Alfalfa is also known as Purple Medick, Lucerne, Californian Clover, and Buffalo Herb.
My husband had an operation on his nose and throat and I searched for suggested herbal assistance to support his recovery. Alfalfa seeds looked a perfect choice because suggestions say that this herb may help with;
- Infections of the sinus, ear, nose and throat.
- Disorders and diseases of the respiratory tract.
- Assisting to produce new connective tissue and microscopic blood vessels that form on the surfaces of a wound during healing.
- Building you up after an operation.
I used the alfalfa sprouts because I could easily blend them into soup. I wanted to make soup for the first couple of days due to my husband’s sore throat. Also soft foods were recommended after the operation. He knew he was going to have to eat the soup whether he liked it or not. Tee-hee!
I’ve read that there is 150% more protein in alfalfa sprouts than in wheat or corn. I’m intolerant to these so the sprouts are a great alternative for me.
I couldn’t find any alfalfa sprouts to buy therefore I decided to grow my own.
The seeds are not cheap but I found the following organic ones which seemed reasonable when I compared prices ;
If you decide to buy these for yourselves I want to point our that when I received them they had the following warning;
May contain traces of gluten, tree nuts, sesame, soya and peanuts.
I also ensured that the seeds were suitable for home sprouting. Please see the below NHS sprouted seeds safety advice before you decide to sprout your own;
I decided to use a large clip top storage jar because it is surprising how many shoots you can get from a small amount of seeds.
I added two tablespoons of seeds to the jar.
Next I three quarters filled the jar with water.
I then put cheesecloth over the top of the jar which I secured with an elastic band.
Here is an example of the cheesecloth I use;
Alternatively you may wish to use a sieve by placing it upside down over the top of the jar.
I left the alfalfa seeds to soak overnight for 8-12 hours making sure that they were out of direct sunlight.
The following morning I drained away the water by pouring it through the cheesecloth. If your using the sieve option drain with this.
If its summer time and water is scare I can drain into a bowl so that I can use the water on my outside plants. Waste not, want not.
I then turn the jar upside down into a bowl to allow the seeds to continue to drain. If preferred you can prop the jar at an angle and drain onto kitchen roll. I find that using the cheesecloth I don’t lose any of the seeds in the process.
The jar is filled with water at least every morning and evening. I swirl the seeds around in the water to rinse them and then drain. This process adds the moisture required to allow the seeds to grow. I make sure that I keep the seeds out of direct sunlight at this stage. Putting the jar at an angle allows air circulation which is needed to germinate them. So I don’t shut them away in a dark cupboard.
Here are my shoots sprouting at the beginning of day three.
Growing alfalfa sprouts would be a great project for children. A bit different to the carrot tops and watercress that I used to grow as a child.
I am as excited as a child watching them grow though.
On the fourth day after I rinse the seeds I put the jar in a sunny windowsill. Finding a sunny window can be a challenge at this time of the year.
On the fifth day the alfalfa sprouts were ready because they were about half an inch in length.
I put a couple of heaped tablespoons into the soup I was preparing along with some other vegetables. After the mixture had simmered for 10 to 15 minutes the vegetables were cooked and ready to blend. Ta-da! Soup with an extra special twist.
- Alfalfa should not be taken with vitamin E because this will weaken the efficiency of the vitamin E.
- It has an oestrogenic action meaning it mimics the action of female hormones. For this reason its advised not to take it during pregnancy.
- Don’t take if you have Lupus in your family. Lupus is where the body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs and it may trigger this in some sensitive people.
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