DIY: Alfalfa Sprouts

Sprouts

Have you ever tried growing your own sprouts? I was successful with my very first attempt and am delighted with the results. You can purchase seeds at garden centers, hardware stores, and some groceries stores. Whole Foods usually carries them. You can even do the same process with whole lentils.

You need:
• 1 quart wide mouth caning jar (32 ounces) or similar glass jar
• 1.5 tablespoons alfalfa seeds or about ½ cup whole lentils
• Cheesecloth or a piece of stocking
• Lid ring for the jar or a rubber band
• Bleach (optional)

1. Disinfect: It is recommended that you disinfect the seeds prior to sprouting them, in order to eliminate any risk of E. coli. Add 1 cup hot tap water to jar. Then add 1 teaspoon bleach. Then add 1.5 tablespoon seeds. Let the seeds soak in this solution for 15 minutes. Rinse, and drain well. Rinse and drain several times. You can skip the disinfecting step with the lentils.
2. Soak: The seeds should now be disinfected and still inside the jar. Attach the cheesecloth to the mouth of the jar with a ring or a rubber band. Add about 2 inches of water above the seeds, and let them soak overnight. The next morning, remove the water and rinse a couple of times.
3. Rinse and Drain: Gently shake the jar so that the seeds are evenly distributed on two sides of the jar. Then place the jar tilted on its side inside a bowl. This will allow for the water to continue draining out. You will repeat this procedure once a day, every day, for 4-6 days. Sprouts are ready when they are about 2 inches long.
4. Green: On the fourth day of sprouting, you want to leave your jar out in a spot where there is indirect sunlight. You will notice that your sprouts get greener.
5. Once the sprouts are ready, rinse them well in a large bowl with cold water. You want to remove as many of the hulls from the sprouts as possible. The hulls are edible, but they tend to retain moisture. Moisture will cause your sprouts to spoil and will shorten their shelf life.
6. Place sprouts in a colander and allow them to drain for 8-12 hours, or overnight. Letting the sprouts completely dry out before refrigerating will prolong their shelf life. Alternatively, you can spin the sprouts in a salad spinner until completely dry.
7. Store: Store sprouts in a container in the crisper section of your refrigerator for 4-7 days.

I like alfalfa sprouts in sandwiches and salads. The first thing I made was this chicken, smoked Gouda, tomato, avocado, & sprout sandwich with homemade honey mustard dressing.

Sandwich with Alfalfa Sprouts

Resources:
Botanical Interests Alfalfa Sprouts
Special Sprouting Lid
1 Quart Wide Mouth Canning Jars Sometimes hardware store sell these by the unit.
Want to grow more than one quart at a time? You can get a tray sprouter.

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