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How to grow alfalfa sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts are those little wiggly green things you get on fancy sandwiches and salads. They’re chock-full of nutrients and kinda fun to eat - but they’re expensive. So sprout your own at home. It’s easy and cheap too, and your friends will be so impressed. Here’s how it’s done.
How To Sprout Your Own Alfalfa
- 2-4 Tablespoons of alfalfa seeds (buy ‘em online, at gardening stores, health food stores, farm supply…)
- a half-gallon jar
- screen for the jar (can be anything from clean wire mesh to cheesecloth or pantyhose)
- Inspect your seeds. Toss out any that are broken or withered, and remove any bits of non-seed material (sticks, dirt, etc).
- Rinse seeds well, and toss ‘em in the jar.
- Fill jar with plenty of water (more than enough to cover the seeds). Attach the screen to the jar opening and let it soak overnight (8-12 hours).
- Pour out all the water. Your screen will let water escape but keep the seeds in the jar.
- Rinse the seeds again: pour water into the jar, shake it around, pour water out through the screen.
- Shake well to make sure all the water is gone; too much moisture will make your sprouts rot. They should be damp but NOT wet. If they want to, let ‘em stick to the sides of the jar.
- Set the jar at a 45-degree angle (say, by propping it up in a bowl) so that any excess water drains out. Leave to sit. Keep out of direct sunlight.
- In the evening, repeat the rinsing process.
Days Three and Four
- Keep rinsing the seeds 2-4 times a day. They will begin to sprout very quickly, and the jar will fill up.
- Watch out for a funny smell: this means that your seeds are too wet or too warm, and something other than alfalfa is growing. If your sprouts start smelling funky, start again and rinse more often, and try to keep them around 70°-80°.
Day Four or Five
- After four or five days, the hulls of the seed will start to break away from the leaves. Your sprouts are ready to harvest!
- If you want to green ‘em up a little, put them in direct sunlight for a short time. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours, so keep an eye on them!
- Drain sprouts completely. Store them in the refrigerator, and eat at will.
PROTIP: You can sprout many kinds of seeds. Check out this complete list of sprouting methods for everything from quinoa to almonds.
PROTIP: Alfalfa sprouts are nutrition city. From NutritionData.com:
This food is low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Niacin and Calcium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.