Are you actively making preparations for a possible catastrophic disaster or emergency by stockpiling food and supplies? Do you want to add sprouting seeds to your cache? Interested in hedging against the rising costs of food by inflation with increasing your consumption of sprouts and buying the seeds in bulk? Understanding the ins and outs of long-term storage of sprouting seeds is an important step to completing your goals.

Mother Nature protects herself and her future crops by letting only the freshest seeds germinate and propagate. Germination rates go down with time and temperature. As a seed gets older its ability to germinate goes down. When temperatures are higher than about 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.55 Celcius) for a long period of time, germination rates can be negatively affected. Very few seed varieties last longer and can germinate 5 or 10 years after harvest. Most, however, will see a marked decline as the seed gets older and/or the storage temperatures are above that 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.55 Celcius) level.

Store seeds at 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.55 Celcius) or below. Seeds can be stored in a refrigerator or freezer. Fridge temperatures are above 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 Celcius) and freezer temperatures are below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 Celcius). Either choice is fine. By storing the seeds at the lower temperatures, the seeds stay dormant, and their germination life is extended. Basically, they think it is winter. Stored properly, seeds can last for about a year or two depending upon the variety of the seed. When it is time to use the seeds, take them out, soak and sprout as usual. Because the seeds have no water content, there is no thawing out period needed.

Broccoli usually loses its germination ability the fastest. Other members of the Brassica family, such as kale, red cabbage, and mustard will also lose their germination rates quickly. Alfalfa and red clover seem to be hardier. If the seeds have low germination rates, the sprouting experience will not be as fulfilling. The seeds that don’t sprout will rot and cause the seeds that do sprout to rot as well, taste bad, and smell awful. It is wiser to use up these seeds first.

Grains such as wheat, rye, and barley seem to be hardier and can last for several years with good germination rates. If their germination rates get low, you can always cook the grain like you would cook brown rice. They can also be ground into flour.

Beans and legumes such as lentils, green pea, garbanzo, mung, and adzuki can also last a little longer. If their germination rates are too low, these can always be cooked and used in other dishes such as soups and stews.

Remember to rotate your stock whether it is sprouting seeds, edible seeds, or any other food you are storing for the long term. Keep a notebook or file on hand when you are loading up your freezer or food storage area. Make a log of items and note when they were added and where they are located. Label the seeds with the date of purchase. When planning the weekly menu, take out your notebook or file and plan meals around the stored food. Take out some seeds for your weekly sprouting. This will help to use up food and then you can restock, thus always having fresh food ready for the tough times when they arrive. Rotated food stock is the key to a successful prepping plan.

Sprouting is a way to get fresh greens into your diet in the good times and the not so good times. They are a nutritionally dense food that add variety, flavor, color, and texture to your daily diet. It can be an important part of a long-term prepping storage plan and can satisfy the need to consume fresh vegetables. Keep the seeds rotated by including them in your regular routine. Enjoy!