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Are Broccoli Sprouts Supposed To Smell Bad? | For Growers And Buyers

Broccoli sprouts are not meant to smell bad, whilst sprouting, growing, storing or eating. Broccoli sprouts are a high risk food, and if they smell bad, you should dispose of them immediately and thoroughly wash all of your equipment. We’ll give a detailed review of why sprouts can smell, how to prevent this from happening, and how to pick your perfect seeds.


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What Are Broccoli Sprouts?

Broccoli sprouts are white thin shoots with green tips that sprout from broccoli seeds. They’re known for being highly nutritious and having a very distinctive taste. Their taste can be compared to mustard or horseradish, for having that spicy kick. Their texture is crunchy and the shoots will snap when you bite into them.
Broccoli sprouts are very popular to grow, for they are quick, easy and cheap. All you need is a sprouting vessel, or container, and some seeds! Simply soak the seeds for 6-8 hours, before draining. After  thoroughly wash twice per day for up to 5 days. Then they’re ready to be enjoyed.
Grow Your Pantry have designed and made sprouting trays and kits, that include seeds and guides for easy sprouting. Check out the latest prices of them at Our Store. 


How Are Broccoli Sprouts Meant To Smell?

Broccoli sprouts should not really smell distinctly of anything. Possibly before washing they may smell slightly of sulfur. Similarly to most green vegetables, including florets of broccoli the smell is not pungent or distinctive - at most they will smell slightly earthy if just picked.
Therefore the best way your sprouts can smell is not at all!


How To Tell If Your Broccoli Sprouts Have Gone Bad

Broccoli sprouts are very easy to tell if they’ve gone bad, by looking at their appearance as well as their scent. If your sprouts either smell bad or look bad then dispose of them, they don’t need both signs to be considered inedible. 
Smell  - As previously described there shouldn’t be a strong smell. If your sprouts smell of eggs, sulfur, or any other putrid scent then they’ve gone bad. Gently raise the sprouting vessel towards you to test. 
Appearance - Broccoli sprouts should only have off-white shoots and green-yellow leaves. There should not be any fuzzy growth, of different colors. One of the most common signs is “white fuzz” starting to grow from the top of your sprouts or in between the shoots. 


What To Do If Your Sprouts Have Gone Bad

If your sprouts have gone bad, you must dispose of them immediately. Contaminated food, and putrid food becomes more dangerous the longer that it is there.
Throw your seeds, sprouts and partially sprouted shoots, in the trash immediately. After which you should thoroughly disinfect all equipment that you have used. This is to prevent further contamination, or spoiling your next batch of sprouts too.



7 Reasons Broccoli Sprouts Smell Bad And How To Fix Them

There are many possible reasons why broccoli sprouts can go bad, some of which are completely out of your control. But there are many precautions that we can take that will ensure our seeds sprout more successfully. Here’s a walkthrough of all the likely reasons your sprouts smell and our recommended solutions. 
Seed Source - Always buy from a reputable seed supplier that has tested their seeds, never buy normal seeds for sprouting. Bad seeds spell for disaster, make sure that your seeds are certified for sprouting. 
Most reputable seed suppliers distinguish between sprouting seeds and non-sprouting seeds, sprouting seeds have to follow more strict FDA guidance, to avoid contamination. This generally means that the seeds have been grown in different mediums, and animal waste fertilizer has not been used.
Chlorine In Water - To sprout seeds we would recommend using pure, unchlorinated water. Often the best source is bottled mineral water, be sure to always check the label before buying or adding to your sprouts.
A lot of houses’ water supply contains chlorine. Chlorine is mixed into home water supplies to kill harmful bacteria and germs, which it is very effective at. However high concentration of chlorine can risk killing your seeds. When your seeds are killed they will fail to sprout and often become rotten and smelly.
Initial Soak Too Long - It’s recommended to soak for seeds for 6-8 hours. If you accidentally leave your seeds soaking for too long or forget about them, then you risk them going bad. The water will start to promote seed rot instead of encouraging them to shoot. Always follow the instructions - we would recommend setting an alarm so you know when they’re ready to drain!
Infected With Flies - Having a lid or vessel set up that allows for the free draining of water but does not let any insects or flies in is essential. There are many accessories, vessels and kits that cater specifically to this. If you don’t want to buy new equipment we would recommend using a muslim cloth to cover your jar and to seal it with an elastic band.
Oxygen supply - Your sprouting seeds need a steady supply of oxygen that will enrich and promote growth. You do not want to make an airtight seal around your lid, this will stop the sprouts from draining and drying out. A lack of oxygen supply will promote pockets of moisture and lead to possible rotting too.
Rinsing Them - It’s essential that you rinse your sprouts at least 2 times per day. During the rinsing you should make sure all of your broccoli sprouts have been thoroughly cleaned. Failure to do so will likely result in rotting sprouts.
Draining Thoroughly - After each rinse you need to drain your sprouts until dry. There should be no moisture left inside your vessel or jar. The easiest way to do this with a mason jar is to turn upside down and in a bowl. Empty the water frequently and let your sprouts drip dry.


How To Clean Broccoli Sprouts

There are many times during the broccoli sprouting process when you should clean your sprouts: before soaking, after soaking, twice daily during sprouting, before storing and after storing. Each stage follows the same method of cleaning, which is very quick and simple.
General Broccoli Sprout Cleaning Method:
1.  Drain all water to begin with
2.  Empty your container of sprouts into a colander
3.  Run tap water through the colander in the sink 
4.  Mix thoroughly making sure all broccoli sprouts get washed
5.  Clean and rinse your jar too
6.  Once dry, add your sprouts back into your jar
7.  Rest upside down or how your equipment advises to completely dry

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do My Broccoli Sprouts Smell Bad?
Broccoli sprouts can smell for many reasons, the most common is that they have not been thoroughly cleaned and allowed to dry, using a correct method. The second most common reason is using a poor quality source of seeds that’s not suitable for sprouting.
Do Broccoli Sprouts Get Moldy?
Yes, just like all living food, broccoli sprouts can become moldy. If sprouted using the correct method and  stored using a suggested method too then there should be no mold growth.
Does Freezing Broccoli Sprouts Kill Bacteria?
No freezing broccoli sprouts will not kill bacteria. It slows the growth of organisms and causes them to become inactive. Once defrosted they will start to become active again and multiply too.
Does Cooking Broccoli Sprouts Destroy Nutrients?
Yes, cooking will destroy nutrients. It;’s best to steam them if you’re looking to preserve nutrients. Check out this article for more information: Does Boiling Destroy Nutrients?
Why Do You Have To Rinse Sprouts?
Rinsing broccoli sprouts keeps them fresh, and growing. If you let them soak in water they’ll become rotten very quickly and if you don’t rinse them they’ll become too dry, stop growing and never shoot.
How Much Broccoli Sprouts Should You Eat Daily?
You should not eat more than 1 cup or 100g per day. As advised by Dr Rhonda Patrick.
Do Broccoli Sprouts Cause Gas?
This will depend on the person. Each food affects different people in different ways. Broccoli sprouts do not have a reputation for causing gas but for some they may have the effect.
Are Broccoli Sprouts Healthier Than Broccoli?
They are two different vegetables that can’t be compared by health benefits. They both contain different vitamins, minerals and nutrients which will all have differing effects on your body and health. We would recommend reviewing the nutrient content and seeing which is best suited to you.


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