Alfalfa seeds that have germinated, requiring only water and a cool place to grow, which are then harvested as a food. The sprouts, similar to other sprouts, are a popular addition to salads and sandwiches, providing crispness as an ingredient. Sprouts can also be sautéed or stir-fried, but are very delicate and can only be heated for 20 to 30 seconds before wilting. Sprouts should be kept refrigerated for only a few days before they become wilted or too moist and slimy for use.
The FDA has cautioned consumers about the eating of raw sprouts, especially clover and alfalfa sprouts, due to concerns for their developing of e-coli and salmonella bacteria causing food illnesses from undetected contamination that cannot be removed by the washing of sprouts. Therefore, it is suggested that the sprouts be cooked to remove the potential of harmful bacteria.