Every February I get the itch to start growing food for my family, but in Minnesota my options are quite limited when you don’t own a greenhouse. So, I go buy some alfalfa sprouts and get my gardening on.
It’s not gardening in the traditional sense that you think, but more of hydroponic gardening where you grow plants in water. The seeds/sprouts are in very little water as you only need to rinse them every day and they grow using only the water left on the surface of the sprout and jar.
Very little supplies are needed to grow your own alfalfa sprouts and many of them you may have in your home already, but you will need to locate sprout seeds. I buy mine from a local natural food co-op, so try starting there.
The other supplies you need is a Quart Jar, if you don’t have a canning jar, re-purpose a jar from spaghetti or pickles that is about a quart size. It is best if it has a wide mouth.
If you do have a canning jar, you will most likely have a canning ring. If not, use a strong rubber band.
Finally you need cheesecloth or a clean nylon (you can by knee hi nylons very cheaply, you might even have one leftover if you used the other for a Washing Machine Drain Hose Filter). You also need water.
It will take you about a week to grow alfalfa sprouts from start to finish and you spend less than a minute a day tending to them.
I am going to tell you how to grow a container of sprouts that is about equal to the size of the container you buy in the grocery store, but there is room in the jar that you could double the amount. We don’t eat them fast enough to grow that much at once, but maybe your family does.
How to Grow Your Own Alfalfa Sprouts
Day 1 : (pictured above) Soak 1 T of seeds overnight in water that fills about 1/3 of the jar. Place nylon secured by a ring over the top. The nylon allows for air to get in and to easily drain the water. You will not be taking this off until you are ready to eat them.
Day 2: (pictured above) Drain the water. Rinse seeds. I usually rinse them twice each day. Roll the jar so that the seeds coat the jar. Place in a sunny location, or a location that gets indirect sunlight.
Day 3-7: (picture on the left) Continue to rinse twice each day for the remainder of the growing length. The more sun they receive the faster and greener they will grow.
This is a picture on Day 5. You can see how much longer they have grown and how they are starting to green up nicely.
This is Day 7 and they are ready to be eaten. You may need to take another 1-2 days if you do not have as sunny of a spot as I do. Look for south facing windows for the best location. If a south facing spot is not available, then look towards the west or SW so that the sprouts can have as much sunlight as possible.
When you are ready to eat you can pour them out into a colander and give them a final rinse. The seed hulls are edible and provide a delightful crunch, but you could remove them my shaking them off your sprouts.