Let’s talk about alfalfa sprouts.
I guess my first experience of growing edible plants dates back some 20 years or more. How it came about is lost in the mists of time. The result though was the appearance of a sprouter in the kitchen.
This was around the time I became a vegetarian so there might have been the involvement of Holland and Barrett. But, I can’t be sure.
It was a typical hard plastic sprouter with three interlocking trays with a reservoir at the bottom. Sprinkle some seeds on a tray, water twice a day and within 24 hours you’d get germination and 3-4 days before edible sprouts.
Alfalfa was the staple sprout. I tried mung beans, another health food favourite of the time, but could not stomach the results. My sprouts went in sandwiches and mung beans are more appropriate for stir frys. Then again, I did fancy them in a stir fry either.
A few years later, sprouter enthusiasm waned. It might have been the increasing appearance of mould or it could have laziness. More likely it was both.
Decades pass and the enthusiasm returns. The urge is part “grow you own”, part health, part looking for a bargain.
Our good friends at the Organic Gardening Catalogue supplied the sprouter – the traditional 3 tray configuration – and a small stash of seeds. Julian Graves in Barnstaple is a source of cheap alfalfa seeds. They have mung beans too.
Three years later, there is a regular routine of sprinkling seeds and harvesting. Great for sandwich filling, a cheap alternative to lettuce in the winter and so easy to grow.
I have even cracked the mould issue. Sterilise the trays every time you harvest, harvest quickly, not too much water and try not to sprout too many seeds.
Alfalfa: full of iron and other essential minerals and 10 calories per ounce.