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Sprouts

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Grow Alfalfa Sprouts

On the fourth morning after starting my alfalfa seeds, the sprouts have filled the jar and are ready for harvest.

On Friday, I harvested my small kitchen garden. In my last two posts I related the steps I took to start a very small kitchen garden in my house: I rinsed alfalfa seeds, soaked them overnight, and set them to sprout in a kitchen cabinet. Then, I posted photos here to show how things were going.

By Thursday, my only sprout-related news was that I continued to rinse and drain the sprouts, and they were obviously still growing… not compelling enough to prompt a report. On Friday morning, it appeared my sprouting jar was full; the sprouts had grown so much that they were pushing against—and even through—the fabric covering the jar.

Three tablespoons of alfalfa seeds expanded to fill the pint jar in which I started them. I had to shake them out much as you do the contents of a can of jellied cranberries on Thanksgiving (apologies to non-US residents who have never seen jellied cranberries on Thanksgiving–please visit us in November, and we’ll show you). A small number of seeds didn’t sprout; I picked those out for the compost bucket.

So, I removed the lid from my sprouting jar and dumped the sprouts onto a plate. It took a lot of shaking because the sprouts were wedged tightly into the sprouting jar. I gently broke the jar-shaped clump of sprouts apart and spread it on the plate, then I left the plate where indirect sunlight would encourage the sprouts to turn green. In a few hours, I decided the sprouts were drying out, so I dumped them into a clear plastic bag to keep them moist.

Alfalfa Sprout Harvest

At lunch time on Friday, I cooked a handful of fresh alfalfa sprouts into an omelet with provolone cheese. The sprouts added a little crunch along with a curiously nutty/spicy flavor. Sadly, the omelet didn’t win me over to sprouts. I got a real kick out of growing the sprouts, but I’m not excited about eating them. I’ll try to develop a taste for sprouts what with how good they are for me… and because I can grow them indoors easily during winter. I’ll bake some into bread this weekend, and I’ll try some other types of sprouts to learn whether any are so tasty I’ll look forward to eating them.

Please help me learn to love eating sprouts. Leave a comment describing your favorite use of them.

My havested alfalfa sprouts green up a bit before I put them in the refrigerator. I made an omelet with provolone and a handful of sprouts; it was OK, but I’d prefer to find other ways to use sprouts.

I hope you’ll give sprouts a try. Here are a few things I learned:

Use a Bigger Jar, or use Less Seed

Three tablespoons of alfalfa seeds were too many for a pint jar. Were I to do this again, I’d use only two tablespoons of seeds… or I’d put four tablespoons of seeds in a quart jar.

Check out seedpeople

My friend Robin Wedewer who writes the Bumblebee Garden Blog) put me on to a web site called Sprout People. Please have a look. They’ve been selling seeds for sprouting on the web for years. They have a great selection, a lot of great information about sprouting, and low prices.

 

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27 Responses to “Grow Alfalfa Sprouts”

  • You managed to sprout a LOT of sprouts. You’re quite right about fewer seeds or a larger jar. For alfalfa sprouts, they are crispier and tastier if they aren’t crowded. Also, if you leave them on the counter for just 3-5 hours before refrigerating, they get a nice green color that is more attractive.

    Some of my favorite sprout uses:

    - Wheat sprouts (wheat berries) in breads and rolls. Don’t sprout for too long–maybe just a day or two. They just need to be out of the seed. Just toss a handfull in with your regular dough mix.

    - Mung bean, radish, broccoli or almost any sprout in salads, on sandwiches or mixed into tuna salads, etc.

    - Adzuki or mung bean sprouts mixed into stir fry. Taste nutty!

    - There are a lot of great Indian dishes made with mung bean sprouts. Google it!

    Robin Wedewer

  • One more thing…

    I have the Sprout Master from the Sprout People…the stackable sprouter.

    http://www.sproutpeople.com/devices/sproutmaster/sm.html

    I love it. Easy to use and you can sprout many different types of sprout at one time…in small quantities.

    Robin Wedewer

  • My favorite use for sprouts:
    Vegetable Fried Rice
    Subsandwich topping

  • One more, I almost forgot…
    Hot ‘n Sour Soup

  • admin:

    Thank you for the fine suggestions. I just developed an urge for Chinese food! I meant to try sprouts in bread this weekend but didn’t get to it. It’ll happen tomorrow or I’ll need to grow another batch of sprouts before I get to it. Man, hot ‘n sour soup would be awesome about now…

  • snarkychef:

    I like my sprouts in sandwiches. The main way I eat them is not to most people’s taste, but I put them on a tortilla spread with cream cheese (regular or onion flavored) and then roll them up.

  • admin:

    Thanks for the suggestion. Cream cheese and sprouts might work for me. I’ve a loaf of dough with embedded alfalfa sprouts rising and am hoping the combination proves a winner. Of course, it could be that alfalfa sprouts aren’t for me, and I need to try others. I’ve always liked Thai dishes, and some of them are very sprouty. It’ll be fun to grow more sprouts, whatever the variety.

  • They go great on a pita sandwich.

  • Toga:

    We LOVE them on our veggie subs….or any kind of bread with mayo, cucumbers, tomatoes and so forth…yummy

  • laura:

    My son loves sprouts on subs and wraps.
    I like that, but my favorite way is to dice up a bunch of carrots, and a few green onions, then add the sprouts and top it with a little ranch mixed with lowfat sour cream. Then I stir it ill the sprouts seperate and spread evenly through the salad.
    Because some people call alfalfa sprouts “Hair”, when I first created this dish I called it Hairy Carrot salad. My son preferes the title, Hari-Kari salad.

  • admin:

    Scott – Thanks for the suggestion.

    Toga – Yes, I’ve tried them on my sandwiches. The real kicker is to use home made yeast bread. Awesome!

    Laura – This sounds like a great salad and has me thinking about tossing sprouts into a few old favorites. I’ll be they blend well in a wilted spinach salad, for example. Love the name “Hari-Kari Salad.” Thanks for sharing.

  • JYP:

    Eat them raw! Don’t cook them. That kinda defeats the purpose. Yum!

  • Beverly:

    Thanks for the input. I started my first alfafa sprouts and I like your picture because I do not know when they are ready to eat. However, I made pancakes this morning and threw in some sprouts; it was preety good with my homemade strawberry sauce like jam and whipped cream! Oh Yeah!

  • admin:

    Sprouts in pancakes? Why not? Got to admit, though, it never would have occurred to me. Thanks for the suggestion.

    -Daniel

  • Jeanne:

    I love alfalfa sprouts with all of my salads and sandwiches. I haven’t seen any alfalfa sprouts for sale in my area for a longtime and decided to search (to no avail) for alfalfa sprouts – or the seeds to grow said sprouts. I went to all the health-food stores and nurseries and had no luck. I ended up going through Amazon to get everything to grow them :) – but I now have a question for the experienced sprout growers: I live in Yonkers and I have chlorinated/flueronated (sp?) tap-water – do I use bottled water for soaking/rinsing or may I use tap water? I thank you in advance for your answers.

  • admin:

    Thanks for visiting! It’s a shame you can’t find the foods you want locally; I’m glad you were able to find what you wanted elsewhere.

    If your water is safe to drink, your seeds and sprouts will live happily in it. Actually, they’ll live in water that would make you sick… but, of course, if you use bad water to grow sprouts, you’ll consume the bad stuff along with your sprouts. So: to rinse and soak seeds and sprouts, use only water that you’d drink willingly!

  • Olinda:

    I’ve tried to grow the seeds in a small pot of soil and they do grow beautifully, but how should I use them???

  • admin:

    When you plant alfalfa seeds in a growing medium, you face two typical choices:

    1. Harvest them when they’re and inch or two tall by snipping them off with scissors at the soil line (they should have only their original leaves, all greened up). Then use use them in your cooking.

    2. Let them grow to maturity and feed them to livestock – alfalfa is popular with grazing animals; it’s a common component of hay.

    I vote you go with #1. For an overwhelming amount of information about how to use these very young plants, Google the topic “micro greens” and pick through some of the web sites you discover. At some point, I’ll explore micro greens in this blog, but probably not until next winter after I’ve put my macro greens garden to bed.

  • A wonderful article…. this is just what I needed to read today. Thanks for describing the way you work and how you structure your writing projects. I’ll go read that article now.

  • Rissa:

    Around here the current craze at the farmer’s market is sprouted sunflower seeds. I have yet to try them, but I understand they’re tasty in sandwiches and soups. My favorite sprouts are mung beans in stir-fries, springrolls, sushi and salads.

  • Kiyenna:

    I eat sprouts with some Italian dressing on them and that’s it. :P Somehow they taste amazing that way. I also like them in sushi and pitas. :) But Italian dressing is the best. Hope that helps.

  • Sage:

    My mom make’s chicken or tune sandwiches with mayonnaise, alfalfa sprout, celery, and shredded carrots for my lunch. It tastes AMAZING!!!! Nothing in the world is perfect, but these are!!!
    *_*Sage*_*

  • admin:

    Sage: Thanks for the suggestion. I haven’t had tuna salad in, perhaps, decades, but I never thought to add sprouts to a chicken salad sandwich… or why not even sprinkle them on a plate of chicken salad and eat it “straight up?” Hm…

  • I like to eat alfalfa sprouts in sandwiches. Its delicious. Use instead of lettuce.

  • Layla:

    Alfalfa sprouts are delicious in a sandwich with grated carrot, salad leaves and Humous! Best sandwich ever!

  • Lindy Soileau:

    One of my favorites:
    Nature’s own sandwich rounds (or something like that), spread very small amt of mayo, spread some quacamole (as much as you like), chopped tomatoes, shredded mozarella cheese, and top w/ sprouts.

  • whoeverwrotethis:

    we grew these at school and made experiments on them (we were not allowed to eat them), and it looks like you grew yours in the dark…

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