How to Grow Alfalfa Sprouts and Other Sprouts


You can lower your food costs and improve your nutrition by growing your own sprouts at home. According to the natural-foods folks at the NaturalPapa website, sprouting increases the nutritional value of seeds at least tenfold. The sprouting process breaks down complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats and converts them into simple sugars, amino acids and fatty acids your body can easily absorb.

Step 1

Sterilize the sprouting jars and lids by washing them with a bleach water solution made of 1 tbsp. of household bleach in 1 pint of water. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

Step 2

Rinse the seeds in cold running water and place them in a shallow dish. Cover the seeds with water to a depth of at least 1 inch. Skim off hulls, dirt and other floating matter. Pour off the water.

Step 3

Add 2 tbsp. of cleaned seeds to each mason jar and fill the jars with water. Allow to soak for 8 hours. When the soaking time is up, pour off as much water as you can without pouring out the seeds. Then refill the jars with water to rinse the seeds.

Step 4

Pour off as much rinse water as you can without pouring out the seeds. Cover the mouth of each jar with a square of cheesecloth and secure with a mason jar lid ring. Turn the jars upside down to allow the remainder of the rinse water to drain. Shake the jars to ensure all the water drains off.

Step 5

Keeping each jar upside down, place them on tray in a location out of direct sunlight. Prop each jar at a 45-degree angle against a wall or other upright object to allow the air to enter. Total darkness isn't necessary for sprouting. Seeds should sprout within a day or so.

Step 6

When sprouts emerge, rinse by filling each jar halfway with water, then turn the jars upside down to drain. Shake each jar to ensure all the water has drained away. Repeat the rinse every 12 hours.

Step 7

Sprouts from most small seeds will be ready to eat in 4 to 6 days. When sprouts are large enough, rinse one final time, remove the sprouts from the jars and let them sit out for a few hours until they are dry to the touch. Place them in a container and refrigerate until needed. Most sprouts will keep for up to a week.

Tips and Warnings

  • Only use seeds intended for sprouting. Don't use seeds intended for farm or garden planting because they may have been genetically modified or treated with chemicals to resist molds, fungi and bugs.

Things You'll Need

  • Quart-sized mason jars
  • Mason jar lid rings
  • Household bleach
  • Alfalfa or other seeds to sprout
  • Shallow dish
  • Measuring spoons
  • Skimmer
  • Cheesecloth
  • Tray to hold jars


  • How to Grow Sprouts
  • Sprouting Basics
Keywords: sprouting seeds, organic food, raw food

About this Author

Herbert Kirchhoff has 35 years' experience as a newspaper and newsletter reporter, writer and editor, with 27 of those years spent on telecommunications industry policy issues. Kirchhoff has a B.A. in journalism from Rider University in New Jersey, and has been published in the Trenton (N.J.) Times, and in Communications Daily and State Telephone Regulation Report, Washington, D.C.

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