This is a project you can start today. And anyone can do this! Growing sprouts in your own kitchen is super easy and affordable. I used to do this years ago, right on my windowsill. You don’t have to have special hydroponic equipment or lots of natural light or even a green thumb! Growing alfalfa sprouts also gives you instant gratification – in less than a week you’ll go from seeds to fresh, crunchy green sprouts for your turkey, avocado, and cream cheese sandwich. 🙂
Growing sprouts is also inexpensive! You’ll need to buy the alfalfa seeds. I found mine at a natural grocery store for less than $5. Since you only use a small amount of the seeds for each batch, this 4 oz. bag of sprouting seeds will last me a long time. I did find alfalfa sprout seeds online at Amazon for a better price but it was a much bigger bag, so unless you’re sharing with a friend (or several friends!) buying a small bag at a local store is just fine for starting out. (One reader mentioned that she buys her seeds from local plant and feed stores, so try one of those if it’s closer.)
Once you have the seeds, you just need something to grow them in. A mason jar works just fine. (Any clean glass jar will do! I think the one I used might have been a spaghetti sauce jar originally.)
This photo shows the sprouts seeds soaking in the jar on my kitchen counter Sunday afternoon. It’s covered with cheesecloth, which is secured to the jar by a rubber band. This is important, but you don’t have to use cheesecloth. Any kind of clean porous material will work, so if you have a bit of (clean) screen material laying around that will work; or I’ve even heard of people using a nylon stocking. It just needs to allow water in and out, because after the soaking step, you’ll rinse and drain the seeds twice a day.
By Thursday afternoon, I had a beautiful batch of green sprouts!
The seeds do not have to be in direct sunlight, but they do need some light. It can take about four to six days for the sprouts to be ready to eat, but the fun part is that you’ll start to see some growing action the very next day! This can be a really fun way for kids to learn about growing food from seeds.
Because I hadn’t done this for many years, I followed the directions on my bag of sprout seeds. Here are the steps:
- Put a tablespoon or so of sprout seeds into a clean glass jar.
- Cover the seeds with water to soak for 6-8 hours.
- Place your cheesecloth or other screening material on the top of the jar and secure it with a rubber band or the ring of the mason jar.
- When the seeds have soaked the recommended number of hours, pour out the water. (This is why you need the cheesecloth on top. The water will pour out, but the screen will keep the seeds in the jar.)
- Place the jar with your sprout seeds in an area that will get some sunlight. They don’t need to be in direct sunlight, but you’ll want to place them near a window.
- Twice a day, rinse the seeds thoroughly with water and immediately drain it. (No more soaking at this point. You’re just hydrating the seeds.)
- Watch the growth each day! When they look like alfalfa sprouts, they’re done. Pop the sprouts into the refrigerator to enjoy them on a sandwich or in a salad.
- Start your next batch of sprouts.
You can grow other kinds of sprouts too. I personally like alfalfa sprouts the best, but some companies even sell mixes of sprouting seeds like broccoli, radish, clover, and alfalfa. Whatever sprouts you grow, you’ll be so glad you tried this. Growing your own sprouts saves you money and gives you a great sense of satisfaction knowing you basically have your own kitchen garden year-round!
Do you like posts like these? Did I miss any steps? What kinds of edible plants do you like to grow at home or have been wanting to try? How do you like to eat your sprouts? Let me know in the comments below, and also feel free to ask any questions you may have!