As the motivation from my New Year's Resolutions to eat healthy wears off, the threat of bathing suit weather ensues, and I am anxiously awaiting the fresh veggies from the garden. Most climates this time of year are not ready for the growing season, so I'm on the prowl for ways to appease my craving for super fresh and healthy greens. My friend Amy taught me a while back how to sprout beans so I thought I would finally give it a try. I made a trip to Wild Oats for some organic Mung beans you can purchase by the pound.
Step One: Fill a large container with beans and water, soak overnight.
Beware that seeds soak up 2 or 3 times their volume in water. I forgot this piece of information and had to keep adding water. I didn't put them in a large enough container, so in the morning, I found beans overflowing all over the counter. Some of the beans in the jar were so tightly packed that it was hard to get them out. Luckily it still worked out for me.
Step 2: Once they have absorbed their full capacity of water (2-12 hours depending on the size of the seed), or in the morning, drain the water from the beans, rinse them and place them somewhere warm (around 70 degrees) out of direct sunlight. Rinse the beans twice in the morning and twice in the evening until they reach the desired sprout length (usually up to 2-3 inches for sprouts that will be eaten raw).
Be sure to rinse the sprouts or they could get sour. Store them in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Sprouts are one of the most nutrient dense foods out there, meaning the ratio of nutrients to the total calories is very high (this is a good thing, more bang for your buck, or nutrient for your calorie). Sprouts quickly loose their vitamin density, so it is better to grow small quantities often, to make sure you are getting as much nutritional value possible.
Some ways you can use your sprouts
- Eat them raw
- Throw them in a salad
- Blend them in with smoothies or other drinks
- Include them in your tacos or burritos
- Add them to stews and soups just before serving
- Put into sandwiches
- Mixed in dips
- Cooked in meatloaf and casseroles
- Fried up with omelets and eggs
- Stir fried
- Baked in breads
- Don't be shy, throw them in whenever you can
Best Seeds: clover and alfalfa
Best Beans: mung, lentil, and garbanzo
Best Nuts: almonds and hazelnuts
Best Grains: wheat berries and rye