How to Sprout Beans
Beans for Sprouting.
Everyone wants to eat more healthily and the benefits of organic foods are becoming clearer daily. However not all can afford to purchase the best foods. Sprouting is a simple, cost effective, organic and nutritious way to grow your own.
Most of the beans that you use in your cooking can be sprouted. I always have Adzuki Beans and Mung Beans on my pantry shelf. They are quick to cook, and super easy to sprout. I usually buy mine at my local East Indian grocery store as they are sold for pennies compared to the usual supermarket prices. A lot of them are organic and you may find some beans that you are not familiar with too!
I use equipment that I also have on hand. The only thing I bought for this project was the mesh screening, and I have a million other uses for that too.
You know me, always frugal. Once you have decided which beans you want to sprout, just follow these simple instructions.
Equipment to get started
- Mason jars. I qt are best, wide mouth are easier to empty once beans grow.
- Some mesh screening [like you use on your windows.]
- Screw top band for the jar. [without the inner lid]
- Piece of paper
- Pair of scissors
Making your strainer jar
Place the lid band on the paper and draw around it with the sharpie. Then cut out a square of mesh slightly larger than the lid band. Place the mesh on the paper and cut around the circle you drew on the paper, cutting the mesh at the same time. This will just make sure you can see your circle.
You can of course, just cut the square and have the corners peek out from under the lid band. It all depends on you and how neat you like things to look when finished.
Take your circle of mesh and line the inside of the lid band with it. You now have a built in strainer. No need to empty and fill the jar multiple times.
Starting the sprouts
Put your beans into the jar. I suggest about ¼ cup to start with. Those beans will grow quickly and fill the jar. ¼ cup of beans will get you about a full cup of sprouts.
Fill the jar with water and screw on the lid, with the mesh liner in place. Shake the jar and rinse the beans. Empty the water out through the mesh. No need to remove the lid.
Add more water and leave to soak for 12 hours. Overnight is good. If you want a constant supply of sprouts, it's a good idea to start several jars over a period of several days. That way you have daily supplies of sprouts without having to wait.
After 12 hours of soaking, empty out all the water and shake the jar to dry the beans as much as possible. Use the jar as a mini greenhouse to start the beans sprouting. I just lay mine on it's side to allow good air circulation. [another benefit to the mesh] Once a day, give them a quick rinse to prevent them drying out, drain, and return to their spot. Once they start sprouting you can decide when you want to eat them. Be aware that once they are about 2 inches long, they may start to lose flavour and can go bad quickly. You will need to experiment with your beans until you find the perfect timing for your tastes. You can put the whole jar in the fridge with a sealed lid on it for a day or two if you need to keep them longer. Do NOT eat slimy beansprouts. Food poisoning is no fun.
From jar to table....
Okay. You have followed all the steps, it's three days later and now you have a mason jar full of bean sprouts. What are you going to do with them? Well, you can just eat them as a garnish on your salad, sandwiches or baked potatoes. Or you can stir fry them into your favourite dish. The taste of the sprout will vary depending on the bean that you chose. This is where you can become the mad bean sprout scientist and experiment away! They are so cheap that if you make a mistake and create something not to your taste, you can just throw them away [or feed to the birds] and start over.
Some pets will eat bean sprouts that are freshly sprouted. Mung beans are a particularly tasty treat for dogs. Add some to your furfriends daily platter. Same rules apply, no slime!
Be aware....or what wouldn't I sprout
Some beans I would not sprout, such as Kidney beans. These contain high levels of active enzymes and vitamins that require specific cooking techniques to make safe. The Vitamin A level in Kidney beans can be harmful to your liver. You may become sick more or less immediately if they are not processed properly. Rule of thumb - if it takes a special cooking process to make it safe, you cannot eat it raw.
Be careful. Check what you are doing. Make sure you use clean equipment and don't eat old, slimy or decaying raw food.