Sprouting Your Own Superfoods for Birds
Have you ever considered growing fresh sprouts for your own birds? It’s super-simple and inexpensive.
We use a simple mason jar set up and, in less than two days, have enough fresh sprouts for our entire flock.
HOW TO SPROUT SEEDS IN A JAR
The most popular and convenient method for sprouting seeds is in a jar. Almost any seed can be sprouted in a jar, following these basic guidelines.
1. Choose a Clean Jar and Lid.
Any glass jar will do for sprouting, though one with a wide opening is most convenient for rinsing, draining, and removing sprouts. Choose a jar large enough to contain the seeds and sprouts.
2. Rinse Seeds.
Rinse seeds well with cool water (around 70ºF) and drain. Remove any debris, stones, or broken seeds. When sprouting smaller seeds, removing broken seeds is not practical, but do look for any non-seed material and remove at this point, if possible.
3. Soak Seeds.
Place rinsed seeds in a jar and fill about ¾ full with cool water. Cover with a mesh lid or cloth, secured with a rubber band, to allow air flow.
A general rule is to soak at least 8 hours. Some larger seeds may require a longer soak. Soak until the seeds have doubled in size. Keep in mind that temperature also affects soak time. In warmer temperatures, the soak time is shorter. In cooler temperatures, soak time is longer, and larger seeds like chickpeas or kidney beans may require a 24-hour soak.
4. Drain Seeds Well.
It is important to drain the seeds well, for several hours, while allowing plenty of air circulation. Mesh lids work well for this step, as the jar may be inverted and propped at an angle to drain for long periods.
5. Rinse, Drain, and Repeat.
Rinse seeds with cool water and repeat draining. Rinse gently to avoid damaging tender new sprouts. Usually 2-3 days of rinsing and draining about 3 times per day is sufficient.
In very warm temperatures, rinse more frequently. In cold weather, less frequent rinsing may be fine, but keep in mind that seeds may not sprout as well. A temperature of about 65-80ºF for most seeds is fine. Do not allow seeds to dry out.
6. Final Rinse and Drain
Once sprouts are ready to harvest, rinse one final time and remove un-sprouted seeds and seed hulls, if desired. Drain thoroughly one final time before eating, feeding, or storing sprouts.
USING SPROUTED SEEDS
Sprouts are ready to eat or feed at any point after a sprout tail appears. If the seeds are for your own food, taste sprouted seeds daily and enjoy once they taste good to you. Many seeds will lose their mild flavor if sprouted too long.
STORING SPROUTS AND SPROUTED SEEDS
Sprouts are easy to grow in small batches, staggered, so that there are fresh sprouts to eat daily. However, if storage is necessary, make sure the sprouts have drained completely and pat dry with paper towels before storing. Transfer to a glass or plastic container, seal tightly, and store in the refrigerator for a few days.
From finches to parrots, all of our birds have enjoyed having fresh sprouts added to their diets. Why not give it a try?