image by Norwichnuts: Flicker.com
Alfalfa sprouts are a powerhouse of antioxidants and phytoestrogens. A News Extract from the Annual Review of Nutrition, 17:353-381 1997, discusses a study done by the University of Michigan. Of this study, the review found, "Studies in humans, animals, and cell culture systems suggest that dietary phytoestrogens play an important role in prevention of menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease."
Preparing to Sprout
Clean the mason jar well and dry it completely.
Turn the mason jar over onto the screen and cut the screen to fit the top of the jar.
Place the screen on top of the jar and tighten the ring onto the jar.
Tap on the screen to be sure that it has a tight fit; if it doesn't, start over. It is essential that the lid doesn't fall out when the seeds are in the jar.
Open the jar up, taking the screen with the lid, and pour approximately 2 tbsp. of alfalfa seeds into the jar. You can use more or less, but do not overcrowd the seeds.
The Soaking Process
Cover the seeds with room temperature water and swirl them around in the jar two or three times to loosen any dirt.
Turn the jar over and drain the seeds. Repeat the cleaning procedure if necessary.
Cover the seeds again with water and allow to soak for 8 to 12 hours.
Pour off the water and fill the jar, swirling the seeds as you fill. Swirl the seeds around three or four times and drain off the water. This will remove any excess materials. Repeat the rinse two or three more times.
Turn the jar on its lid and drain out as much of the remaining water as you can. Allow to sit in a dish drainer or on a draining surface for a few minutes to allow the water to seep out.
Turn the jar onto its side and allow to set at room temperature in a low lit area of the house for about 6 to 8 hours.
Fill the jar with water and rinse again, twirling the seeds and pouring out the water. Do this about two or three times each time you rinse.
Drain all of the water out and lay the jar back on its side.
Rinse the seeds two or three times each day.
Within 5 to 6 days, the seeds will begin to form sprouts. Keep rinsing and draining two or three times per day until the sprouts are 2 to 3 inches tall.
About this Author
Robin Lewis is a freelance artist, designer and writer. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, national magazines and on several self-help areas of the Web. Lewis specializes in gardening articles, publishing frequently on a variety of websites.