Shoots: better than sprouts and easier than pie

Sprouts: aren’t they so . . .Β  1970’s? Do you think of bell bottoms and crunchy granola and Birkenstocks when you think of sprouts? Or do you think about the sprouts contamination scare of a few years back?
I used to keep a jar or two of sprouts in my refrigerator that I sprouted myself, but that contamination scare put out by the FDA was enough to make me a bit uncomfortable about those little sprouts. It shouldn’t have, you know. If you remember, the FDA put out a mass “DON’T EAT SPROUTS!” message due to contamination problems with the big agri-sprouting suppliers, in the ’90s.
(And no, I didn’t make up that phrase “agri-sprouting.” Honest. It’s a thing.)
Although outbreaks of food-borne illnesses linked to sprouts have occurred with commercially grown sprouts, contamination of home-grown sprouts and shoots is very rare. Like so many things, if you grow them at home, they are safer and better for you, too. πŸ™‚
So there, FDA.
If you still have a niggle of a doubt about growing your own sprouts, though, you may want to try your hand at growing shoots. It’s so easy to do, an infant could do it. Almost. And there’s very little cause to feel uneasy about contamination with shoots, because they grow in soil, rather than water.
I keep my shoots in a tray next to the seeds that are germinating for my garden: in a sunny window.

I keep my shoots (sprouts growing in soil) in a tray next to the seeds that are germinating for my garden: in a sunny window. It’s a happy place. Sometimes I just sit down and stare at them and smile. πŸ™‚ Honest.

Growing sprouts in your own kitchen is such an easy way to feed your family and yourself better, and the cool thing is, it takes just minutes to start them. It’s okay to keep sprouts in a jar in the ‘fridge, but in order to have enough sprouts to feed them to the family consistently, you really need to have several jars going at once, and that takes up a lot of space. And you have to be sure to rinse them several times a day. If you forget, they’ll get moldy and you have to pitch them. (Experience talking.)

You probably don’t forget these types of domestic chores, but I know somebody who occasionally does. πŸ™
Yet, there are so many excellent reasons to grow your own shoots at home.
  • Setting up a station to grow shoots takes minutes to do, and seconds to maintain each day.
  • Shoots are a powerhouse of nutrition that can contain as much as 30 times the nutrition of organic vegetables. 30 times!
  • You can’t get any fresher than this: having your own shoots in your own kitchen, ready to toss into salads, stir fries, or to make into smoothies. Or just to grab and chew down, like a koala.
  • Shoots have up to 100 times more enzymes than raw vegetables and fruits.

You might say that. I do.

Rosamay from sent me a nice sample collection of seeds for sprouting and for growing shoots. is a very popular (and very large) natural health website that you’ve probably heard of it. πŸ™‚ Who hasn’t heard of it?Β  They didn’t pay me or offer me any compensation for reviewing these products, by the way.

But I’m going to recommend them to you, anyway, because they’re awesome.

Dr. Mercola has raised the bar on sprouting and growing shoots, and he offers his own sprouting system for sale on his website. You can learn more about buying your own right here. And watch this video to see how it works! It really is so easy–even if you don’t fancy yourself much of a gardener, it’s virtually impossible to fail at growing these sprouts and shoots.

Take a look!

I absolutely love this sprouting system. Instead of growing sprouts in a jar (or in several jars) in the ‘fridge, you can grow shoots in trays by a sunny window. And it’s so easy.

I am growing the sunflower shoots from, even as I type. The seeds actually come from High Mowing Seeds, one of my favorite seed companies. They are a small company in Vermont that develops, breeds, and grows their own seeds, and they are industry leaders in seed safety for sprouts and shoots.Β  This is such an easy sprouting routine, an infant could do it. They really ought to make that part of their ad campaign . . . “So easy to do, your infant could use our sprouting system!”

I wonder if Dr. Mercola is reading this.

First, you (or show your infant how to do it) soak the seeds in water for a few hours, and then drain and rinse them a few times, until you see bitty sprouts. It only takes a day or two.

Growth! Happiness! Anticipation!

Growth! Happiness! Anticipation!

Then you dump the little sprouting seeds out into your tray, which is half-full of Dr. Mercola’s soul enhancement. I’m going to try to use my homemade potting medium next time I grow these, just as an experiment, though I know from experience now that using Dr. Mercola’s soul enhancement medium makes this a foolproof process.

You can pack the sprouting seeds pretty tightly into the tray of potting medium.

You can pack the sprouting seeds pretty tightly into the tray of potting medium.

Then you weight down the seeds with something flat and heavy (Bryan cut me some small pieces of thin plywood, and I weighted them down with some floor tiles), for just a few days, until you see the little green shoots trying to poke out. When you remove the weights–voila!–it’s like green magic.

The green sprouts stretch out and reach for the sun and within a day or two, you’ve got this . . .

Β . . . amazingly . . . !

Amazing, eh? And they are delicious!

Amazing, eh? And they are delicious!

I highly recommend this sprouting system, rather than keeping jars of sprouts in your refrigerator. Any time you want some shoots to eat, you just clip a handful, give them a quick rinse, and they are ready to eat. Or you can harvest them all when they are ready and keep them in the ‘fridge, where they’ll stay fresh and happy for several days. I like to put them on my salads.


Today’s lunch: salad with lotsa shoots. Yum.

Check out Dr. Mercola’s sprouting package, and oodles more reasons why you ought to be growing sprouts here. And have a good day, you!




26 thoughts on “Shoots: better than sprouts and easier than pie

  1. Jamie

    Now you’ve reminded me, I need to get some sprouts going again. You really don’t even need the soil…shhhh…don’t tell Mercola I said that!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I threw some shoots into my fetticini with bacon and cream sauce, Jamie–a nice comfort food for a drizzly, gray day. *burp* And I don’t have to feel guilty about eating lots of it, because—the SHOOTS!!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thanks Bethany–you’re way ahead of me. I’ve only always grown them in a jar, before this. I love this new way so much.

  2. Janelle

    Wow this post is amazing your pictures look fab and there is a video! Great job! My grandmother grows sprouts (on top of a million other things). She is always telling me how good they are for you. I’m going to tell her about the FDA warning. It’s sad you don’t know what you can eat these days.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      But the point I made in my post, Janelle, is that if you sprout at home, you don’t have to worry much about sprout contamination. Your grandma’s sprouts are probably just fine.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thanks for the link, Anne. I’m going to have to go check it out. . . I do like the sounds of “sprout people.” ha

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Joan, did you know that different seeds sprouted have different tastes? Radish sprouts taste like radishes, for example. So you may just need to choose a different type of seed to sprout? I really like these sunflower seeds sprouted. They are delicious.

  3. Chef William Chaney

    I read Dr. Mercola’s emails every morning. I am adding sprouts to my grow at home health system this year and did enter the contest. However, I did not win the rooster. I had planned to feed any “extra” sprout to my new rooster but I guess my wife and I will eat them all. I hope I have better luck than I had with that rooster…I even bought a new frying pan, that’s how sure I was that I would win….
    Great idea, planting them in trays, and I have just the space for them. How do they hold up to heat?

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Okay, guess what, Chef–You won the rooster! I just picked the winner today. I guess I’ll have to hand deliver him, though, since NOW the USPO says that they won’t ship a live rooster. Pshaw. I told Claudius to pack his bags . . .

  4. Bonnie Gean

    Hi Amy,

    My partner and I have done juicing quite a bit using spinach and kale. I wonder how the juicing would taste with sprouts?

    I’ve never had sprouts so I don’t know what they taste like. Are they strong tasting? Could you give me an idea of what other vegetable they taste like? Lettuc? Cabbage? ROFL

    – Bonnie

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      What? Tell me, M., what did you learn? Here’s something I learned this week: 1. Sprouts are great in green smoothies. 2. If your cat sleeps on your tray of sprouts (or shoots), don’t despair. Give them some water, some sunshine and some fluffing up and they’ll recover, mostly. But be sure to wash them well before eating them. πŸ˜‰ Seriously, can you share with me what you learned?

  5. Almut

    My sunflower seeds start coming up, some half an inch some more some less. Shall I still weigh them down in the dark?
    Second: When I lifted the cover they had millions of tiny white “legs” along their small stems. Is that mold?

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Almut, once your seeds have germinated, you should remove the covering. Those tiny white “legs” might be mold, at that. Possibly you’ll need to start over and this time use less water. Also, take off the weight as soon as you see germination happening. Good luck!

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