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Reader Question: Growing Sprouts Indoors

By December 30, 2013

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This week's question:

"I've heard that growing sprouts indoors is easy, but then I read about E. coli in sprouts and I wasn't sure if it was safe to try. Can I grow my own sprouts? And how would I do it?"

Growing Sprouts Safely

Any food that you consume raw carries a risk for food-borne illness, and that includes fruits and vegetables. There have been about a few cases of outbreaks of illnesses due to raw sprouts. Most commonly, the problem is Salmonella or E.coli bacteria. I've been growing and eating raw sprouts for over ten years, and haven't had a single problem. There are many things you can do to help ensure a healthy batch of sprouts:

  • Look for seeds specifically labeled as "sprouting seeds." These seeds are guaranteed to be pathogen-free.
  • Keep everything clean, clean, clean. Start with a very clean jar, soak the seeds in fresh, clean water, and rinse with clean water. When they've finished sprouting, rinse and dry your sprouts and store them in a clean plastic or glass container in the refrigerator.
  • During the soaking process, keep your sprouts in a cool, dark place.
  • Don't soak your seeds too long. It should take one to three days, tops, for most sprouts. Soaking and rinsing longer than that will increase the likelihood of encountering harmful bacteria.

Sprouts are a tasty, nutritious addition to the diet. If you follow a few simple precautions, there's no need to worry about E. coli or other bacteria. It's very easy to do -- here are simple instructions for growing sprouts in a jar.

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