Providing a clean environment is the most important thing to remember when you begin to grow sprouts at home.  Every now and then you hear reports of people getting sick from eating certain foods. Most outbreaks from eating raw sprouts are attributed to contaminated seed.

Cleanliness is very important for safety. Clean your jars, lids and wire mesh. Don’t forget to wash your hands before handling the sprout seeds.

One method to clean your seeds before you begin the sprouting process is to use Food Grade 3% Hydrogen Peroxide.

Add a few drops of the Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide to a bowl of water and add your seeds. Swirl the water around and then let the seeds sit in the bowl for 1/2 hour. Rinse the seeds really well for at least a minute. Then place the seed in a container covered with water plus about an inch. Skim off any floating seed, seed coat fragments and anything else that floats to the surface.

Only use 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant. One teaspoon to a cup of water is good. Use this to disinfect your jars and even your seeds before your begin Sprouting. Hydrogen peroxide is an effective anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal solution to use. Be sure that the hydrogen peroxide is the 3% Food Grade type. This can be found at most health food stores.

Another method is to Heat Treat your sprouting seeds by heating for 5 minutes in a 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. A clean cooking thermometer can be used to make sure this temperature is maintained while you are treating the seeds.

Always discard the hydrogen peroxide solution after each seed batch is treated.

You can also use Plain Bleach to make sure your container canning or jelly jars, lids, wire mesh screen, counter tops and draining racks are clean and sanitized. Use 3/4 cup of plain bleach per one gallon of water (3 tablespoons per quart).

After everything is clean you are ready to soak the seeds overnight to begin the sprouting process.

Sprout Safety Tips

  • Cooking sprouts reduces the risk of illness.
  • All sprouts should be kept at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Only purchase sprouts that look green, fresh and crisp. Never buy sprouts that are musty-smelling, dark, slimy-looking or in a container with liquid sitting in the bottom.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap before and after handling raw foods.
  • Rinse sprouts thoroughly with water before use. Rinsing helps remove surface dirt. Do not use soap or detergents.
  • I’m sure you have heard the saying, “water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink”. The water you use to soak your sprouts in should be pure filtered water or distilled water.
  • Only purchase sprouting seeds that are meant for food. Some seeds sold for planting are treated with fungicides.
  • Only buy Certified Pathogen Free Seed.
  • Lentils need to be soaked for at least 12 hours and make sure the water runs clear

Sprouts Can Be Eaten Raw – Some Need to Be Cooked

While you can sprout many different kinds of seeds, not all of them can be eaten raw, while some sprouts are better cooked before eating.  Always do your own research and follow the directions for any variety of sprout you decide to grow.

Sprouts you should not eat raw are:

  • Barley
  • Lentil
  • Millet
  • Pea
  • Rice
  • Sesame

Sprouts you can eat raw:

  • Alfalfa
  • Bean
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Chia
  • Chickpea (Garbanzo)
  • Mung Bean
  • Radish
  • Soybean
  • Sunflower
  • Wheat

Raw sprouts is one of the foods that is occasionally brought into the limelight. Raw food of any kind, including sprouts pose a risk of food borne illness if certain safety guidelines are not followed. Children, the elderly and people who have a weak immune system tends to be more at risk. The recent case of an E. coli outbreak in Europe has been attributed to raw sprouts grown in Germany.

The Food and Drug Administration have published advice to consumers with regard to their recommended safety guidelines for growing and eating raw sprouts.

Filed under: Grow Sprouts