Growing alfalfa sprouts at home

Alfalfa is a flowering plant that belongs to the pea family. In the West, it has long been grown for cattle feed. In Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, alfalfa has been used for centuries to treat many health disorders.

From Herbal Supplement Resource:

Alfalfa has a long history of use in China as an appetite stimulant, and as an herbal treatment for digestive disorders, especially ulcers.

And from TLC:

Physicians who practice traditional Ayurvedic medicine (the main system of health care in India) use alfalfa for poor digestion and to relieve the symptoms of arthritis. Other traditional medicine practitioners use alfalfa for anemia and to increase breast milk production in women who have difficulty breastfeeding their infants.

I’ve never seen alfalfa leaves in my life. During a stay at a health resort in Northern Taiwan, however, among the salad vegetables in the breakfast buffet was alfalfa sprouts. And I was immediately smitten. That was several years ago. I’ve searched for alfalfa sprouts in groceries but failed to find any. It would be another few years before tubs of imported — and very pricey — alfalfa sprouts started appearing in groceries. With the price, it was something in the category of “gourmet foods” — kinda rare and expensive.

It wasn’t until Dear Darla entered the local food scene that alfalfa sprouts sort of became mainstream. If you’re unfamiliar with Dear Darla, it is a rolled pizza with arugula and alfalfa sprouts. Not having seen The Little Rascals in its entirety, Alex had to explain to me the significance of Dear Darla — a letter sent by a boy named Alfalfa to a girl named Darla. Here’s a clip from the movie.

Ever since Yellow Cab Pizza introduced Dear Darla, Sam has been obsessed with alfalfa sprouts. Yesterday, we passed by the grocery, Speedy found alfalfa sprouts in the vegetable section, pointed them out to Sam, Sam took a tub, held it against her cheek lovingly and asked if we could grow alfalfa sprouts at home. She is that enamored.

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I love alfalfa sprouts as much as Sam does. And with its rare appearance and at PHP138.00 for 125 grams, I do agree that we should try growing alfalfa sprouts at home if we want to enjoy them more often and at less cost.

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Alfalfa sprouts are grown from alfalfa seeds much like mung bean sprouts (togue) are grown from mung bean seeds. And I found a local seller of alfalfa seeds.

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I also found very detailed instructions for growing alfalfa sprouts. It appears that one doesn’t need garden space for the task — the sprouts can be grown indoors. And the only equipment required are a glass jar and old nylon stockings.

So, when Speedy picks up the girls next weekend, I will ask him to pass by the Taguig place of the alfalfa seed seller and buy a few packets. I want Sam to be here when we start the process of growing the sprouts so she can enjoy the whole thing.