How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts
By Molly Knudsen, MS, RDN
These delicate little sprigs pack tons of nutrients and flavor into every bite. They are incredibly easy to grow in your own home; no garden required.
But before digging into those details…
What are broccoli sprouts?
Broccoli sprouts are (very) young versions of broccoli. They are the little green stem that grows from the seed, which develops into a mature broccoli plant with time. Although broccoli and broccoli sprouts stem from the same seed, they are two very distinct foods. First, broccoli sprouts resemble alfalfa sprouts much more than a broccoli floret. Second, broccoli sprouts have a nice crunch texture and somewhat spicy flavor, more similar to radishes than broccoli. And lastly, broccoli sprouts contain higher amounts of a specific health-promoting nutrient than broccoli.1
Why are broccoli sprouts so healthy?
Broccoli sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower contain a compound called glucoraphanin. Glucoraphanin is converted in the body to the substance sulforaphane. Sulforaphane plays an important role in the body’s natural detoxification pathways.1 And it turns out that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain anywhere from 10-100 times higher levels of glucoraphanin compared to the mature vegetable.1
How to grow broccoli sprouts
Growing your own broccoli sprouts is a very simple process. You just need a week and a handful of supplies.
- Broccoli sprout seeds
- Large, wide-mouth mason jar
- A sprouting lid (or cheesecloth and rubber band)
- A sunny windowsill
Steps for growing broccoli sprouts in a mason jar
- Put 1½ Tbsp. broccoli sprout seeds into a (dry) wide-mouth mason jar
- Screw on the sprouting lid to the top of the mason jar or cover the lid with a cheesecloth and secure it tightly across the lid of the jar with a rubber band
- Rinse the seeds with cold water twice to wash off any impurities (leaving the lid/cheesecloth on)
- Soak the seeds in cold water overnight (or six to eight hours)
- Drain the water the next morning and rinse the seeds with cold water again
- Completely drain the water from the jar by placing the jar lid side down in a clean sink or on a towel for about 15 minutes
- Tap the jar to disperse the seeds since they will be damp and clumped together, which may cause rot
- Place the jar in a sunny spot for the day
- Repeat the rinsing steps again before bed (rinse with cold water one to two times, drain water, and disperse seeds)
- Keep up this routine of rinsing the seeds twice a day and placing the jar in sunlight during the day
- Continue for five to seven days until the sprouts are the size you prefer
Storing broccoli sprouts
Broccoli sprouts can be stored in a refrigerator in an airtight container lined with a paper towel (this will soak up any extra water or moisture that may be left on the sprouts). They will stay fresh like this for up to a week.
Ways to use broccoli sprouts
Add broccoli sprouts on top of salads, in sandwiches, in smoothies, or as garnish on soups.
- Fahey JW et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1997;94(19):10367-10372.