Separated at Birth? Sprouted Seeds

One of the things I've learned since starting The 52 Week Salad Challenge is that the beansprouts we find in the shops are sprouted in the dark and under pressure. I'd always wondered why the ones I grow on my kitchen window turn out so differently and now I know.

It got me pondering how different my sprouted seeds would be depending on whether I grew them in the dark or light. Sprouted lentils have become a firm favourite with NAH lately, so I resolved to try growing some in both light and dark conditions.

I've grown 2 lots of seeds in the same way as outlined in my Let's Eat Shoots and Leaves post, except for one batch has been sitting in the airing cupboard for 99.99% of its allotted 7 days. The photo shows the results, with the air cupboard grown lentil posing at the top.

It's interesting to see how the seedling part of the air cupboard grown lentil is pale and stretching itself to find the light (ie it's etiolated) but the root is much shorter and branched already. The kitchen windowsill grown one is stubbier and greener in colour as the seedling leaves are beginning to unfurl and produce chlorophyll.

There was little to choose between the two in terms of taste and weight of crop produced, though I found the dark sprouts to be tougher and a bit chewier than their light grown cousins. My Joy Larkcom book also says light grown sprouted seeds are more nutritious. Even if the reverse was true, I'd still stick with my windowsill growing. It's very easy to forget the ones in the airing cupboard - it's taken me a couple of attempts to get them to the 7 day sprouted stage!


  1. Ooh I've never sprouted lentils. I'm just trying at the moment to get winter salads to grow on a window sill (I have a tiny garden with no greenhouse or cloche). I can't even get my herbs to germinate because I think my windowsill is too cold (and I'm too cheap to by a propogator right now!). But I'm really interested in sprouting stuff. Where do you get your lentils from? I presume you can't just use what comes from the supermarket as they are probably made sterile (though I understand dried peas aimed at cooking sprout quite nicely)?

    1. Hi Toni - I'm using store cupboard lentils. As long as they're whole ones they sprout very well. The split ones won't work at all!

      And dried peas not only sprout well, they grow into great pea shoots which are very expensive in the shops, but work out at just a few pence to grow :)

  2. Wow, Awesome picture!
    Really enjoyed reading this...

    Loved your blog!

  3. Interesting read. Enjoyed and what an interesting picture.

    1. Thanks for Following :) I see you have some interesting pictures over at your blog today too...

  4. Hey hey! I have nominated you as a Versatile Blogger! So come and collect your Versatile Blogger Award at Roots and Shoots: :)

    1. The Shroom - welcome and thanks for my award :)

      I see this award has done the rounds extensively and as it demands 15 nominations, everyone I know must have this award already.

  5. I really ought to try this again, I am so lousy at the aftercare, I keep forgetting to add extra water and swill, or leave them too wet. I appear to be bad at routine. And yet I love fresh sprouted seeds in a sandwich. That funny sound you hear is me taking a deep breath preparatory to giving myself a lecture on just getting on with it... Thanks for the inspiration. I think...

  6. Hi Janet - I'm similar to you in that I'm lousy at looking after things. I've found in this instance keeping them in really obvious places like the bedroom windowsill has really helped. I can't avoid the reminder to do something in the morning when I open the curtains! It also means 'hiding' them in the airing cupboard is a complete no-no because I forget they're there!

  7. The advent of the combi boiler means that I don't have an airing cupboard, otherwise I would also forget my sprouts. It is interesting to see the difference though, so thanks for sticking with the cupboard as a test this time.

    This week, I am trying to do a taste test on the different lentils. If Puy lentils are not tastier, I shall stick to sprouting the cheaper ones.

  8. Mel - let me know what you think as I've not tried the other kind of lentils yet.


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