Growing alfalfa sprouts is inexpensive, crazy simple, and it should be on your list of things to do for the new year and to continue on a regular basis. Look at these tiny seeds. In a matter of a few days, these will turn into healthy, crunchy, tasty sprouts that you can enjoy on sandwiches or in salads.
You’ll spend a minute in the morning and a minute a night filling a jar with water and straining it out. From start to finish, the total amount of time you’ll spend will be way less than 15 minutes over the course of 4 days. Kids love to watch sprouts grow and they love to eat them.
Mary Jo started growing alfalfa sprouts back in the 1970’s and it seemed that we always had fresh sprouts in the refrigerator. Our kids loved them and they are great on burgers, on chicken, egg, or ham salad sandwiches, or in pita bread with hummus and tomatoes. Add them to a tossed salad for extra texture and nutrition.
All you need to grow your own sprouts is a one quart, wide mouth canning jar and a strainer top. You can get a strainer top at coops and sometimes even Walmart.
If you follow the news, you know that there have been many recalls of tainted sprouts sold in the produce section of grocery stores. By growing your own, you’ll know that they are safe and you’ll save lots of money.
Growing Alfalfa Sprouts
The batch in these photos packed the quart jar and started with only 2 teaspoons of seeds, about 25 cents worth. Put 2 teaspoons of seeds in the jar and fill the jar with cool water. Put the strainer cover on the jar and let the seeds soak for 8 to 12 hours. Strain all the water from the jar, then shake the jar to distribute the seeds around the sides, and lay it on it’s side. There is no need for the jar to be in the sun, because seeds don’t need light to sprout.
Once every morning and once every night, fill the jar with water, then strain it all out. After the third day, you can put the jar in a brighter spot to green up the leaves that will be starting to show. After four days the sprouts should be ready to eat. At that point, you can enjoy them as is, so replace the strainer with a regular cover and store them in the refrigerator. You want the sprouts to be dry, so don’t rinse them for at least 8 hours before you cover and refrigerate them.
If you prefer to remove the hulls, place a large bowl in the sink, put all of the sprouts in the bowl, and fill the bowl with cold water, slowly stirring the sprouts around with your hands and lifting them up to separate them from the hulls. Most of the brown seed hulls will sink to the bottom of the bowl, and some will float to the top. Use your hands to skim off the hulls that are floating and discard them. Then gently take handfuls of the sprouts and put them back into the jar, put the strainer cap back on and strain out any water that remains in the jar. Discard the hulls that sank to the bottom of the bowl. Let the sprouts sit on your counter for a few hours to dry out a bit, then cover and place in your refrigerator.
Where to buy alfalfa seeds
Alfalfa seeds are available in the bulk foods section of health food stores and even some larger grocery stores. At our health food store in Clearwater, they were $10.99 per pound. We bought just under a quarter pound for $2.42 and that will be enough seeds for 10 batches.
You can also grow mung beans by this same method, then use them in stir fries, salads, or in oriental soups. The larger beans will take a day or two longer to grow.
I made myself a quick, no fuss quesadilla. Just microwaved grated cheddar cheese, added salsa and a big handful of alfalfa sprouts. I love the crunch of the sprouts and the fresh flavor. I hope you start growing alfalfa sprouts of your own.
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