Something I’ve wanted to do for a long time has been to grow my own alfalfa sprouts. I finally decided to give it a go after getting tired of purchasing alfalfa and other sprouts from the store, only to find they were already half wilted and needed to be tossed after day two. I’m so happy I finally made the whopping $6 plunge and bought a proper sprouting jar and organic seeds, because not only are the sprouts I’ve been growing fresher, greener, and tastier, but it’s just so much fun as well!
To teach your kids about the process of plant growth without having to wait all summer for the results, you can either use a large glass jar you have around the home or buy a sprouting jar. I’d suggest purchasing a special jar so you have the right sort of lid. My jar is from the NOW company and cost about $4.50. If you use your own jar, you’ll need some sort of screened lid or some good, very breathable mesh. Get your kids in on picking out the seeds to sprout–alfalfa, radish (very spicy), mung beans, or any other seeds you find in your health food store’s sprouting section. Ask around because the possibilities are endless.
Put about 2 Tbs. of seeds in the jar and soak them in 3 times as much water anywhere from 5 hours to overnight, depending on how small the seeds are. Rinse the seeds while still in the jar and drain out the water through the mesh screen. Once all the water is drained, lay the jar on an angle with the seeds spread along the side of the jar. (Don’t shake the seeds once they start sprouting!) Place the jar in a dark, cool place. I hide mine in the cupboard above the stove.
Rinse the seeds twice a day for about 5 days. When you rinse, be very gentle and use lukewarm water. Drain out all the water. Store the jar on its side once again. ***In humid weather, you may have to rinse the sprouts as many as 5 times a day! This is important because you can ruin the seeds by letting mildew settle.
After 3 to 5 days, or when the seeds look long and full with two little leaves on top, rinse a final time and place the jar in a sunny window for a couple of hours to allow photosynthesis to take place. Kids will love to check up on the greening of their sprouts.
You can now place the sprouts in a bowl and cover them with water, allowing the seed hulls to rise to the top. Scoop the hulls out. If some are left, don’t worry about it. They don’t taste bad at all. And the sprouts themselves? Fabulous! I was amazed at the difference in taste and the improved texture.
There you go! Use your sprouts to top salads, sandwiches, green smoothies, and whatever else your little chefs can concoct. You bet after watching the growing process, your kids will want to gobble up these very nutrient-dense, vitamin packed sprouts!