Monday, February 22, 2010

How to grow your own alfalfa sprouts

Pin It I'm so behind in posting recipes (what food blogger isn't?), and I know my Facebook fans are on the edge of their seats waiting for the results of my polenta cooking-technique tests ;) but I'm so excited about my sprouts I have to post this first :)

I love sprouts, and was thrilled when I came across a blog post from StephChows (way back in May) that showed how you can grow alfalfa sprouts at home. I finally had a chance to try it and it was awesome! In 4 days I had sprouts to eat that I grew myself on my kitchen window sil!

I ordered my alfalfa and radish sprouting seeds from The Sprout House; it's important to use seeds produced specifically for sprouting. According to The Sprout House, sprouts have lots of vitamins, so not only are they tasty, they are really good for you (and so easy to grow!).

Cut a piece of cheese cloth that will cover the top of a wide-mouth, quart-size mason jar, and set the cheese cloth aside. I used 4 layers of cheesecloth. Wash your mason jar in hot, soapy water, and rinse it really well; store the flat lid insert and keep the ring. Put 1-2 tablespoons (I used 2 tbs alfalfa/1 tbl radish) of the sprouting seeds in the jar, rinse the seeds, fill the jar half-way with warm water, and soak the seeds for 4 hours. Lay the cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar and screw on the lid (I trimmed my cheesecloth so it didn't hang all weird). Steph from StephChows found that leaving a 1/2-inch open space allowed for the right amount of air flow for the sprouts to grow. The air also helps keep the seeds from getting moldy--ewww!

After the 4 hours, drain the soaking water. I used the cheesecloth as a sieve to drain the water through. Rinse the seeds 2 times, and set the jar at an angle in a bowl with the mouth down. Remember to leave 1/2-inch of the cheesecloth open.

You want the sprouts to be green so you need to keep your jar in a window or other place where they will get bright sunlight. I turned and shook my jars a little to distribute the seeds as evenly as possible.

Rinse the seeds at night and in the morning until they're ready to harvest. Rinsing is super important because it keeps the seeds moist (but not wet) and it rinses off any nasty spores that might turn your seeds moldy.

Baby sprouts! Here they are after 24 hours. My 2 year-old was horrified when I first showed her the jar. She thought they were bugs. She was relieved when I told her they were baby plants. :)

Remember to rinse them morning and night.

Here they are after 48 hours. The radish sprouts are on the right. Next time I'll use 2 tablespoons instead of only 1. The seeds are bigger, so 1 tablespoon was fewer seeds than the same measurement of alfalfa sprouts.

I don't know how, but I managed to not take a picture for day 3.

Day 4! Holy cow! Look at those alfalfa sprouts! I was so excited, I couldn't wait to eat some!

And they smelled so good...

Day 4 radish sprouts...aren't they so pretty?

The radish seeds are much bigger than the alfalfa seeds, so I rinsed the finished radish sprouts to get rid of the seed casings. I put the sprouts in a bowl and filled the bowl with cold water. The seed casings floated to the top and I was able to pour them off (I had to hold the sprouts back with my hand to keep them from going with the water). I rinsed the sprouts 4 or 5 times, using my fingers to gently swish the sprouts around in the water to let the casings float to the top of the water, and got rid of most of the casings. Then I gently dried the sprouts on some paper towels.

Ready to eat! Radish sprouts on the left and alfalfa sprouts on the right.

I didn't waste any time. I immediately made two pita-pocket sandwiches with some Boar's Head (my favorite brand) Blazing Buffalo Chicken lunch meat and my newly harvested sprouts. They were so, so good, especially the radish sprouts that had a really nice, mild radish flavor.


I put the sprouts in a plastic container, put a damp paper towel directly on top of the sprouts, and put the lid on. Keep them in your fridge, of course. I imagine they'll stay good for 5 days or so, though I don't think mine will last that long.

The next day (today) I had both sprouts on a salad with chicken, tomatoes, carrots, and baby bell peppers. Yum, again!


  1. Congrats!! They all look beautiful! I haven't sprouted in awhile now... I should get back into it, they are just so much better than store bought!!

  2. The tipping step is one I have never thought to try! I have some seeds I need to use... it's so winter-y and I need to grow something!!!

    PS - I totally relate to having all these posts piling up! :)

  3. Oh my goodness..I use to sprout all the time! Thanks for this wonderful reminder of how easy it is to do - and how deeeelicious! Love your blog.

  4. Hey man this is really a nice post i like it very much....

  5. I just got the alfalfa seeds that I ordered, delivered today. I didn't waste any time and planted them right away. 4 more hours and I can drain those babies! I'm so excited I can hardly wait till I can eat them! Thank you ever so kindly for this post. I love alfalfa sprouts and they're nearly impossible to get by where I live. I had no idea how simple it is to grow them at home :)

    1. I'm so excited for you! I was totally amazed the first time I grew them. I couldn't believe how easy it was and how delicious they were. Yay! Happy growing! :)

  6. I sprout alfalfa to provide my pet chickens with fresh greens in the winter. I use 32-ounce yogurt containers, with the center part of the lid cut out to make a ring. I then cut a square of plastic window screen that I clamp onto the top as a strainer. Put 2 tablespoons of seeds into the container and cover with water. I soak mine for 24 hours. Then drain and rinse twice a day. They LOVE them. They eat better than I do.

    1. I love that you sprout them for your chickens! What a great idea! And another idea for a sprouting container...fantastic! Thanks for stopping by :)

  7. Well, I don’t think your readers would mind the late posts since you are clearly making up for it. :-) And I’m glad that you tried growing alfalfa sprouts at home. My wife and I are also started growing alfalfa at home since we learned about its benefits. It is an immune system booster and good for bone health. Plus, it is a delicious ingredient to our alfalfa sprout omelette. :-)

  8. Tiffany thanks so much for your wonderful step by step post. Sprouts are really hard to find in some areas. After seeing your post, we decided to give it a try. We used a plastic smoothie container. It was so much fun watching them grow, and on the morning of day 3, our container was really full of fluffy sprouts!

    1. You're so welcome! I'm glad they grew so nice for you--it is so fun to watch them :) Enjoy!


I'd love to hear from you! Please use the form below to send any questions or comments you may have :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...