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How to Make Your Own Alfalfa Sprouts

Weekend Well-Being: Grow Your Own Alfalfa Sprouts

I love sprinkling alfalfa sprouts on my salad, but the ones at salad bars and even grocery stores totally gross me out. Who knows how long they've been sitting there, which means they could be a breeding ground for E. coli bacteria. Growing your own is so incredibly easy anyway, so now you can enjoy sprouts on your sandwiches and salads without having to worry about getting sick.

Make Your Own Alfalfa Sprouts

Make Your Own Alfalfa Sprouts


  1. 1 1/2 tablespoons alfalfa seeds
  2. 1 teaspoon bleach
  3. Water
  4. A glass jar, at least quart size
  5. 12 inch square of muslin or pantyhose
  6. Rubber band
  7. 2 dark-colored dish towels


  1. Disinfect the seeds. If not properly disinfected, all seeds have the possibility of carrying E. coli bacteria. Soak alfalfa seeds in a two percent bleach solution (one teaspoon bleach to one cup hot tap water) for 15 minutes. Then rinse the seeds thoroughly in water.
  2. Measure out 1 1/2 tablespoons alfalfa seeds. Remove any broken seeds. Place the seeds in the jar and partially fill with room temperature water. Swirl the jar around to clean the seeds, then slowly pour the water out, being careful not to let the seeds pour out. Then fill the jar with water again, about three quarters full. Cover the open end with the piece of muslin, and secure with the rubber band. Cover the jar with the two dish towels to prevent light from reaching the seeds. Allow the seeds to soak for 8 to 12 hours.
  3. Remove the towels and pour off the water, it'll take a long time if you let the water pour through the muslin, so carefully peel back part of the muslin so the water can pour out more quickly. Then secure the muslin back on the top of the jar. Take advantage of the fact that the wet seeds want to cling to the jar's inside surface. Roll the jar around, causing as many seeds to stick to the surface as possible, then lay the jar on its side. Cover the jar again.
  4. Rinse the seeds at least every 24 hours with cool water. If you have the time, rinse them two to three times a day. Within a day or two, you'll see them start to grow. These sprouts aren't quite ready yet.
  5. Alfalfa sprouts are ready to harvest when they are one to two inches long, usually after the fifth or sixth day. A day before they're ready, leave the jar uncovered (in indirect sunlight) so they can turn green. When you're ready to eat them, give them one final rinse. Store uneaten sprouts in an airtight container in the fridge. They should stay fresh for about a week.

Join The Conversation
Advah Advah 8 years
In the family we're obsessed with sprouting seeds. They're so good!
mehollowell mehollowell 8 years
I love alfalfa sprouts!
ShedItandGetIt ShedItandGetIt 8 years
Cool! Where can you buy alfalfa seeds??
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Bleach will kill just about anything that's alive, so I'm not worried about there being any leftover E. coli on the sprouts. I'm not sure I want to be eating bleach though. I think I'd almost rather take my chances with the bacteria, but if you rinse the seeds well (like, about 10 times or so), you should be able to get all the bleach off of them. This could be a fun little project for me. I like alfalfa sprouts but I don't eat the commercially grown ones because they're so dirty. This looks easy enough, so maybe I'll try it.
poptart-princess poptart-princess 8 years
as a hippie child, my mom never once disinfected our alfalfa sprout seeds and i never got e.coli, salmonella or whatever. but times have changed, i know and i'm all for disease prevention, but using bleach does not sit well with me. i think food grade hydrogen peroxide is a much more "human" - not to mention effective - substitute.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 8 years
I grew broccoli sprouts a couple of weeks ago. I don't normally go out of my way to eat sprouts, so this was different & fun.
lavendera lavendera 8 years
Does disinfecting them also kill salmonella successfully? I'm pretty sure we've been warned against eating them because of seed contamination in regard to salmonella. However, interesting idea. I may try it some time in the future.
lemuse20 lemuse20 8 years
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