How to Sprout Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds—or "hempnuts," as they are sometimes called—are nearly 35 percent protein and contain essential fatty and amino acids. The sprouts they taste similar to sunflower seed sprouts and are a nutritious addition to sandwiches and salads. Hemp seeds contain little or none of the psychoactive substance, tetrahydrocannabinol, or "THC," that is present in cannabis. Although controversy about the industrial production of hemp exists, it is not illegal to purchase or use hemp products in the United States and hemp seeds are available for purchase at some natural food stores.
Sift through the hemp seeds and remove any that are broken or damaged. Place the seeds in jar, cover them with water, and secure the lid.
Shake the jar for several seconds to wash the seeds. Pour them out into a fine mesh strainer and let the water drain. Repeat until the water is clean. Put the seeds back into the jar, cover them with water again and let them soak for 12 to 24 hours. Drain them in the mesh strainer.
Spread a 1-inch layer of potting soil into a pie plate. Sprinkle the hemp seeds onto the soil in a thin, even layer.
Fold a full sheet of newspaper into fourths. Dampen the paper and lay it on top of the pie plate. Cover the newspaper tightly with clear plastic wrap. Keep the tray in a warm area, away from direct sunlight.
Watch for the sprouts to push up on the plastic wrap, the process takes about three days. Remove the plastic and newspaper, and set the tray of sprouts in indirect light. Water the soil lightly once or twice a day to keep it moist and humid.
Harvest your sprouts in about one week after removing the newspaper cover. Gently cut them away from the tray, being careful not to mix any soil into your clean sprouts.
Clean and rinse the hemp seeds in the same way as for tray sprouting.
Return the rinsed seeds to the jar. Repeat the rinsing process two or three times a day to keep the seeds constantly moist. Drain them well after each rinse and do not allow the seeds to soak in standing water.
Store the jar in a dark, warm area, such as a cupboard, for the first three days, or until they begin to sprout.
Move the jar into indirect light so the sprouts can turn green. Continue to moisten them until they are ready to eat, in about one week.
Cut a small piece of fine screen and place it on top of the sprouting jar with a rubber band in place of a lid. This will allow you to rinse and drain the sprouts easily without removing the lid each time.
Use no more than 1/4 cup of hemp seeds at a time for sprouting in any method unless you are using a large seed tray.
Store fresh sprouts by wrapping them in a paper towel and placing the towel inside a plastic produce bag. Place the hemp sprouts in the crisper section of your refrigerator and eat them within two or three days.
Do not eat sprouts that have wilted, look slimy or smell musty.
Jo Burns has been a freelance writer since 1980. She specializes in articles relating to home and garden, alternative health care, travel, writing and crafting. In 2007, Burns received an M.F.A. in creative writing.