Food and Cuisine

Published on February 8th, 2012 | by Lynn Fang


Sprout Your Own Alfalfa

alfalfa sprouts

Maybe you’ve dreamt of building your own garden, but don’t yet have the means or space to do so. Guess what? You don’t even need soil to try the simplest way of growing food! All you need are some seeds.

Seed sprouting is gardening at its most basic – gardening you can do any time of year, any place you live, and with little or no gardening experience. ~ Alison Kerr

While you can sprout a variety of seeds, including lentils, mung beans, sunflower, or radish seeds, today we’ll try sprouting alfalfa. Different seeds will have different sprouting times, so be sure to read up on how your seeds sprout before starting.

Alfalfa sprouts are 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.

Toss them in salads for an extra little crunch, put them in your sandwich, wrap, or snack on them raw. Put them in your green smoothies and add them to your pasta salad.

What You Need

  • 2-4 Tablespoons of alfalfa seeds (from online, gardening stores, or health food stores)
  • a half-gallon jar
  • screen for the jar (such as a clean wire mesh, cheesecloth, or pantyhose)

What To Do

Day One

  • Take a look at your seeds. Toss out any that are broken or shriveled, and anything that’s not a seed.
  • Rinse seeds well and place in the jar.
  • Fill the jar with enough water to cover all the seeds. Affix the screen to the jar opening and let it soak overnight (8-12 hours).

Day Two

  • Pour out all the water. Your screen will allow the water to flow through, while keeping the seeds inside.
  • Rinse the seeds again by pouring water into the jar, shaking it up, and then pouring the water out through the screen.
  • Be sure to shake well so all the water is gone. Too much moisture will induce rotting. It’s okay if they stick to the sides of the jar.
  • Set the jar at an angle so the excess water drains out. Leave to sit. Keep out of direct sunlight.
  • In the evening, rinse again.

Days Three and Four

Keep rinsing the seeds 2-4 times a day. As they begin to sprout and grow, the jar will fill up quickly.

Day Four or Five

  • After four or five days, the seed hulls will start to break away from the leaves. They are now ready to harvest!
  • Drain sprouts completely. Store them in the refrigerator, and enjoy!

Smell something funky? This means your seeds are either too wet or too warm, and something else is growing in there. Toss them and start over again, making sure to rinse more often. Try to keep them at around 70-80ºF.

Tutorial adapted from Uprooted.

[CC Image by Erin Collins via Flickr]

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About the Author

is a compost consultant and educator, eco-conscious writer, and intuitive artist. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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