With the cooler weather of fall upon us, it is time to
conder moving our gardening efforts indoors, which make growing microgreens an
But what to grow as microgreens?
Considering most garden vegetables and herbs can be grown as
Microgreens, the options are many. So, which microgreens to grow for your
family depends on what your family eats regularly, and Your family’s taste preferences.
Most Common Types oF Microgreens
The broad type of microgreens (listed below in family
groups) Should provide the basics of what
kind of taste the microgreens will have, and the growing conditions the type of
The Amaranthaceae family includes amaranth,
beets, chard, quinoa, and spinach.
Amaryllidaceae family includes chives, garlic,
leeks, and onions.
The Apiaceae family includes carrot, celery,
dill, cilantro, and fennel.
The Asteraceae family includes chicory, endive,
lettuce, and radicchio.
The Brassicaceae family includes arugula,
broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, and watercress.
The Cucurbitaceae family includes
cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, and squashes.
The Lamiaceae family includes the most common
herbs like mint, basil, rosemary, sage, and oregano.
The Poaceae family includes grasses and cereals
like barley, corn, rice, oats, and wheatgrass.
The Poaceae family also includes in legumes,
including beans, chickpeas, and lentils.
Cilantro (also known as “Chinese parsley,“ “Coriander leaf” or
“fresh coriander”) refers to the fresh leaf and Coriander which is
the name for the seeds are parts of the same plant.
We tend to
think of the leaves as “herbs” and the seeds and roots as
“spices.” However, in much of the world, the entire plant, leaves,
roots, and seeds, are known as Coriander.
is an annual herb with feathery leaves and white
umbrella flower heads, which means its entire life cycle, from planting,
to maturity, to the end of its life, occurs in a single growing season. In other
words, annual herbs must be started with new seedlings, or new seeds planted, every
Coriander (Cilantro) can be grown for both leaves and seeds. Varieties have
been bred to be better at producing one or the other, so the variety you choose
is important. A seed variety will produce seed quicker than a leaf variety, but
once a plant ‘runs to seed’ it will stop leaf production. If you want coriander
leaves for your cooking, this means you will have a shorter picking time. All
varieties will eventually produce seed, but the leaf varieties will hold off for
‘Calypso’ which is slow to bolt or ‘Cruiser’ which is bolt-resistant are the generally considered the best for herb production with an excellent ‘cut and come again’ habit, while ‘Santo’ will produce larger flower heads, thereby producing more seed, and will run to seed more quickly. Whichever variety you, make sure to check if the seeds you are using are ‘seed’ or ‘leaf’ varieties and choose the type which best fits the way your family eats.
Bring your meals to life
foods ranging from Latin American to Asian use cilantro and coriander in their
daily and festive food. So, there is a wealth of recipe available across many
cultures with which to experiment with your
garden crop of cilantro and coriander.
How to use cilantro and coriander in the kitchen
As you may have
gathered, cilantro is a feature in our favorite meals from around the world. The
reason that recipes from all cultures use this herb
is that the entire plant is edible.
roots, stems, and leaves each have
distinct flavors and uses.
Swiss Chard (Beta Vulgaris) , also known as, Beet Swiss Chard, or Seakale beet, is a leaf vegetable which will crop from mid summer to late fall. In areas with mild winters Swiss Chard will re-emerge to produce an early spring crops and in some areas can be grown as a fall/winter garden crop. Swiss Chard produces huge, multicolored leaves, with a mild flavor. Generally eaten as a cooked green, but can be eaten fresh.
45 or more days after planting
Swiss Chard will tolerate light frosts
Swiss Chard will tolerate some summer heat especially in northern areas
Swiss Chard may be substituted in recipes for spinach or seakale.
Preparing The Soil
Swiss chard is not finicky about the soil or position in which it is grown. It will grow in light sandy soil, as well as, in heavy clay. Similar to other beets, although this is one grown for its leaves, Swiss chard needs lyme and a soil pH 6.5 to 6.8. Swiss chard can be sown in partial shade or in the sun, but any late sewing under close cloches, to get a winter crop, should be in a sunny warm part of the garden.
Plant Swiss chard outdoor as soon the ground can be worked. Place one seed every 3 inches and cover firmly with about half to three quarters of an inch of soil. when plants get about 3 inches tall, thin Swiss chard plant to about 6 inches apart. The Fed Swiss chard plants can be eaten as fresh greens. Swiss chard plan should be He plans well mulched and the soil kept moist.
Approximate outdoor planting ranges
Garden hardiness zone three and four – May through June
Garden hardiness zone five and six – April through July
Garden hardiness zone seven and eight – spring: March through May and fall: August
Garden hardiness zone nine, ten, and eleven– spring: February through May and fall: August through september
Days to germination
7 to 10 days
Days to harvest
50 to 60 days
1/2 to 3/4 of an inch
Rows approximately 20 inches apart with approximately 6 inches between plants in each row.
While twisting leaves off is usually recommended, I personally choose to use a good sharp knife to make a controlled clean cut. Either way swiss chard harvested from the outside edges of the plant working inward regularly once several leaves are large enough to use. Swiss chard plants will regrow when cut back to no lower than 3 inches and a few leaves are remain to help the plant generate energy.
Today, I was pondering on harvesting some Bok Choy and adding it to my favorite cabbage and green bean recipe. However, when I looked out my window I got a surprise. My Bok Choy which I had inter-planted with my carrots had bolted and gone to flour during the week. I, actually, have never seen Bok Choy flour before. I guess I have always harvested and eaten it before the weather warmed up enough for it to bolt. This really demonstrates just how much bok choy is a nice cool weather crop. It has only been intermittently warm, and by warm I mean high 70s low 80s, and consistently for a couple weeks.
By the way, if you happened to notice the native on one of the flowers in the picture, have no fear, the poor bee was just on motionless by the cool low 50s weather this morning. When the weather warmed up the poor thing just flew away.
I want to thank you
for buying this book, ‘Growing Epazote –
A Home Gardener’s Guide’ and I hope you will find it informative and
Gardening is a
pleasurable and enjoyable hobby. It is also one of those hobbies that require a
lot of patience. However, the results are exquisite. It is one of the rare
hobbies in which you need to deal with real living things and take care of
them. Gardeners love their plants and consider them to be their friends.
gardeners, old and new, are looking out for certain plants and shrubs that were
once considered to be weeds. While these plants held special places in various
cultures, due to commercialization, their invasive nature and lack of
information regarding them had deemed them as weeds. However, most of these
plants and shrubs are not only beautiful, but they have various beneficial
properties as well. Such a plant, which is often considered to be a weed, is
Epazote is an
ancient plant that holds a significant place in Latin American culture.
Nowadays, more and more people want to grow epazote thanks to its pungent but
exciting flavor and its anti-flatulence properties. If you are one of these
people, this book will help you grow epazote in no time.
Epazote is quite
easy to grow which is why even new and amateur gardeners won’t have any
problems growing it. Read on to find out how to introduce this delicious herb
into your garden right away!
I hope you will use
the information provided in this book to make your home and garden greener and
your food tastier.
Before moving on to
growth and care tips regarding epazote, it is first necessary to understand the
plant itself. This chapter will briefly explain the various properties,
qualities and certain warnings regarding growing, using and consuming epazote.
Epazote is a commonly grown herb crop in the Yuma area. However, the percentage of growers who grow this crop is quite small. Not many people are aware of Epazote ‘s popularity and importance. Epazote is a leafy vegetable that is often used as an herb for its pungent flavor. It is either used raw or is often cooked along with various other ingredients. It is extremely pungent and resinous. It tastes a bit like fennel, anise or tarragon. However, the taste is much stronger. The fragrance is strong too and it is difficult to describe, as it does not match any other scent.
Epazote sounds like
rather an exotic name. However, it is still better than various other names
that this herb has. Some people call it goosefoot, pigweed, skunkweed or wormseed.
These names are not random, as epazote comes from the Aztec words ‘epatl’ and
‘tzol.’ These two words taken together roughly translate to smelly animal.
Other, far better names include Mexican. People rarely refer to it as
Chenopodium ambrosioides either. As mentioned earlier, epazote holds a dear and
special place in the Central American and Latin American culture. It is
commonly used in Guatemalan and Central American cuisines.
As mentioned in the
section above, epazote is extremely strong and pungent which is why people
often consider it to be an acquired taste. Some people complain of it being too
bitter with slight hints of lemon. Certain people tend to replace epazote with
Mexican oregano, which is often found to be more palatable for fussy eaters.
However, no herb or ingredient can replace epazote and its pungent but
Different parts of
the epazote have different flavors. However, only the leaves of the plant are fit
for human consumption. Other parts can prove to be toxic and must be avoided.
Young leaves of the plant are richer yet milder in flavor as compared to the
older leaves. The flavor becomes more and more intense with age.
Epazote is suitable
for tropical as well as sub-tropical climatic conditions. If grown properly it
can grow over 3 feet. It is often discarded as a weed in places like Mexico and
the USA. It is invasive and a rapid grower and it is possible that you may
already have some in your garden, or a local park, though if you plan to
consume epazote, it is recommended to plant a new one only for consumption. Do
not use leaves from your park or any other public place.
While the main
concern of this book is to help you grow epazote, it is always better to try
some out before choosing to grow it. Epazote is commonly available in many
Hispanic and Latin Markets. It is available in dry as well as fresh forms. If
fresh epazote is not available, dry epazote can be used and is every bit as
tasty. Dry epazote is available on various e-commerce sites.
Epazote is a hardy
plant and thus storing it is easy. However, as it is an herb, it is perishable,
and thus care must be taken to keep Epazote fresh. Whether you grow epazote or
whether you buy fresh Epazote from the market, always take care of the leaves
to make them last longer. You should store the fresh stems in a tumbler of
fresh water. If you do not want to keep it out in the open, you can keep it
wrapped in some moist paper towels and then keep them in the refrigerator. One
stem of fresh epazote is about one teaspoon of dried epazote.
Epazote has various
uses, and thus many people want to grow it nowadays.
Traditionally, epazote has been used to flavor beans and for the carminative properties of epazote. It is often used to flavor other Mexican dishes, such as squash flower quesadillas, as well. For instance, epazote can be used to season soups, quesadillas, eggs, and potatoes, mole de olla and enchiladas.
You will be
surprised to know that epazote has been used for thousands of years. The
ancient Aztecs used it to flavor their cooking and for its various medicinal
Epazote can be used to treat hookworms, roundworms, amebic dysentery, small tapeworms, excess mucus, and asthma as well.
Externally, it can
be used to treat insect bites and athlete’s foot. It also has insecticidal
properties and can be used against mosquitoes and insect larvae.
Epazote is a strong
laxative and has various laxative properties. With the help of these
properties, it can stop the functioning of parasites and can halt their
advancement in the intestines. It has been used as an essential oil since the
nineteenth century in diluted and concentrated forms. In the 20th century,
pharmaceutical companies started isolating and using it too.
People also use
fresh epazote leaves to create wall hangings, floral decorations, etc. You can
create wreaths, dried floral decorations, etc. Always be careful while using
and handling dried leaves and seeds of epazote as they may irritate the skin.
The seeds are known to cause various reactions including dermatitis etc. to
people who are sensitive to spicy foods and spices.
delicious, is a risky condiment just like cinnamon. The risk can be minimized
if you know how to use it. Some people believe that epazote’s taste is
addictive. However, it is recommended to avoid epazote in large quantities.
Only add a couple of leaves to your food to bring out its flavors. If you want
to add dried leaves, then add according to the recipe. If you are not sure how
to use epazote, you may need to talk to your Latin American friends.
Now you must be
wondering where to find epazote, or you must be excited about growing it in
your garden. Find out more about how to grow epazote in your garden, home or
even in water in the following chapters.
Epazote is delicious as well as a beautiful plant that can make your garden look fresh and green and your foods are tastier. If you love the taste of epazote, it is best to grow it in your garden to ensure a steady supply.
epazote is simple. Epazote has large serrated leaves, and it also gives out
flowers with tiny green balls. It is recommended to consume only the leaves of
the plant. The plant is an annual, and its leaves can be used as an insecticide
as well. If you crush the leaves and spread it on paths, it can make ants go
away. Dry epazote can be used to get rid of ants as well. While only leaves are
fit for human consumption, some people also like to add thin stems of leaves to
their food. If you do decide to use the stems, pulverize them and let them cook
for a long time.
Epazote grows well
in all seasons if you live in a tropical or sub-tropical region. However, if
you live in any other region then it is best to plant epazote in spring after
the ‘dangerous’ frosts are long gone. Epazote needs slightly high temperature
throughout the day. The temperature should reach at least 50 degrees. Any less
and the growth will not be satisfactory. Always grow epazote in well-drained
soil and full sunlight.
Epazote seeds are
small and thus should not be sown too deep. It is recommended to sow them at
the surface of the soil. If you live in a windy zone, sow them at 1/16-inch
depth. Always keep the soil warm and moist as it helps germination. As said in
the last section, the temperature should be around 50 degrees. Epazote grows
quickly and can be invasive and it is therefore recommended to allow the area
some growing space. If you are not comfortable with the plant taking over your
garden, only plant it in containers. This way you will be able to keep it under
For subtropical and
tropical regions, you can sow epazote seeds throughout the year. For people who
live in moderate zones, seeds can be sown in mid-spring when the temperatures
are moderately high. Seeds germinate and grow in about 2-4 weeks. Some plants
may even grow fully and be ready for harvest in a month or two. If you sow
seeds over a stretched period, you will be able to ensure a long harvest. Sow
the seeds throughout the spring.
As epazote is
native to tropical regions, it grows the best in zones 2-7. It may even grow up
to 2 to 4 feet. If you live in colder regions, it is recommended to grow it in
containers so that you can bring it in if the temperature drops out of the
Do not plant seeds
in loamy soil. Always sow them where the roots will not be submerged in water
for long. Sun is crucial for good flavor.
Epazote grows the
best outside, as it requires high temperature and direct sunlight. However, it
can also be grown indoors in soil as well as water.
If you want to sow
epazote indoors, do it in a place that receives ample sunlight. Windowsills and
balconies are the best places for growing epazote. Seeds can be either started
in growing medium, tissues or soil as well. Once the seedlings are ready, you
can transfer them to containers containing growing media or soil. You can also
transfer them to containers containing water. Epazote can grow well in water
that is replenished with nutrients sparingly.
It is recommended
to grow epazote for at least 4-6 weeks before moving them outside (if you want
to). If you do not want to grow them outside at all, you may continue to grow
them on windowsills.
While epazote can
grow in water, their growth will not be as satisfactory as epazote grown
outside in the soil.
Epazote leaves are
bright, dark green and come out of the reddish stem of the mature plant. They
have serrated edges, i.e., edges that look like teeth. They can also produce
tiny flowers that grow right with the stems. These flowers then grow into
Epazotes are rapid
growers and quickly gain their standard height of about 4ft. If you
continuously harvest the tip of the plant after every couple of weeks, the
plant will continue to grow and get more and bushy as well. This will also
allow you to harvest the herb throughout the growing season.
Epazotes do the
best in warm weather where the temperature does not drop below 50 very often.
Do not water the plants too much and a dense watering thrice a week is
sufficient. If it does not rain, you may increase the watering. Do not use a
forceful stream or pressurized water to water the plant, as its stem is often
quite delicate. Do not over water or it will lead to root-rot.
has almost no pests as the texture of the plant and the scent of the leaves act
as a deterrent to parasites and pests all over. Epazote can also help you to
get rid of pests from other plants, as pests will leave any area where epazote
spreading leaves of epazote plant can help you get rid of annoying pests like
ants etc. from your house.
say that it’s not worth drying Epazote because it loses its flavor when dried, but I disagree. While the flavor
may not be as intense as a fresh bunch from the garden, there is still plenty
of culinary use for dried Epazote in everyday cooking.
are several ways of drying Epazote which include
To oven dry
your Epazote, preheat oven to 250-300 degrees F.
Lightly coat a cookie sheet with baking spray to help with sticking. Strip the leaves
off the stems of the Epazote and spread the leaves in one layer on the cookie
sheet. Let, the leaves dry out in the oven for 20-30 minutes, check once. You
just want the leaves to lose the fresh green look. Take them out of the oven and
cool on the cookie sheet. Use a spatula to scrape off the cookie sheet, and
slightly crumble the leaves. Put in an airtight jar and store with spices, use when
needed! These will last as long as any other dried herb.
the Epazote under cool, running water and dry it thoroughly, but gently, with a
the Epazote together and tie the stem ends together with a string for them to be used immediately.
Epazote bunch in a dry area until all the water evaporates from the leaves of
the bunch upside down in a paper bag. Tie the paper bag closed and poke several
holes in the bag with the tip of a knife to allow for ventilation.
bag in a warm, dry area that is not in direct sunlight.
Open the bag and check the herbs every few days to see if the
Epazote is sufficiently dry. The herb should feel crisp and crumble easily in
your hand, with no areas of moisture. It should take about one to two weeks to properly
dry your Epazote.
the Epazote in a bag while it dries allows the leaves to drop into the bag rather
than onto the floor or counter.
dried Epazote in a sealed, airtight container.
tastes best when added to cooked dishes as opposed to salsas or salads.
Epazote for drying that has fresh, healthy leaves; avoid Epazote with wilted
fresh Epazote until you are able to dry it by placing the stems in 1 inch of water
and covering the plant with a plastic bag. Fresh Epazote should keep in the refrigerator
for up to one week.
Epazote herbs in a bowl of water. After they have
soaked for a few minutes, put the leaves
in a salad spinner or large dish towel and give it a twirl. This helps
to make the leaves as dry as possible.
remove the stems of the herbs. Some people prefer to dry their herbs without
removing the stems; it is a matter of personal preference. Once the leaves are completely dry,
the stems will be minimal, so you decide what’s best. If you plan to grind the dried
leaves into powder, the stems will not make a difference.
Once you’ve cleaned and dried the Epazote leaves, lay them on
dehydrator trays in a single layer. It is okay to have the leaves touch. They
will not stick together when they are dried.
You should process these in your favorite dehydrator at 110°
for approximately 1 to 3 hours. They dry fairly quickly
so keep an eye out. You’ll know they are done when
the leaves are crisp and crumble between your fingers.
How to store dehydrated Epazote
To store dehydrated Epazote, place the dried Epazote in an
airtight container and keep in a cool, dark, dry place for the best flavor and color.
Use the leaves within a year. Keep the leaves whole; they have
a longer shelf life than ground herbs. For the best flavor crush or grind the leaves
just before using.
Dried Epazote lasts as long as two years, and you don’t have to
worry about freezer burn or other problems that occur when freezing food.
If you have the freezer space or happen to
have a second freezer as we did for many years, freezing is a good way to
preserve Epazote, which, also, has the benefit of retaining more of the original
flavor of Epazote then drying does.
There are three basic methods for freezing Epazote:
The Ice Cube Method
The Vacuum Sealer Method,
The Cookie Sheet
Ice Cube Method
One way of freezing Epazote is to add the
leaves or parts of leaves to ice cube trays in water or broth before freezing.
This method is useful for adding small quantities to recipes, especially soup,
stews, and casseroles.
Salad Spinner or two
clean spongy kitchen towels
shears or sharp knife and cutting board
Entire leaf or hacked Epazote
Fresh faucet water
Pick through the fresh Epazote
and dispose of damaged leaves. Spin drying or pat dry between two kitchen
towels to remove as much moisture as possible.
Strip off the leaves
from the stem.
Dice the Epazote and
add to ice cube trays.
Fill every compartment with
Top off with filtered water
or broth and place in the freezer.
the ice cubes have frozen, remove the Epazote cubes.
and air-proof freezer bag or container in your freezer.
This method preserves more color and flavor
by keeping the leaves sealed.
Vacuum sealer with
proper bag material
Salad Spinner or clean
spongy kitchen towels
Kitchen shears or sharp
Wash and gently spin dry
or gently pat dry with kitchen towels to remove excess moisture.
Cut or remove the stems
Make a bag large enough
to hold the Epazote leaves and allow some headspace between the herb and the seal.
Label bag with herb
name and date it.
Place herbs into the
seal the bag.
flat in the freezer. After the bags have frozen solid, they can be put away
upright or stacked to save space.
The Cookie Sheet Method
This method is in common use as most homes
still do not have vacuum sealers in their kitchens. The cookie sheet method, also,
preserves more color and flavor than drying Epazote.
Air tight freezer bag
or plastic freezer containers
A cookie sheet or sheet
pan which will fit on your freezer shelves
Salad Spinner or clean
spongy kitchen towels
Kitchen shears or sharp
Wash and gently spin
dry or gently pat dry with kitchen towels to remove excess moisture.
Cut or remove the stems
Label bag with herb
name and date it.
Line the cookie sheet with
Spread the Epazote leaves
on top of the parchment paper
Spread the leaves on a
parchment paper lined cookie sheet (not touching one another) in successive
layers of parament paper and Epazote. For best results, at most three to five
layers are recommended.
You can place a final
layer of parchment paper and top with a second cookie sheet to gently press the
Let the leaves freeze a
few hours or overnight.
Once the leaves are
thoroughly frozen, quickly remove the leaves from the cookie sheet, and
parchment paper, and pack the Epazote leaves loosely inside small freezer bags
or freezer containers for long-term storage.
How long can Epazote stored in
If properly stored, it will
maintain the best quality for about 4 to 6 months but will remain safe beyond
Thank you for
buying this book, and I hope you found it useful and interesting.
Gardening is a fun
way to relax and enjoy the beautiful and often tasty results of your hard work.
Epazote is a brilliant starter plant for everyone who is interested in growing
herbs and is an amateur gardener. It is easy to grow and care for the plant and
can be grown anywhere.
Epazote is quite
potent, and only a small amount is needed to make your dish pop! This means you
can grow a couple of plants, and they will last you throughout the season. If
you are new to the taste of epazote, use it in various quantities to find one
that suits and soothes your taste buds. Remember, it is always better to add less
spice than more as it is possible to make up for less but removing more is
Looseleaf lettuce is one of the favorite green leafy vegetables that not only make a salad taste great but also loaded with essential nutrients and minerals that benefit our health. Loose leaf lettuce is incredibly easy to grow in your home garden and can save you money. Well, here’s how to go about growing loose leaf lettuce:
Start seeds indoors
You should start seeds indoors in the early spring. Your
seedling containers don’t need to be burry too deep since the plants produce
shallow roots. Just cover the seeds lightly with soil, but make sure they
receive a little light to germinate.
Planting looseleaf lettuce
Before transferring the seedlings out into the garden, it is
important to orient them to weather outside during the day while they’re inside
the containers. Experts recommend doing this for about three days to protect
them from the shock of cool spring.
Make sure your garden soil is well-drained and moist. Mix
your existing soil with compost or peat moss, as compost or peat moss help hold
water and the nutrients necessary to keep lettuce growing. It is important to
space the seedlings at least 8 inches apart.
You should fertilize your plants, preferably three weeks
after transplanting. Be sure to use a slow-release fertilizer or an organic
alfalfa meal. Also, use an organic mulch to help retain soil moisture as well
as prevent weeds. You should water the plants anytime you see the leaves
Planting lettuce in the shade of taller plants like tomatoes
can help prevent lettuce from bolting in the heat of summer. While loose leaf
lettuce is a typical spring crop, you can still grow a fall crop in the cool
autumn weather. Create cool, moistened soil by merely covering it with a bale
of straw. After a week, you can sow another batch of lettuce seeds.
Harvesting Loose Leaf Lettuce
One fantastic thing about loose leaf lettuce varieties is
that you’re able to enjoy continuous harvest as long the temperatures remain
60-65 degree Fahrenheit.
You can start harvesting the loose leaf lettuce once the
outer leaves are 2-3 inches tall. For the best harvest, use shears or a pair of
scissors and make sure you harvest the leaves in the morning before exposure to
the sun. When cutting the leaves, however, you’ll need to be careful not to cut
into or below the crown. Precisely, cut an inch above the crown.
You’ll have multiple rows of loose leaf lettuce growing in
your garden, with some plants at the same maturity stage and some days or weeks
behind. If the plants reach a mature stage, just cut off or uproot them to give
room to the remaining lettuce. To enjoy a more revolving supply of fresh
greens, make sure you always pick lettuce from different rows each time you’re
Cutting loose leaf lettuce, most cutting lettuces will restart vigorously from a cut stem without sacrificing the quality. Therefore, it is a good idea not to cut too close to the ground and to water immediately after cutting. It is also a good idea to water the cut lettuce on consecutive days until new leaves start to show.
Loose leaf lettuce can be used as a living mulch, when planted around taller plants, by shading out weeds and keeping the soil cool.
You may pick the loose leaf lettuce after leaves form, but
not after the plant starts to bolt (producing flower stalks). The plants are
quite sensitive to excessive heat and light. And when the plants bolt, it means
they will stop producing. So, you should also cut them off or uproot.
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.
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.