Tuesday 27 August 2013

Growing Sprouts at Home

I was growing some mung bean sprouts last week and thought this might be a good opportunity to share the process with you. 

It's worth learning how to grow sprouts. They're easy and inexpensive to grow and they're packed with nutrition and flavour.  They make a wonderful addition to your salad bowl and to sandwiches, especially during the winter months when greens can be expensive.

The process for growing all sprouts is basically the same, although soaking and germination times will vary depending upon what you are sprouting.  Realivzehealth.com shares a helpful infographic on sprouting times for common seeds.  You can find it here.

The first step in sprouting most seeds is soaking them.  I put two Tablespoons of mung beans in a mason jar, covered them with cool water, and then topped the jar with a square of tulle, held in place with a sealer jar ring. 

(If you don't have tulle, a couple of layers of cheesecloth will work too, but I prefer the finer texture of the tulle.  Tulle is more durable and is easily washed than cheesecloth.  I bought mine from the remnant bin at a local fabric store.  Sufficient fabric to cover more than a dozen jars cost me $2.16.)

I let the mung beans soak overnight, then drained them and rinsed them with fresh water, then drained them again.

I placed the jar on my counter, out of direct sunlight, and continued rinsing and draining them two or three times a day, for three days. 

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Because the beans did get some light, they took on a little colour as they sprouted.  If you want colourless sprouts, place your jar in a dark cupboard where they still get good air circulation.

At the end of three days, some of the sprouts were beginning to form their first tiny leaves.  They were ready to use, but most still had their green husks clinging to them.

I transferred the sprouts to a large bowl and covered them with a quantity of cool water, stirring them around gently with my fingers to loosen the husks. 

The water loosened the husks from most of the sprouts.  Some floated to the top of the water and others sank the to the bottom.  It was a simple matter to use my fingertips to the free the last few husks that clung to the sprouts.

I was left with about 1-1/2 cups of cleaned sprouts.

I drained the water from the bowl through a sieve and composted the husks, then placed the cleaned sprouts in the sieve to ensure that I'd removed as much water as I could.

I used my sprouts right away, but if you're not going to be using your sprouts immediately you can store them in the refrigerator to halt the growing process.  They'll keep in a sealed container for three or four days.