Shelf Life and Storage of Sprouting Seed
Proper storage is essential to maximizing the germination potential
of all dormant Seeds, Beans and Grains.
Basic storage is Cool, Dry and Dark. 55-70° (f) with humidity of 70% or less will (based on our experience) result in shelf life as stated in this chart, though lower humidity is always desirable.
Seed life can be maximized by Freezing - which will increase shelf life 4-5 times. Do not refrigerate. Refrigerators humidity fluctuates too much and can shorten the life of your seeds.. If freezing - avoid condensation - which can shorten a seed's life. Just take out what you need and return the rest to the freezer. No need to thaw.
The Shelf Life given is approximate and is based on our experience.
Our Mixes Shelf Life is based on the seed in that mix with the shortest shelf life.
This page is organized alphabetically. We hope that doesn't throw you off @;-D
If you are looking for a seed and don't find it on our list - consider what it is and draw your own conclusion. For example - Cauliflower is a Brassica - so take a look at our Brassicas. You'll see they have about 5 years - so you can assume that to be the case for Cauliflower too.
Certain seeds - Almond, Peanuts, Pumpkin, Sunflower and therefore Madison Market Mix - have high oil content. Those seeds will go bad (they sour) if stored too long at warm temperatures. Those seeds really should be frozen (ours are, if they aren't vacuum packed) if you are going to have them more than a couple months.
Our estimates, once again, are based on our experience. I guess I should admit that the numbers are generally very conservative. For example; we know Grains commonly hold their germination power longer than 2 years. Just the same, we prefer to use and sell fresh seeds, so we seldom have them longer than 1 year. At least to some degree - our estimates are largely based on our preference for fresh seeds. We've had more than one seed last a decade without any noticeable loss in vitality, but we turn our inventory over regularly. I babble...
Seeds are harvested year round. Those that come from the Southern Hemisphere are harvested at the opposite time of year as those up north - which is where most of ours come from. Up here on the top half of the globe - some are harvested in Spring, some in Summer - but the vast majority are harvested in Fall. They then go through various procedures. Some "ripen", all are cleaned, run over gravity tables and sorted and some are cleaned again. Some are polished and cleaned yet again. We have never seen these procedures ourselves, but we have long wanted to hit the road and meet our farmers and suppliers - so perhaps we will get to see it all one day. You can bet that we will share that experience with you! All in all, this means - between harvest time and availability to us (and therefore you) - we get the majority of our new seed in December and January. None of this makes any real difference to you - I just like to inform. We always have the best seeds, regardless of when you purchase them.
Some seeds are prone to insect infestation, and as these are organic seeds, there is no way to keep insects at bay, except for freezing or adding a powder (diatomaceous earth), which we do not care for in our sprouts.
The most common pests in the sprout world are Indian Meal Moths. These pests begin as microscopic eggs. Those eggs will hatch if conditions are right - - hot. They form larvae which then turn into little moths. They eat seeds, but the real problem is the webs they create. Disgusting! They are rarely a problem for us, here in cool San Francisco, but if there are eggs in any seed we send you, and it's summer or hot enough, you will get to meet them. We keep the seeds that are prone to them frozen whenever possible (we have limited freezer space, and our freezers first have to hold the seeds which have short shelf lives - like Garlic, Onion etc.) and necessary (if it gets hot here). So, we never send you any infested seed. If you freeze your seed as soon as it arrives at your home, you will be preventing any possibility of ever seeing them, so do freeze Nuts, Seeds & Pseudograins, Greens, Grains and any mix which contains any of those. It's not that all of those are prone to these pests, but enough are that we group them together. FYI - we've never ever seen these in Wheat, so you can skip worrying about that seed. It is also not uncommon for these to be in your house - before you get seeds. We first met these years before we were Sproutpeople. We have been buying organic food for years, and shopping in bulk - so perhaps that's why - but in any case - these moths are also known as Pantry Moths or Flour Moths. It was flour in which we first found them - in our pantry. So please do not blame us if you get these in your house. They are extremely common in our society, and hey - these are organic seeds! Like one of our favorite seed suppliers says "They're good. They prove your seed is organic." Lastly - if you do see these in your seed - you can still use it. Freeze it for a couple weeks. The larvae will basically disappear. Compost any clumps of seed, if there are any, and pour off any moths or such that float when you add water for soaking. I've probably grossed out some of you, but I'm just not squeamish about these - they are such a minor annoyance, I just keep on sprouting.
The only other insects we have ever seen are Weevils. We have seen Bean Weevils twice in all our years. Grain Weevils we have seen but once. In all cases we have composted the seed that was infested. Freezing will kill them, but our initial experience was back in 1994, and it so impressed us (I'm not telling that story - that one makes me squeamish) that we have never wanted anything more than to get rid of them - so we get rid of the seeds immediately. As it has been such a rarity, and was so long ago I will not say more. Rest assured - we do not EVER send seeds with weevils! NEVER! If you get seeds from somewhere other than Sproutpeople, and you meet a weevil - take the loss. Compost them. Get them out of your house ASAP. My opinion.
Condensation is what happens when a cold (frozen in our case) item is defrosted - especially in a closed container. Water is formed by the thawing. Obviously, when we are talking about seeds we intend to sprout, water is not good - unless we are ready to soak our seeds - so if you keep your seeds in the freezer, return the seed you are not using within several minutes. You do not have to thaw the seeds you will be sprouting - you can go ahead and soak them directly. Just re-seal the bag or jar (or whatever air-tight container you store your seeds in) and return it to the freezer.
The Basics of Sprouting:
- Seed Storage: Keeping your dormant seeds happy.
- Soaking: Turning a dormant seed into a nutritional powerhouse.
- Rinsing: Water is the key ingredient in sprouts. Use it liberally.
- Draining: It is essential that sprouts be drained thoroughly after rinsing. Sitting in a puddle is the most common cause of crop failure.
- Air Circulation: If your sprouts can’t breathe while growing - they can die. Don’t put them in a closed cabinet.
- Greening: Photosynthesis is cool, and so is Chlorophyll, but not all sprouts are into it, nor is it necessary. Sprouts of all colors are packed with flavor and nutrition!
- Cleanliness: Your seed should be clean and your sprouting device should be sterile. Wash your sprouter well between crops. Sterilize when necessary.
- Storage: Properly stored, fresh sprouts will keep for up to 6 weeks in your refrigerator but fresher is better. Never refrigerate wet sprouts.
- Eat More Sprouts! Grow More Often!