Broccoli sprouts are the week-old vegetable produced from broccoli seeds. With pale to dark green tops and long, white stems, broccoli sprouts can be eaten raw. They have a mild taste that is a little spicy — a cross between that of a radish and a cabbage. You can sprout your own broccoli seeds at home using a jar or a mixing bowl.


Soaking, Rinsing and Draining

To start the sprouting process, soak your broccoli seeds in water. Use cool water, between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and use a ratio of 1-to-3, seeds to water. Broccoli seeds tend to float, so try pushing them down to ensure that the seed is fully covered with water. Soak for 6 to 12 hours and then drain off the soaking water. Rinse the seeds under cool water and drain thoroughly. Do not use more than 3 1/2 tablespoons per liter jar, as the sprouts expand greatly in volume.


Sprouting

Store your drained seeds in a glass jar. Cover the top of the jar with a double layer of cheesecloth, and secure it in place with a rubber band. Keep your jar of seeds out of direct sunlight and at room temperature — 70 F is ideal. Rinse your sprouts and drain thoroughly every 8 to 12 hours for 3 days. It is important to drain all water after a rinse, as excess moisture can cause the seeds to mold and rot. On the 4th day, move your sprouts so that they sit in indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight will cook the delicate plants. Continue to rinse and drain every 8 to 12 hours until day 5 or 6, when your sprouts will have shown 2 open green leaves.


Harvest and Storage

Before they are eaten or stored, remove the hulls from the sprouts, as they contain a lot of water, which can encourage spoiling. Soak the sprouts in a large mixing bowl filled with water and gently pull the sprouts apart with your hands. The hulls will rise to the surface, where they can be skimmed off with a slotted spoon or strainer. Give your sprouts a final rinse and drain, patting them dry with a paper towel to remove all moisture. Store the sprouts in a sealable plastic bag or an airtight plastic container.


Using and Eating

Sprouts can be safely eaten raw. They are commonly served on top of salads, or used as a garnish for hot dishes, such as soups. Because of their delicate nature, broccoli sprouts do not take well to cooking, as they will fall apart due to the heat. You can replace lettuce with sprouts as well, such as in sandwiches, where their extra crunchiness makes for a refreshing texture. High in nutrients, broccoli sprouts may contain nutrients that are not present in cooked, mature broccoli.