Alfalfa is a perennial plant known botanically as Medicago sativa or commonly referred to as lucern. It has been used as forage for years. However, there is more to alfalfa greens than just making hay. The high-protein alfalfa sprouts are good for humans to eat and contain a myriad of nutritional value.
Alfalfa green sprouts are low in calories, contain vitamins B and K, plant proteins and dietary fiber making them suitable for people with digestion problems. Studies have shown that alfalfa greens reduce bad cholesterol and may help manage blood sugar in people with diabetes.
Begin your journey to an alfalfa sprouts nutrition by growing your sprouts at home. Growing alfalfa sprouts is simple and gives you guaranteed supply of fresh, organic, healthy alfalfa greens. You can obtain the seeds from a seed store near you and grow them in a jar. Let’s have a look at how you can grow them indoors.
Growing Alfalfa Sprouts Using a Jar
- Wash and rinse two tablespoons of alfalfa seeds.
- Place seeds inside a jar, add water up to 2 inches above the seeds then cover the container and Leave it to soak overnight or for at least 12 hours.
- Drain the water in the morning using gauze or cheesecloth, rinse the seeds with room temperature water and drain away the rinsing water. Place the jar away from direct sunlight.
- Continue rinsing and draining the seeds twice a day every day until sprouts begin to form. This should happen after 3 to 4 days.
- When clumping begins to form in the jar, stir the sprouts and remove the hulls that appear at the top of the container.
- After one week, the sprouts are ready for harvesting, and you can place them in the sun for 20 minutes to activate their enzymes for better nutritional value.
- You can store your alfalfa sprouts in the fridge in a plastic container for up to five days. Make sure to remove any yellow shoots to avoid it spreading.
It is important to sterilize the containers used in the sprouting process and maintain high levels of hygiene when handling the sprouts to avoid transfer of bacteria.
How to Use Alfalfa Sprouts at Home.
You can reap the benefits of alfalfa sprouts nutrition by incorporating the sprouts into your diet – whether cooked, steamed or raw. Below are different ways of how you can use the sprouts to boost your nutrient intake.
Juice and smoothies.
- Mature alfalfa sprouts with two leaves are appropriate for juicing. You should wash and rinse the sprouts, wrap them in a vegetable leaf like lettuce and put them in a juicer to extract the juice. You can also add the sprouts to your smoothies.
- Toast the green alfalfa sprouts in the oven to get rid of bacteria and to make them crunchy. Add them to your salad and sandwiches for a healthy boost.
In soups and stews and stir-fries.
- You can prepare your soup or stew until it is cooked then add alfalfa green sprouts towards the end. This will avoid overcooking and ensure that they maintain their crunchiness. Stir-fry your vegetables then add alfalfa sprouts towards the end of your cooking to prevent the alfalfa greens from wilting.
Grow Your Own Alfalfa Sprouts
You can grow your alfalfa sprouts and enjoy all the health benefits this “queen of forage” has to offer. Speak to your doctor before consuming alfalfa greens if you are on blood thinning medication, pregnant or have a compromised immune system.