In our house, we eat sprouts on or instead of salad, on sandwiches, and as a snack. Pure alfalfa sprouts are just one of the many types of sproutables you can grow quickly and easily. In this illustration, you'll see a 3-part variety type of sprouts, regular alfalfa sprouts, and lentil beans.
These are just the beginning, though. There are literally hundreds of varieties of sprouts you can grow. Asian Mung is a good example, being a heavy, rich, and potent sprout with a lot of protein and vitamins.
Step 1: Getting the Sprouts & Storing Them
The seeds are important and need to be cared for to do well in storage. Totally open-air is no good, as the moisture could trigger sprouting, but fully sealed off will kill the seeds. I keep mine in canning jars with unsealed lids, loosely closed. Used canning lids work great with this. Inside the jars in the photos here, you'll see the labels from the original packaging so I can track what's in which jar.
In this illustration, you're seeing my own growing kit which has stack-able trays and drain pans. This is a good setup for those who grow a lot of sprouts (we're using about 3 pounds per week), but plenty of others are available too. The cheapest is to take a bowl or other container capable of holding water, loosely stretch some cheese cloth over it and rubber-band or tie it in place. Then rinse through the cloth into the container and allow the sprouts to grow.
A Chia Pet works too, of course.
Step 2: Sowing the Seeds of Sprout Love
The seeds are spread into the growing tray, into a jar (if using the sieve-lid type grower), etc. Each type has its own recommended measurement, but none are really precise. I use about two tablespoons per tray here, which produces just under a pound of sprouts or 6-8 ounces of lentils.
Step 3: Initial Soaking of the Seeds
So you immerse them in water, as shown, and cover them to keep out of the light. Another great thing about sprouts is that they really only need sunlight for about 8 hours or so to fully develop--at the end of their cycle--before you can eat them. Most of their growing is done in the dark, so you don't need a dedicated window or porch for them.
Step 4: Rinsing, Sunlight, Eating!
Alfalfa takes about four days to mature and be ready to harvest. The lentils are usually ready in about that time as well. The 3-part salad mix takes about six days, with at least two full days of sunlight for best results. The lentils need the least amount of light of the three shown here.
So there you have it. A (more or less) complete do-it-yourself walkthrough of sprouting. Lentils make great salad toppers, to ad a little crunch, and alfalfa and garden mixes are awesome alone, on salad, on sandwiches, etc. Enjoy!