DIY Alfalfa Sprouts

During winter I feel wrong buying nice fresh lettuces. They can't be in season, can they? So I tried a DIY lettuce substitute straight from my childhood--homegrown alfalfa sprouts.

Through the mists of time I remembered my mom always used a tablespoon of alfalfa seeds. She had a fancy Biosta Sprouter, and before that some Sprouting Strainer Lids (basically plastic mesh tops that fit mason jars). Having none of these, I used a mason jar, cheesecloth and a rubber band. I found the alfalfa seeds in the bulk section of the local food co-op.

Alfalfa seeds in jar, covered with cheesecloth secured with elastic

I put the jar on the sink like the bean sprouts I made in the past, and watered them daily by filling the jar and then pouring the water out again. The cheesecloth got a little funky-looking in the process, but the resulting sprouts were fine.

My alfalfa sprouts were ready in about 5 days. I removed them from the jar and put them in the fridge to stop the growing and keep them fresh. Before refrigerating, I like to hold them loosely under running water to rinse away some of those little brown seed hulls.

Then I store them on a paper towel (the rinse water makes it wet, which is good) in a plastic takeout container.

An egg salad sandwich with sprouts--no lettuce!

P. S. When I was in grade school the other kids picked on me for the alfalfa sprouts my mom put in my sandwiches. "Ew, WORMS!" I just rolled my eyes.

P.P.S. On second thought, I guess lettuce is OK if it's locally grown, like the stuff at the Winter Farmer's Market.

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