Vegan MoFo #1: Sprouting Adventures with Alfalfa and Legumes

Welcome to my first post of the most stellar-mega-fantastic-ridiculous-zany-vast-impressive extravaganza of vegan blogging antics otherwise known as Vegan MoFo! As if that introduction didn’t explain well enough, the virtual festival of Vegan MoFo, in its third incarnation this year, consists of a plethora of vegan bloggers (over 600!) united in the common goal of accumulating as many posts as humany possible (or at least 20 per blogger) relating to animal-friendly cooking antics during the month of October. As many mofo-ers have already lamented, I must have hopped onto the crazy train for committing to scribing five posts per week considering the already mounting pile of college reading, essays, exams, and extracurriculars that currently consume my daily life (though not enough, evidently!). However, last year marked my first foray into the Vegan MoFo world, and I simply could not resist another whirlwind of almost-daily blogging hijinks.

As for a particular theme to the MoFo madness, I’d like to entitle the entirety of my October posts as “Exploring Upstate New York: Vegan and College-Student-Broke Style.” Focusing on my edible endeavors as a penniless Vassar freshman, I’ll continue to regale you with my experiences eating in the dining hall, cooking in my makeshift dorm room “kitchen,” and venturing to vegan-friendly restaurants both in Poughkeepsie and beyond.

In honor of the birth of Vegan MoFo 2012, I’d like to enter the blogging party by introducing you to my own newborns: alfalfa and legume sprouts. For the past few days, I’ve transformed my dorm room into a center of incubation for the sprouting ventures of alfalfa seeds, lentils, beluga peas, and chickpeas. As you may recall reading in the various What I Ate Wednesdays since I arrived at Vassar, I’ve intensely craved the refreshing crunch, the pleasant flavor ever so slighly reminiscent of grass, and the textural interest inculcated into salads by the all-mighty sprouts, both alfalfa and bean. Sure, I may completely adhere to the cliche image of health-food hippies munching on alfalfa sprouting out of their ears, but gosh darn it, I will proudly pin the “Alfalfa’s Biggest Fan” badge onto my Kale t-shirt from Candle Cafe. In any case, I decided to take charge of the absense of sprouts in the grocery and health food store immediately surrounding Vassar by ordering both alfalfa sprouting seeds and a rainbow-colored mix of crunchy bean sprouting seeds from the kind purveyors at The Raw Food World.

For those of you who would also like to weird out your college roommates by crowding your already squished dorm with mason jars filled with squiggly-tailed beans, I’m thrilled to provide you with a step-by-step guide to alfalfa and bean sprouting.

How to Sprout Alfalfa and Bean Seeds

Equipment:

  • 2 16-oz mason jars
  • 2 tbsp alfalfa sprouting seeds
  • 1/4 cup bean sprouting seeds (make sure you buy your sprouting seeds from reputable sources—those from garden stores are likely chemically treated and unsuitable for consumption).
  • Water
  • Cheesecloth
  • Rubber bands
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Dish towel

Rinse off your seeds and pick them over for any debris.

Place the alfalfa seeds in one mason jar and the bean seeds in the other. Fill both of the jars completely with water—the seeds, especially the beans, expand greatly. Cover the jars with squares of cheesecloth secured with rubber bands and let the seeds soak for 8 to 12 hours at room temperature. Larger beans, especially chickpeas, require a longer soaking time.

After soaking, drain the water through the cheesecloth. Rinse the seeds with fresh water and drain again. Place the jars away from sunlight upside-down at an angle on a wire cooling rack set over a dish towel to ensure adequate air circulation.

Rinse and drain the beans with fresh water at least twice and up to four times each day, depending on how dry the beans seem during the sprouting process. Repeat this procedure for two to five days (mine only took two), until the alfalfa has sprouted to about one inch and begins to form a clump of sprouts, and until the beans have sprouted to about half an inch and have expanded to fill the jar almost entirely.

Your alfalfa will need a quick tanning session to take on its verdant hue. Place the jar with the alfalfa in a sunny spot for a few hours to allow it to turn green.

Give both the alfalfa and bean sprouts a final rinse and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Comment Provoking Questions: Do you participate in Vegan MoFo? Why or why not? Do you enjoy it? Do your posts have a theme this year? Have you ever sprouted alfalfa or beans before?

Happy Vegan MoFo!

Until next time, Ali.

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11 thoughts on “Vegan MoFo #1: Sprouting Adventures with Alfalfa and Legumes

  1. Gnoe says:

    I’m going to try and sprout alfafa this week! A previous attempt failed but now you’ve made me feel like trying again. 🙂 Aside from that I do regularly sprout mung beans into taugeh bean sprouts and I love to grow water cress. In my experience these things are more difficult to grow/sprout in winter, even though it’s indoors!

    This year I was finally in time to join VeganMoFo! Missed out the past two years because I always seem to think it’s in November… Yay for the PPK forums. 😉 My theme is EXTRAveganza aka ‘vegan on the road.

      • Jill, The Veggie Queen says:

        I used jars for more than 20 years. I was confused when I first got the Sproutmaster but love that it sits on my counter top so that i remember to rinse twice daily.

        The other reason it’s so good is that you can use the container for storage in the refrigerator and the sprouts stay fresh for a long time. It’s paid for itself many times over the years. I still love glass but this “toy” (I mean “tool”) is a winner.

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