Why I love and hate the SproutMaster™
I have seen many images on the internet of nice thick green leafy mats of sprouts. In a jar or the EasySprout™, sprouts tend to stay short and don't get very leafy. I discovered that the trick to growing these mats of greenery was to use a tray sprouter. The SproutMaster™ is a very popular tray sprouter. It's about 1 1/2 inches deep with a perforated bottom and a pair of covers. Using this sprouter, it is possible to grow beautiful tall green sprouts.
First I should mention that I believe that the SproutMaster™ is a little over-priced for what it is: a tray with holes in it. In fact, you could say that about any sprouter you buy. There really is nothing special about it. The lids don't even fit on it securely. The trays are stackable which will save space if you need to own several and sprout constantly. It comes in different sizes and mine is 8x10 inches. It has a cheap little divider you can put in the middle to separate crops.
A crunchy green mat of leafy alfalfa sprouts, thanks to the SproutMaster™.
Why I don't like growing leafy green sprouts in the SproutMaster™.
It doesn't take much effort to grow a thick tray of beautiful looking tasty sprouts. I'm not talking about shoots or microgreens, Just sprouts. Not too tall but not short and curly either. To grow short leafy sprouts you need to do the following:
- Use a salad type sprout. I've found alfalfa and clover are about the only thing that works. Sorry. You just can not do this with everything. Six table spoons is more than enough alfalfa seed for a whole 8x10 inch tray
- This works best if you have a sprayer attachment on your kitchen sink. You need to be able to provide a gentle spray for part of this process.
- Soak the seeds in a separate container. You can not soak seeds in the SproutMaster™ because it does not hold water.
- Spread the seeds in the tray evenly and rinse.
- Place the tray on one of the covers with the logo on the cover facing up. The tray will sit a little bit above the lid providing circulation and the cover will act as a drip tray to catch run off.
- Place the other lid, logo up, on top of the tray.
- Rinse regularly as you would with any other sprouter. I do at least two rinses a day.
- When you are finished rinsing, tilt the tray slightly to help drain off any excess water.
- For the first couple days, only rinse gently. Try not to disturb the seeds.
- Once the sprouts get to about 3/4 inches in length, many will start to orient themselves with their leaves pointing up. They form a dense mat that resists being broken up by the sprayer
- By the third day you can spray with more force and make sure you shake off any excess moisture. You pretty much have to turn the tray upside down and shake it.
- Once the sprouts are thick enough, you can hold the tray upside down and spray it to help blow some of the hulls away.
- At this point remove the top lid and cover the tray with a piece of plastic wrap. It doesn't take much time in the light for the sprouts to green up - about a day.
- Within five days you should have a fairly dense crop of tiny leafy sprouts.
That's pretty much all there is to it. You can search around the internet and find more detailed instructions and advice but in the end, this is all you need to do. The key is not to break up the root mass and just let it grow.
Here are some of the things I absolutely dislike about this sprouter:
- It cost way more than I think it is worth
- You can't soak seeds in it
- The divider that comes with the larger version is flimsy and will not keep small seeds from flowing underneath and into the grooves that hold the divider in place
The SproutMaster™ does an ok job on everyday sprouting.
Despite the issues I have with the SproutMaster™, I still use it often. The size of it lets me sprout quite a bit at one time which is nice. And the extra surface area lets me spread the sprouts around and keep them nice and loose. For everyday use, it's perfectly fine. I have detailed instructions for using the SproutMaster™ here
As for growing thick mats of green leafy sprouts, I don't like to do it often. To get good results you need to sprout for a bit longer than I'm comfortable with. You also end up with loads of brown tips on the roots that poke their way through the tray holes. Not only do the root tips turn brown but they also block the sprouter's only source of ventilation. You'd think that letting your sprouts leaf it up would help remove the hulls and it does... from the sprouts. But they tend to fall into and get lodged in the sprout mass and no amount of spraying, even upside down, will free them. I find that by day six (if you go that long) the bottom of the sprouts smell and get slimy and to me that means inedible. If timed just right you can grow a nice crop of leafy green sprouts in the SproutMaster™ I just find I don't have the patients for it.