Culinary Techniques: Bean Sprouts - How to Grow Your Own Bean Sprouts
Culinary Basics - How to Grow Bean Sprouts
Beans are not only part of healthy culinary basics, they are also versatile. From the humble little shriveled and dried up pellet, you can make delicious and nutritious sprouts and add even more nutrients to your diet.
Growing sprouts is a bit of a science, so it is best to start small and work your way up. There are all kinds of ‘sprouters’ for sale on the market and they work just fine – although you can do the same thing with a jar and some simple everyday equipment for less money!
Generally speaking, the most important thing about growing bean sprouts, seed sprouts or nut sprouts is to not get the sprouts too wet after the initial soaking as the sprouts will mold and rot.
Make sure that you follow the straining directions carefully. Eventually, once you get the hang of it, people as a rule of thumb start a fresh batch every 3 or 4 days.
Good Beans, Legumes, Seeds, Nuts and Grains to Sprout
BEANS AND LEGUMES
- Lentil – red, green or yellow
- Alfalfa seeds – these are the most common sold in stores for sandwiches, pitas, etc.
- Clover seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Wheat berries
Amount of Sprouting Source You Need
- 2-3 tablespoons for small seeds or beans
- 1/4-1/2 cup for medium seeds or beans
- 1 cup for large beans and grains
- 2 cups for sunflower seeds
The most common seed to sprout starting out is the alfalfa seed, one of the most common beans the mung bean, and the most common legume is the lentil. All are loaded with extra vitamins and nutrients once in their sprouted state.
RECIPE FOR SPROUTING BEANS OR SEEDS
- Beans or seeds you want to sprout – tablespoons to cups depending on size of seed or bean, etc.
- Cheesecloth and rubber band OR
- Purchase a special lid at your local health food store for straining sprouts (it fits over a mason jar)
- Quart-sized mason jar
- Rinse your seeds, beans, lentils - whichever you're sprouting
- Place your beans, seeds or lentils into the jar
- Cover with at least 4 times as much water – screw on the lid or cover the mouth of the lid with cheesecloth and secure tightly with a rubber band
- Soak overnight
- The next day, drain the jar COMPLETELY through the special screened lid or through the cheesecloth. Turn it upside down on a plate for extra drainage
- From here on, rinse the beans once per day and drain thoroughly each time
- Turn the jar on its side and keep in a sunny location to encourage germination
- The sprouts are done when the sprouted portion is roughly the same size as the original seed, bean, or grain
Sprouting seeds, nuts, beans, or grains is a wonderful way to significantly increase the vitamin content of the original seed or bean.
There is roughly 10 times the amount of vitamin C in the sprout as there was in the original bean for instance.
You can also avoid the contamination that often occurs in stores selling sprouts by growing your own in a safe environment!
GREAT USES FOR SPROUTS
- Sandwiches and pitas
- Garnish on soups
- Vegetable dip
- Asian dishes and stir-fry
- Add to breads, vegetable burgers or casseroles
SUMMING UP CULINARY BASICS AND SPROUTING
It is a relatively easy process and very inexpensive as well. There are professional kits out there that walk you through it step by step, but most health food stores and some sections of the grocery store sell seeds and beans that are readily available for sprouting. With just a few extra items, you will be on your way to ‘cooking up’ a wonderful adjunct and something to add to your repertoire of healthy culinary basics!
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