Before we start, let's clean our seeds.
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Prepare Your Seeds for Sprouting
Though it not always necessary, it is always a good idea to Prep your seeds before you Soak them.
Besides rinsing them, you should also consider adopting the habit of culling through your seeds*. Beans especially should be culled because they can contain non-seeds (bean shaped pebbles, though rare are not unknown). Small seeds are too small to cull, but Radish and all seeds bigger should be checked for plant parts, pebbles, broken or obviously messed-up seeds or seeds that just don't belong (weed seeds for example). What we are saying is: we are not liable for anything that happens as a result of the presence of unwanted objects in the seed we sell. Sorry, it is just a liability thing - welcome to the 21st century in the US of A. You will find that some of our seed information pages contain the Seed-Prep step while others do not. Though we ourselves, when sprouting, perform the Seed-Prep only on a few seeds, we suggest that you should develop better habits and do it on all of them. It just NEVER hurts to check your seed and rinse it before Soaking!
Certain seeds have more of a need than others:
Mung Beans are grown in China and dried on dirt roads. Not surprisingly they tend to be dusty as a result.
Alfalfa and Clover (and therefore all of our Leafy sprout blends) are polished. Polishing is a modern method of seed scarification which is intended to make the seed take up water more readily and thereby germinate faster. Polishing is like sanding and it does have the downside of leaving behind - for you and us to clean - the dust created as the seed's coat is sanded down. The positive aspect far outweighs that however. The old scarification method - still used on much of the seed you can buy for sprouting (never from us though!), involves breaking the seed coat by scratching it. The vast majority of pathogen problems that the sprout industry has been dealing with over the past few years have to do with those broken seed coats, so though you have to rinse and rinse and rinse these seeds to clean them, you know they are whole and safe!
Radish seeds often contain some wild sunflower and buckwheat in their number. We don't remove them before soaking - it would be a real drag - but we get rid of them when we De-Hull - when the crop is done.
Some Grains will have a certified organic (and edible) insect powder (diatomaceous earth) on them to keep grain weevils (little tiny insects that eat a perfect hole right through a kernel of grain) at bay. We very rarely have grain that has this powder on it. We prefer freezing which is another way to control grain weevils, but if your grain is powdery, just rinse like you would any other seed before Soaking.
There are other examples, but you'll find out about the seeds by looking at their information pages. Like we say: Culling through your seeds before prep is a good habit, but don't lose any sleep over it - after all, we sell very good seeds - we sprout so many of them in our business that we couldn't possibly stand to deal with bad seeds!
You can use a sieve or colander for this task as long as your seeds won't fall through the holes. Some of our Sprouters are perfect for this too. These are the best and in both cases you can Prep and just move right on to sprouting:
Whether you use one of our Sprouters or your own container, it should be at least very clean and even better, sterile. You should scrub it well with soap and/or a dilute bleach solution (1 Tbs. of bleach per pint is good & strong)
Put your seeds in the Sprouter or other thing and run water through them until the water runs clear. Stir the seeds up with a spoon, fork or high pressure water to make sure they are all getting well bathed. That's all there is to it.
The Basics of Sprouting:
* As a rule, real sprouting seeds have gone through an amazingly complete cleaning process and rarely will you find anything other than high germinating seeds, but despite the best efforts of cleaning screens, gravity tables and the rest; non-seeds and similarly sized weed seeds can get through - they just feel and weigh too much the same as the seed being cleaned to be recognized by the equipment.
Sprouting seeds should vary from other seeds in several ways. They should have a high germination rate. They should have been cleaned beyond the level of seeds not sold to the sprout industry. They should have been tested for pathogens. These are all true in the case of the seed we sell. It is not likely so with seeds and beans you buy off the shelf at a store. Those seeds are often intended for cooking and need not be subjected to the additional processes and expense! That is why we tell people to buy seed from a source they trust. Do not be stopped from sprouting if your store bought seeds don't sprout! Lentils sold for soup may have been stored poorly for a long time - if you are cooking them it hardly matters. They may sprout just fine, but if they don't, then buy some that you know are fresh and clean and intended for sprouting! Buy from someone who is selling SPROUTING SEED! Someone you Trust!
All of the seed we sell has been tested by our suppliers and is certified free of pathogens.
Nowadays the conventional (non-organic) sprout industry demands that all seeds not only be washed but also soaked in a toxic bleach solution (equivalent to 1 part household bleach + 1 part water) to make seeds safe. As you probably know, if you're this far into our site, we have quite a different opinion. It is - in our opinion - hardly worth eating sprouts if you feel the need to bleach them. Bleach kills the good bacteria which we are, as mammals, dependent on, bleach is a dioxin which does not break down in nature and so pollutes the planet and if that isn't enough - it is a known carcinogen.
Go look at our information on sprout safety if you have any questions.
170 Mendell St.
San Francisco, CA 94124
We only use the phone for emergencies.
Back in 2001 we were still using the phone. One day I was talking to a long-time customer while pushing my (then 4 year old) daughter on the swing in our backyard (this is what a mom n' pop business is like on the internet). It dawned on me that my priorities were severely messed up, so I stopped using the phone. I love to talk and I love to help, but my family would never see me if I picked up the phone again, and that's just wrong don't you think?!
The very best way to contact us is through E-mail =:-)
We are quite fast and VERY thorough. We love to help.
We have been an internet only business since 2001. We are not a big corporation. We are but 2 people, Mom n' Pop Sprout. We decided after years of juggling our family's (kids, dogs, cats and even our own) needs, and the needs of Sproutpeople, that we had to make more time for our kids, so we stopped talking on the phone. All calls go to voice mail and have since 2001.
We are very fast to fill orders and answer e-mail, and though we wish we could make the time to talk, we just can't seem to get more minutes into a each hour. We are many years older than when we started and our days are too short and made up of too few hours to do everything. This limitation in our business has not kept us from pleasing our customers, nor from growing (as we have every year since 1993). We do what we do as well as we can, and we think we do it very well indeed.
We appreciate your patronage more than we can say. We ask that you use the phone for emergencies only and that you search our site for answers before e-mailing us. This site is bigger than any 4 sprout books put together, it is always available and it is free, and we know that almost all questions are answered here.
Thanks again for your support and your many kind words.