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Turnip the Beet! Nutrition and Wellness

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Steps for Successful Sprouting at Home

In a previous post I introduced the exciting world of sprouting. This post will take you through the steps of sprouting alfalfa seeds. This process will take 4-5 days. Click on the picture above for a day-by-day photo slideshow.

Seeds themselves are a very nutritious form of food because they contain proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and oils that a beginning plant needs to grow. When seeds are sprouted, many of these nutrients are increased.

It is important to note that if you are just starting out, make sure you only use seeds that are ‘sprouting seeds’ as many vegetable seeds may have been treated with fungicides/pesticides and you don’t want to eat that! You can purchase these seeds from garden stores, health food stores, reputable websites and seed catalogs.

There are several options for you to choose from:

Alfalfa, barley, buckwheat, celery, chia, corn, dill, fenugreek, kidney beans, lentils, lettuce, mung beans, onion, parsley, peanut, pumpkin, radish, rye, sesame, and squash.

What you’ll need:

  • A jar for sprouting like the one pictured on the left. Wide mouth jars work really well but any will do.
  • A sprouting lid- either cheesecloth and a rubber band or a stainless steel mesh screen. These can be purchased online and in health food stores. I prefer the mesh screen which is pictured here.
  • And of course seeds! I started with alfalfa sprouts because I was already familiar with these.


STEP 1: Soak 2 T of alfalfa seeds in a quart size jar filled halfway with water. Allow to sit for 12 hours. Refer to picture above.

STEP 2: After 12 hours, drain the seeds. Using cool water, rinse the seeds and drain making sure to get out as much water as possible. It’s okay to shake the jar when draining to get out every last drop. Otherwise the seeds will ferment and spoil.

These steps represent the "soak, rinse and drain" method. You will want to rinse and drain twice per day (4 days total). In-between rinses, keep jar inverted at an angle so additional water can continue to drain. I like to keep mine near the sink.

STEP 3: Depending on the variety of seeds you use, they will be ready within 3-6 days. Once sprouts reach the desired length, husks may be removed (although they are completely fine to eat). To remove: place the sprouts in a pan of water, stir gently, and remove the seed coats as they float to the surface.



Dry thoroughly before storing. Store sprouts in a sealed bag or jar in the refrigerator for 2 weeks for best quality.


Nutrition information for alfalfa sprouts:

  • 35% protein
  • four of the eight essential amino acids
  • many minerals
  • vitamins D and E


Cooking ideas:
  • use raw in salads, sandwiches, pitas and wraps
  • stir-fry with other vegetables and protein
  • add to soups, stews and casseroles
  • eat plain for a healthy snack

DAY 4. What a beautiful sight!



Oregon State University Extension: Jump-start spring by sprouting seeds indoors

Virginia Cooperative Extension: Sprouting Seeds for Food

University of Wisconsin Extension: Growing Edible Sprouts at Home

Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Raw Sprouts & Food Safety











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