Choosing a Terracotta Sprouter

This type of sprouter is a tray sprouter made from food grade clay. Pictured here is one of my favorite sprouters, a GAIA Sprouter.

Picture credit: GAIA Sprouters

Using a terracotta sprouter is one of the nicest ways to sprout, the clay keeps the sprouts hydrated, ventilated and cool.

Choose a clay sprouter that is lead-free and does not contain cadmium. The trays where the sprouts grow are untreated and unglazed. The bottom tray for catching the draining water should be glazed as this makes it waterproof.

Although wheatgrass and barley grass grow fine in the trays, the size of the sprouter is usually too small to grow the large quantities needed for juicing. A large plastic seed tray is more suitable.

These sprouters are ideal for sprouting gelatinous seeds such as chia, flax, cress, psyllium and arugula. These seeds form a gel-like coating when they are wet, making them difficult to manage. Terracotta sprouters are perfect for growing them.

Picture credit: GAIA Sprouters

Directions for gowing gelatinous seeds in a terracotta spouter
  1. Soak the terracotta tray in fresh, cold, potable water for 15-30 minutes so it can absorb water.
  2. Sprinkle the dry seeds on the tray.
  3. Pour water on the tray, letting the excess water drain out the holes
  4. You will be left with wet seeds on the tray.
  5. Twice a day, rinse and drain the seeds.
  6. Once the seeds have the first two little leaves, they are ready to eat.
  7. If the leaves are yellow, put the tray in gentle, indirect sunlight so the sprouts can produce chlorophyll and turn green.

How to Store Your Sprouts

To store the sprouts, keep them in a covered container in the fridge for about a week, although they are best eaten asap.

Directions for Sprouting non-gelatinous seeds, beans, legumes, and grains in a terracotta spouter

Seeds that grow well in these sprouters are:

  • Leafy sprouts ex. alfalfa, clover, radish, broccoli, mustard etc.
  • Un-hulled (in the shell) Sunflower, buckwheat, pea shoots.
  • Beans and legumes ex. garbanzo, beans, lentil, pea, adzuki, etc. 
  • Note: Kidney beans should not be sprouted or eaten raw as they are toxic unless thoroughly cooked.
Step by Step Directions for Sprouting
  1. Soak the seeds in fresh, cold, potable water overnight.
  2. Soak the terra-cotta tray in fresh, cold, potable water for 15-30 minutes so it can absorb water.
  3. Sprinkle the soaked seeds on the tray.
  4. Pour water on the tray, letting the excess water drain out the holes
  5. You will be left with wet seeds on the tray.
  6. Twice a day, rinse and drain the seeds.

Liquid fertilizer can be used for pea shoots, sunflower shoots and buckwheat. It’s not necessary and increases the cost of the sprouts, but perfectly acceptable.

How to Harvest Your Sprouts

Leafy sprouts: They are ready when they have the first two leaves. If the leaves are yellow, put the tray in gentle, indirect sunlight so the sprouts can produce chlorophyll and turn green.

Pea shoots, sunflower shoots, buckwheat: Thesee are harvested in about 8 to 10 days, they will be several inches tall. The buckwheat and the sunflower should have fully opened little leaves at the top.

The pea shoots will just keep growing longer and longer, putting out tendrils along the way, for optimum nutrition, harvest in 8 to 10 days.

Beans and legumes are ready in one to two days, when they have a small root, there is no need to wait for the leaves to appear. Do a taste test after two days, they should be crunchy and slightly sweet. If they grow for too long, they become chewy and bitter.

How to Store Your Sprouts

To store the sprouts, keep them in a covered container in the fridge for about a week, although they are best eaten asap.

Credit: Homegrown Sprouts by Rita Galchus. Published by Quarry Books. wwwquarybooks.com