Inventory, 12 ct : 0
This item was last sold on : 01/28/23
Alfalfa sprouts consist of tiny, dark brown seeds that have sprouted young, slender shoots with one set of small leaves, averaging 5 to 12 centimeters in length. The thin, white stems are delicate, flexible, and succulent with a crisp consistency. The leaves also bear a tender texture, ranging in color from yellow, green, to dark green, depending on the amount of light exposure, and have an elongated, oval shape with curved edges. The surface of the small leaves is smooth and glossy with a pliable, fleshy nature, giving the sprouts a slight crunch. Alfalfa sprouts have a mild, nutty, and subtly sweet flavor with fresh green nuances.
Alfalfa sprouts are available year-round.
Alfalfa sprouts, botanically classified as Medicago sativa, are the immature shoots of an herbaceous perennial belonging to the Fabaceae or pea family. The slender shoots are grown from germinated Alfalfa seeds, harvested 3 to 6 days after sprouting, and the shoots are gathered before they begin to mature and still have a nutty, mild flavor. Full-grown Alfalfa leaves have a bitter taste and are not typically consumed. Alfalfa is native to Western Asia and has been extensively cultivated for thousands of years as animal feed. The name Alfalfa is derived from the Arabic phrase “al-fac-facah,” translating to mean “the father of all foods,” and was given in honor of the plant’s high nutritional value. Alfalfa is also known as Lucerne in Europe, Australia, and South Africa and is one of the most popular sprouts consumed worldwide. Alfalfa sprouts add a light, fresh flavor, delicate crunch, and added nutrients to culinary preparations.
Alfalfa sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin K to absorb calcium to strengthen bones and teeth and are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that boosts the immune system while reducing inflammation. Sprouts also have a high content of phytoestrogens, which have been shown to aid in preventing heart disease, and contain lower amounts of manganese, potassium, calcium, copper, folate, magnesium, and iron.
Alfalfa sprouts add texture, moisture, and a slight crunch to a variety of raw or cooked applications. It is important to note that Alfalfa sprouts can contain food-borne illnesses such as salmonella and E. coli. Research and care must be taken before consuming Alfalfa sprouts, and the sprouts should always be washed prior to use. The FDA also has recommendations for growers and consumers on avoiding contamination when selecting and preparing sprouts, and their website can be viewed for further details. When fresh, Alfalfa sprouts can be layered into sandwiches, burgers, wraps, or spread on toast, tossed into salads and coleslaws, or incorporated into fresh spring rolls. The shoots can also be mixed into stir-fries, blended into smoothies, cooked into omelets, used as a topping for tacos, pasta, or pizza, or floated on top of soups. Alfalfa sprouts pair well with herbs such as mint, dill, coriander, and chives, avocado, apples, tomatoes, bell pepper, broccoli, kale, nasturtium leaves, and cheeses such as goat, feta, cream, and mozzarella. Alfalfa sprouts should be dry, kept in a plastic bag or airtight container, and stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator, where they will keep for 2 to 5 days. It is not recommended to freeze Alfalfa sprouts.
Alfalfa sprouts are widely consumed in South Indian vegetarian cuisine. The young shoots are known as Rajko in Hindi and are favored in the winter for their high nutritional content, utilized in both raw and cooked applications. In India, Alfalfa sprouts are combined with beets as a fresh side dish, mixed into dal dishes, mixed with apples, yogurt, mustard powder, and pepper, and spread on toast. The sprouts are also blended into tahini for hummus or steeped in boiling water and strained to make a light tea. Beyond culinary applications, Alfalfa sprouts are used as offerings to the goddess Mariyamman. Sprout offerings are a part of a sprout festival held in Rameswaram, Southern India, and the annual festival date varies depending on the Hindu religious calendar. During the festival, women carry sprouts on their heads and throw the shoots into the ocean in hopes of a blessed harvest. The celebration is held at Agni Thirtham, a beach that borders a holy area of water used to cleanse sin and perform rituals to appease the gods. Sprouts are traditionally grown in homes for this festival, and when ready for harvest, the sprouted shoots are carried during a symbolic journey to the beach where live music and dancing are performed before the shoots are thrown into the water.
Alfalfa is believed to be native to Western Asia and was first domesticated in Turkey and Iran. The plant has been used as an important fodder crop for more than 6,000 years, spreading quickly across Europe and Asia, and in its young, sprouted form, it has been documented as a medicinal ingredient since ancient times. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers introduced Alfalfa to the New World, planting crops throughout South America and Mexico, and the greens later arrived in the United States in 1736. While Alfalfa sprouts were consumed in Europe and Asia for centuries, the young shoots did not become popular in North America for culinary use until the 1970s. Today Alfalfa sprouts are grown in subtropical to temperate climates worldwide and are found through specialty grocers, farmer’s markets, and select online retailers. Sprouts are also grown in home gardens and kitchens, but caution must be taken to purchase disinfected seeds and provide a sanitary growing environment.
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Recipes that include Alfalfa Sprout. One is easiest, three is harder.