Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How to Home Grow Alfalfa Sprouts (Tutorial Tuesday)

Welcome to another fun Tuesday here on the blog! It's time for a tutorial that has been requested by many many emails. How to sprout! I want to start with a basic seed that doesn't require any special equipment to grow. Others are a little more labor intense.

Alfalfa Sprouts are remarkable plants that contains an abundance of essential nutrients and are loaded with health benefits. I use them a lot of places but most often on a sandwich between two pieces of homemade bread and some fresh tomatoes when the tomatoes are nice and perky and the alfalfa is nice and lean. I love that. I can't even tell you how much I Love them on a salad. So where do we start? Let's go for the seeds themselves. Where does one get alfalfa seeds, enough to plant an in kitchen garden? Well...first let me tell you about the seeds.
" Did you know that alfalfa is actually a member of the legume family? Making it a bean? Did you know that in less than 7 days you can have fresh sprouts of alfalfa, making it one of the most nutritious and accessible foods in the world?
Alfalfa sprouts juice contains a myriad of valuable nutrients such as calcium, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, zinc.

This is the only plant that supplies the full range of vitamins, from vitamin A, B complex (even B12), C, E to K. Alfalfa sprouts placed in indirect sun for a couple of days before harvesting, even produce nutritious blood-healing chlorophyll." find more about Alfalfa Sprouts (http://www.juicing-for-health.com/alfalfa-sprouts-nutrition.html)

I really love Azure Standard's organic alfalfa seeds. I get the 5 lb bag locally at Preparing Wisely in Mesa, AZ (Preparing Wisely Online Store) and it lasts me about 6 months...even with sprouting weekly.
Here's what I do. First I get a good hair net. Okay. It's not a hair net...it's a nice mesh piece of fabric netting. One with small enough holes that the seeds won't get through. A hair net would be cool if I was really into looking like "I Love Lucy"...ya know? Take the fabric and put it on the open end of a jar. I use a canning quart jar, but any jar will work as long as the fabric is tied securely to the opening with a piece of twine or a canning ring.
I soak 1/4 cup of seeds in a quart of water overnight. They look so sad in the water...but they won't die.
Drain the seeds. Run water through the mesh and rinse the seeds. Drain.
Turn the jar upside down and allow full sunlight for 8 hours, rinse two times a day for the next 3 days keeping in sun for nice green sprouts.
This is a batch I started Saturday night. It's now Monday and they look like this...

Give them a couple more days and they will be all bright green and ready for sandwich making. Once sprouted, I store them in the fridge up to 4 days. They usually are eaten by then.

There you go. Basic alfalfa sprouts. The same method can be used for lentils, mung beans, and so forth. When I was growing up it wasn't unusual to sprout staple amounts of radish seeds for a peppery addition to our sandwiches. More to follow as we explore more of the culinary world. But...in the meantime, try to sprout some alfalfa.


Mama Peck said...

Sadly I have never learned to love alfalfa sprouts but wheat sprouts are YUMMY. Great tutorial. :)

mlebagley said...

I have always wanted to know how to do this! Thanks for the knowledge - you just empowered me!

clan of the cave hair said...

mmmm, makes me want a childhood favorite, toasted sourdough english muffin, smashed avocado (NOT guacamole, just plain smashed avocado), salt, pepper, and a heaping handful of alfalfa sprouts. My mouth is now watering.

Chef Tess said...

Mmmm. Sprouts on sourdough! Yummm. I need to get some avocado!