Sprouts thrive in a humid, warm environment with ideal temperatures between 70 and 80°F. Most sprouts are grown commercially in indoor ‘sprouting facilities’ where seeds are typically planted in well-drained, aerated, stainless steel trays or plastic containers.

Depending on the variety, sprouts are harvested between 1 and 8 days after germination. At the time of harvest, the sprout stem should be 1 to 3 inches in length and topped by 2 tiny leaves.

Because of the high risk of contamination, it is essential for sprout handlers to follow strict safety procedures during the harvest process. Growers and handlers should always wear protective gloves when touching product. Any surfaces the sprouts come into contact with should be meticulously sanitized.

Unless sprouts are grown hydroponically, they should be thoroughly washed after harvest, carefully packed for transport, and cooled to 32°F. When cooled at these temperatures, sprouts are expected to have a shelf life of 5 to 9 days.

References: Clemson University, Colorado State University, University of California, USDA, West Kentucky University.

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