Nutty, crunchy and crisp, alfalfa sprouts are micro-greens with a long white stem and yellow to green leaves. They are delicious for texture and flavor in salads or sandwiches, or as a topper for soup. Growing alfalfa sprouts at home, indoors is super easy, and just requires small plastic containers, paper towels and tap water.
Alfalfa sprouts are tiny packets of nutritious dietary fiber – they also contain significant amounts of Vitamin C, multiple B-Vitamins and even a couple grams of protein [USDA – alfalfa sprouts]. See detailed nutrition information below.
Quick Directions for Growing Alfalfa Sprouts
- Plastic containers (2)
- Scissors or pen (to poke holes in one container)
- Paper towels
- Alfalfa seeds
- Tap water
- Clean plastic containers thoroughly, disinfect if possible
- Poke half a dozen small holes in the bottom of one plastic tray (to allow water to drain)
- Fold paper towel to size of container, at least two layers thick, and place in top container
- Place a single full layer of seeds on the paper towel
- Add tap water, drain and add tap water again, to about 1/2 in
- Place container on an indoors counter top or a place with little to no natural light
- At least once every day, pour at least one cup of tap water gently around the edge of the paper towel, wet thoroughly and dump drained water
- Alfalfa sprouts should be ready to eat in 3-6 days (depending on your preference)
Tips for Growing Alfalfa Sprouts Indoors
Control the light
A little natural light goes a long way for the development of green leaves in alfalfa sprouts. However, you can customize your sprouts by experimenting with how much light to give your baby sprouts. Here are two variations:
- Long stems, tiny yellow leaves
- Keep the alfalfa sprouts in shade for the entire grow time. Harvest on day 3 or day 4.
- Shorter stems, larger green leaves
- Keep the alfalfa sprouts on a window sill from the beginning. The sunnier the location, the larger the leaves and the shorter the stems.
Growing alfalfa sprouts – longer stem, small leaves Growing alfalfa sprouts – shorter stems, greener leaves
Tap water is important
Tap water has Chlorine, which is important for keeping mildew, bacteria and other undesirables at bay. Chlorine dissipates into the air in about 24 hours for an exposed water surface. Hence, to ensure your alfalfa sprouts are healthy and pest free, gently and thoroughly water with tap water once a day and dump or drain the water in the catch container.
Alternatively, you can also use a low concentration hydrogen peroxide solution with distilled water. The most important factor for the health of your alfalfa sprouts is the cleanliness of your growth containers.
Check your humidity
Alfalfa sprouts are delicate, and suffers more from low humidity than other sprouts or micro-greens. Even if you don’t have a hygrometer, there are some tell-tale signs of low humidity:
- Low germination (sprout) rate
- Yellow or withered root tips
- Slow sprout growth
To fix low humidity, you can lay a wet paper towel on top of the container. Make sure to thoroughly wet the top paper towel with fresh tap water everyday.
Nutrition Information: Alfalfa Sprouts
We analyzed the nutritional contents of two cups of alfalfa sprouts (1-2 tablespoons of seeds) below using 2019 USDA data.
Alfalfa sprouts are tiny packets of nutritious dietary fiber. They contain significant amounts of Vitamin C, Magnesium, Riboflavin, Folate and even protein. Alfalfa sprouts are very low in fat and calories, and 2 cups only weigh about 65grams.
A home grown container of alfalfa sprouts can store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. You can grab a tuft or a couple tablespoons every day to add crunch to your salads, soups or sandwiches.