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How to Use a Sprouter

By Jenny Harrington ; Updated September 21, 2017

Sprouting seeds for use raw or cooked allows you to have access to fresh greens in winter or if you have no other gardening space. There are several different types of sprouters on the market but they fall into two main types--jar sprouters and tray sprouters. Jar sprouters have a special mesh lid attached to a jar or similar container and are the simplest type available. Tray sprouters have one or more trays and are suitable if you like to sprout a large variety of seeds but have little space.

Jar Sprouters

Place 2 tbsp. of sprouting seeds inside the jar. If the sprouter has a liner, place the jar inside after placing the sprouts inside, so the liner catches the excess water.

Fill the jar with warm tap water. Screw on the fine mesh lid and set the jar aside to soak for eight hours.

Pour out the excess water through the mesh lid after the soaking period. Place the sprouter in a warm, dark place, such as inside a cupboard.

Rinse the seeds inside the jar two to three times daily. Pour water in through the mesh lid, swirl the seeds around in it, then pour out the water through the lid.

Remove the lid and replace with the large mesh lid once the sprouts have reached the desired size, usually between 1 and 2 inches long, depending on variety. Rinse a final time, allowing the excess seed hulls to wash out through the larger mesh.

Tray Sprouter

Fill a bowl with warm tap water. Soak the sprouting seeds for eight hours. Use the amount of seeds recommended for your tray sprouter, usually 2 tbsp. per tray.

Spread the soaked seeds evenly over the bottom of the sprouting tray. Set the tray inside the slightly larger drip catcher tray, then place the lid on top.

Remove the lid and sprinkle water over the seeds or mist them lightly with a spray bottle. Water this way two to three times a day and empty the drip tray once a day.

Harvest the sprouts once they are 1 to 2 inches long. Pluck them out of the tray and rinse off any seed hulls under running water.


Things You Will Need

  • Bowl
  • Seeds
  • Sprouter jar with mesh lids or sprouter tray
  • Spray bottle


  • Place the sprouter in the sun for a day once they reach the desired length. This greens them up if that is desired.
  • If sprouts become stuck in the drainage holes of a tray sprouter, poke them out with a toothpick.
  • Store sprouts in the refrigerator for three to five days.


  • Don't soak chia or watercress seeds. These become gelatinous when soaked.
  • Use only seeds sold for sprouting. Other garden seeds may have been treated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals.

About the Author


Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.