Alfalfa and Buckwheat sprouts are some of the easiest seeds and grains to cultivate and watch grow, which is why I start with them on this blog. If you are new to sprouting or interested in trying, you're on the right page.
Sprouting is a low cost way to add a healthy condiment into a meal. It's also a fun process to watch your seeds germinate and grow!
Most sprouts provide numerous health benefits and a delicious nutty flavour to meals. You can add them to sandwiches, salads or grazing boards and they are very easy to germinate without using soil. All you will need is water and a jar or flat tray.
The Alfalfa plant is rarely used due to its bitterness, but the sprouts have a milder flavour and are known to contain beneficial nutrients, antioxidants and minerals. The tale goes that the plant was first discovered in ancient times by the Arabs. They found it to be a highly strengthening food for their horses and livestock. So they called it "al-fal-fa", which meant, "the father of all foods". Sprouts are now a popular micro-green available at most supermarkets, but it's cheaper to grow them yourself at home.
Buckwheat is a popular gluten-free pseudo cereal grain. It's a fruit seed and part of the family that belongs to rhubarb and other herbs such as sorrel. Buckwheat can be used as a grain in porridge or muesli mixes. It's commonly soaked or sprouted so it's easier to digest.
Similar to the process of pounding or grinding chia seeds or soaking legumes, the process of soaking or sprouting seeds and grains is important for digestion and nutrient absorption. Skipping this process means you miss out on all the good stuff.
A science experiment you can eat? Sprouting seeds is a great exercise for children to learn how seeds can transform into something edible. Giving your children the responsibility of cultivating the growth of the seeds may also make it exciting to eat. It may be a way to sneak in some greens!
Tips and things to remember
Ensure you rinse your sprouts every day to avoid the growth of bad bacteria and mould.
To ensure you avoid mould growth when sprouting buckwheat, use a flat tray to air the kernels out between rinsing.
Always use warm water when soaking.
You can purchase alfalfa seeds at bulk food stores. This is handy when you don't want to buy too much. In Sydney, you will find them at Scoop Wholefoods or The Source Bulkfoods. Otherwise, you can buy them at nurseries that sell plants, seeds and seedlings.
Learn how to sprout at home and enjoy a condiment that tastes fresh and looks great!
Sprouting Buckwheat and Alfalfa
Time: 2-4 Days
You Will Need
Alfalfa or Buckwheat Sprouts
A sterile jar with a lid
A muslin cloth or cleaning cloth with visible holes
Elastic band or piece of twine
1. Soak the seeds Place your buckwheat or alfalfa seeds in a jar and submerge the seeds in warm water. Close the jar and allow to sit overnight or for 8 hours. For alfalfa, I recommend 1-2 tablespoons at a time. You can do much more with Buckwheat.
2. Drain and Rinse Drain and Rinse the seeds. If you are sprouting alfalfa, place the drained seeds back into the jar and wrap the top of jar with the muslin cloth and elastic band. Place the jar upside down on an angle over the lid or a bowl so the remaining water can drain out into the lid or into the bowl. If you are sprouting buckwheat, spread the drained seeds over a tray and allow them to air out and dry. Place the muslin cloth on top.
3. Rinse and drain every day until they have sprouted
Rinse and drain daily until they germinate. For Alfalfa: repeat this process for 2-4 days until the sprouts are about 1.5-2cm in length. For Buckwheat: repeat the process until the sprouts are visible across the majority of the kernels and 1cm in length. 4. Refrigerate Once Alfalfa is fully germinated, remove the muslin cloth and refrigerate in an airtight jar.
Once Buckwheat is fully germinated, place the kernels in an airtight jar and refrigerate.