• Measure: Before you go to bed one night, measure the correct amount of seeds- -in this case, 2-3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) of alfalfa sprouts.
• Any time you cook with seeds or beans, it’s a good practice to inspect them before you go any further.Take the portion of seeds or beans, and pour them out onto a large plate, serving dish, or baking sheet. Push the seeds on one side of the dish, and inspect them for broken or withered seeds, and small stones or lumps of dirt. (If you have any kids, this a good time to bring them into the act.) After they’re sorted, pour them into a strainer and give them a good rinse.
• Pour the rinsed seeds into the jar. (If you’re sprouting large beans, grains, or nuts, use a large bowl.)
• Cover them with adequate water--a few inches (6-8 cm) above the level of the seeds. Let the seeds soak overnight. Medium-sized seeds should be soaked 8-12 hours, and large beans and nuts can soak for 12-24 hours.
• Note: Water, water everywhere...but it’s not always fit to drink. Or for that matter, grow sprouts with. Many municipal water supplies around the world have been contaminated by industrial and agricultural pollutants. If you soak the seeds in that water, your sprouts may absorb those pollutants and pass them on to you. Eating sprouts made in contaminated water may have an adverse health affect over time, so consider using filtered or spring water for sprouting.
Next morning, cover the mouth of the jar with cheesecloth, and fasten with the rubber band. Turn over the jar in the sink. The cheesecloth acts as a strainer, holding in the seeds and letting out the water. If you’re using the bowl method, use the strainer to strain out the soaking water and rinse the seeds.
Note: Some people save this soaking water. It contains valuable nutrients that you can mix into a health shake with other ingredients like fruit and yogurt. Or use it for your houseplants-- they’ll be very grateful. Shake the jar (or strainer) a few times to remove all of the water from last night’s soak.
• Rinse: Fill up with water, and again drain out the water, ending with a few hearty shakes. Hold the jar up to the light; the seeds should be mostly dry. If there’s too much water left in the jar, the seeds may rot over the next few days. But if you’re even slightly careful to drain the seeds, that probably won’t happen. To ensure complete drainage, some folks store the jar upside- down in a glass baking dish or plastic tub. • Rest the jar on the side of the dish, or up against the wall--any excess water drains out, without any more attention from you.
• Repeat: On the evening of the same day, you’ll repeat the rinsing process. You’ll continue this morning and evening rinsing for 4 or 5 days (in warm climates, figure a day or two less than that). If you’re feeling particularly keen on sprouting, you can rinse it a third time at noon.
• Watch for the growth: you’ll see green leaves sprouting on seeds, and white shoots on beans, nuts, and grains. Harvest: After four or five days, the sprouts will reach their peak of flavor and nutritional value. Give them a final rinse; drain with a hearty shake. Now they’re ready to be prepared and devoured by the hungry masses.