, Repeat, it is essential to germinating good sprouts. It’s the same for all seeds, grains, nuts, and beans.

Check out this video by KaliKim29 to learn how to sprout seeds.

KaliKim29: How to Easily Grow Sprouts In a Jar Indoors, No Soil Required

Sprouts Tips and Tricks

  • Avoid smelly, dark, or slimy-looking sprouts.
  • Once your seeds sprout, avoid standing water
  •  Use clean water to process seeds (bottled or filtered)
  • Rinse your sprouts often.  At least twice per day
  • Eat sprouts, when the root is the length of the soaked seed 
  • Remove hulls that are still hard if you don’t like the flavor or texture 
  • When it comes to flavor, sprouts are usually similar to the mature vegetable. Sprouts like mustard and radish will be spicy, just like the adult plant
  • Make small batches of sprouts and gobble them to eat them fresh
  • After your last rinse (before putting in the fridge), let your sprouts drain for 12 hours 
  • Store your seeds in a cool, dry location
  • When you are draining, and rinsing make sure whatever touches the jar or lid is clean, so bacteria doesn’t get transferred to your sprouts

Helpful Links

U.C Davis, AG, safety bulletin for sprouting seeds, check it out here

I get a lot of my seeds and grains from Johnny’s Seeds and I’ve been really satisfied with the quality of their products, check them out here

Bleach to Water Ratios For Cleaning Your Equipment click here

For everything sprouts head over to Sproutpeople.org

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