Ever wondered how to grow alfalfa sprouts at home? I'll show you how in this handy tutorial - all you need are alfalfa seeds, a mason jar and some cheesecloth!
We all seem to have a little more time on our hands right now, and what better way to use that time than by growing our own food? I'm not talking about complicated methods or full-on gardening, but simply sprouting your own seeds at home.
I grew up with a mother who used to sprout alfalfa seeds regularly (yes, I was that kid at school) so have been familiar with the process since childhood. Because of this, I've always loved the taste of crunchy fresh sprouts. And they're also really good for you, being high in vitamin C, K and iron, among other things. Sprouting seeds and beans greatly increases their nutrient quality, and makes them easier for us to digest.
However you use them (in sandwiches, salads, smoothies or stir-fries), they're an incredibly versatile little food that doesn't get enough kudos.
Wondering how to grow alfalfa sprouts at home?
Alfalfa is very easy to sprout at home (it's one of the easiest and fastest seeds to sprout). However, I recommend ensuring you've soaked the seeds for 6+ hours first. This will help make the sprouting process much easier and faster!
You don't need fancy equipment: a large glass jar, cheesecloth and an elastic band will do the job. I have an alfalfa sprouter (essentially a tiered system where the water drips down like this), and whilst it is helpful, it's by no means essential. You can grow great sprouts in just a jar, so scroll down for the recipe!
These instructions - although for alfalfa - can essentially be used for any other seeds you want to sprout. Alfalfa is one of the most popular but there are loads of other seeds you can use: clover, broccoli, radish etc. All have different nutritional profiles and taste different. Experiment with a few to see what flavours you like - or even make up your own mix of seeds!
Where can I buy alfalfa seeds?
You can buy seeds for sprouting in your local health food store. Alternatively, stores like Whole Foods usually sell a decent selection, and sometimes you can even find them in your local supermarket.
How to Grow Alfalfa Sprouts at Home
- 2 tbsp alfalfa seeds
- sea salt
- 1 large mason jar
- Piece of cheesecloth
- Place the seeds in a large mason jar. Cover them in twice their volume of water and add a pinch of sea salt.
- Cover the jar's mouth with a piece of cheesecloth and secure it with an elastic band or half of a mason jar lid (see image below). Leave the seeds to soak on a countertop overnight (or for 6+ hours).
- In the morning, drain the water out of the jar through the cheesecloth, and pour about ½ cup of fresh water into the jar again (you don't need to remove the cheesecloth for this - I usually just pour the water straight through it).
- Swill the water around in the jar and then tilt it to drain the water out again.
- Leave the jar on a countertop on its side to allow the seeds to spread out and sprout.
- In the evening, repeat the rinsing and draining process with ½ cup of water.
- Continue to repeat this process morning and evening for about 4 days, until the sprouts are roughly 3-5cm in length with green tips.
- Remove sprouts from the jar, rinse thoroughly and store in a sealed container in the fridge until needed.
- That's it! Use in sandwiches, salads and smoothies. (Sprouts will keep for about 3-4 days in the fridge.)
Looking for more vegan how-to guides? Why not try How to Make Sauerkraut, How to Shop as a Vegan & Store Cupboard Essentials, or How to Make Plant-based Milks!