Alfalfa sprouts are one of the most nutritionally rich foods and are packed with a full range of vitamins including A, D, C, K, and B-Complex as well as minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, silicon, and molybdenum.
Alfalfa sprouts come from a germinated alfalfa seed and are a great, nutritious addition to many meals. When the seed germinates, it creates a shoot, which is then harvested before the plant matures fully. Commonly found in Oriental dishes, it’s usually added to soups, on top of sandwiches and with salads.
Sprouts are filled with many of the great benefits found in seeds and actually are healthier because the process of sprouting brings out many enzymes. They also carry more protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as a lower proportion of starch, than unsprouted seeds. The starches are turned to simple sugars and are thus easier to digest.
Alfalfa sprouts contain blood healing chlorophyll and all 8 essential amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins and can help to increase bone strength and density and help to prevent fractures and osteoporosis.
Alfalfa sprouts are one of the top sources of antioxidants among all vegetables and are excellent at helping to prevent heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, menopausal symptoms, colitis, macular degeneration, constipation, ulcers, and high blood pressure.
Alfalfa sprouts are also a phenomenal source of saponins which are known for their potent anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. They are also a great food helping to lower cholesterol and to prevent leukemia, pancreatic, colon, prostate, and breast cancer.
Alfalfa sprouts are an essential “brain food” and are good for helping the strengthen memory, focus, and concentration skills.
They also contain natural fluorine which prevents tooth decay and helps to rebuild decayed teeth.
Alfalfa sprouts are easy to grow at home. Simply rinse a few tablespoons of alfalfa seeds and place in a loosely covered bowl, jar, or tray.
Growing Alfalfa Sprouts
First off, be sure to buy seed that is not treated with fungicide or any other chemicals. You should only use seed meant for growing sprouts.
You can grow them in a jar, a clay tray or other containers. Wash seeds (about 2 oz.) and soak in lukewarm water 6 to 8 hours or overnight at room temperature.
- Next, put the seeds in a jar covered with cheesecloth after the soaking process.
- Continue to keep the seeds sprinkled with water at least 2 to 3 times each day. The sprinkling may be done once early in morning and again before retiring to bed at night. It helps to roll the jar (container) around during each sprinkling to allow for easy lengthening (growth) of the sprouts until they’re 2.5 to 4 inches long and ready to eat.
- For best results, use only non-chlorinated water, such as well water, spring water or distilled water, because the chlorine in city water can cause poor sprouting. Sprouting is best done at 70 to 80 degrees F in a dark place. It will take 3 to 7 days to obtain mature-sized sprouts, depending on the temperature.
- Place mature sprouts in a water-filled container and wash to remove seed coats and fibrous roots. The seed sprouts will sink to the bottom, and the seed hulls will float to the top. Gently skim the seed hulls off by hand or with a small wire strainer. Allow sprouts to drip drain.
- Sprouts are best when used immediately after washing but can be stored for several days in the refrigerator (38 to 50 degrees F) in closed glass and plastic containers or freezer bags.
- The size of mature sprouts varies. Allowing the sprouts to grow too long (over 4 inches) may cause them to become bitter.
Keep moist by spritzing with water daily and within a week you will have your own inexpensive power vegetable grown safely in your own home.
Alfalfa sprouts can also be found fully grown and ready to eat at your local health food store and supermarket.
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