Bean sprouts are an easy way to grow your own food in just a few days. Full of vitamins and really high in protein, these crunchy sprouts will get your vegetable gardening fix in during the long winter months.
I started growing my own alfalfa sprouts several years ago. Around the same time I experimented with growing Mung Bean sprouts. Mung bean sprouts are the ones you recognize as plain old bean sprouts in the grocery store.
The alfalfa sprouts worked right out of the gate. The Mung Bean sprouts ... did not. Commercially grown bean sprouts are nice and long and relatively straight. This is not necessarily true of home grown bean sprouts. Unless you know the trick. And I know the trick.
Do you want to know the trick? Then read on.
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Home Grown Bean Sprouts.
Alfalfa sprouts can be successfully grown in a mason jar but Mung bean sprouts need a special set up. Nothing too crazy, and you can make it at home. You'll need 3 Tupperware-type containers. I used old Indian food takeout containers that I'd saved. And one lid. The lid is optional.
First things first. The big question.
Are mung beans and bean sprouts the same thing?
There are TONS of different types of bean sprouts. You can sprout any bean. BUT when people refer to "bean sprouts" they are generally referring to the sprouts of mung beans, a small, round, green dried bean.
How long does it take for mung beans to sprout?
Mung beans will actually sprout in just one day! They'll grow to a size that's edible in just 3-4 days.
How to do it.
- You need to drill some drainage holes into one of the containers.
- The other thing you'll need are actual Mung Beans. These can be found in the bulk section of some grocery stores, sold in the bag, or at the Bulk Barn. So they aren't very difficult to get ahold of.
Dump some beans into your perforated dish. You want a couple of tablespoons. Definitely less than half of what would cover the entire bottom of your dish. Bean sprouts will quadruple their size once grown.
Rinse them once more very well under clean cool water and drain thoroughly after.
Fill your last remaining plastic container base with water and put the lid on it. Put this on top of your bean sprouts in the perforated dish. You don't need to use the lid with water, it's just helpful for the first day or so. You just need to weigh the top container down so it stays in contact with the bean sprout seeds.
Now you rinse and drain the beans every 8 - 12 hours.
For the first couple of days use VERY light water pressure when rinsing. Just barely more than a dribble. Your goal is to have the bean seeds not move at ALL while you're rinsing them. That means, very low water pressure and rinsing for a long time to make sure you've rinsed them well.
You can eat your sprouts at any point, but I like to let mine grow for around 4 days.
Mung Bean sprout growth on days 1, 2, 3 and 4.
These sprouts get STRONG. Anabolic steroid after a bath salts bender strong. As evidenced in the photo below. The sprouts started getting strong enough that I needed to weigh them down with more than 3 little pigs. I put a huge pumpkin on them.
I walked in the door one afternoon to find the Lance Armstrong of sprouts had actually pushed the pumpkin right off of them.
Your sprouts might get a slightly pink tinge to them. This is from exposure to air. It's fine. If you weigh them down really well and keep the top container in contact with this, you're less likely to get pinkish sprouts.
4 days later a nest of thick sprouts. If you really want to avoid having the roots come out of the drainage holes, just keep a paper towel folded across the bottom of your container.
Keep your sprouts covered in the fridge for a few days.
Because of the risk of salmonella and E. coli There is a danger to eating raw sprouts. All sprouts. Even homegrown ones. Just so you know. Having said that there's also a danger to just existing basically.
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