From my earliest recollections, sprouting our own bean sprouts has been something our family did. My Dad, being an expert green thumb and fan of all things innovative and science-based, always had some kind of “science project” going on. Whether it be hybridizing and creating new species of fancy Japanese goldfish to cross-pollinating flowers like orchids and daylilies, or mastering the art of bonsai, Dad has always been keen about growing things.
I remember being a kid when Dad taught me how to sprout bean sprouts in our kitchen using a can and some mung beans. Dad, being Chinese, often cooked with bean sprouts in stir-fry dishes, noodle dishes, salads, etc. Mom used the sprouts in her Filipino cooking as well. They’re especially tasty in spring rolls!
How to sprout seeds, grains and beans
There are so many types of sprouts – radish, chickpea, pea, lentil, mung bean, alfalfa, and broccoli (just to begin with). They’re rich in vitamins and nutrients and can be grown easily all throughout the year in your kitchen. Plus, if you’re on a budget, growing your own sprouts is an economical way to add some healthy ingredients to your meals.
I purchased a sprouter at one of our local health food stores on Manitoulin Island. My six year old daughter really wanted me to buy it, and I can’t say no when it comes to learning how to grow food or when it comes to anything science or education-related. I’m not going to lie. I was excited too.
You don’t need to go out and purchase a sprouter though. We have always used a large can or a large mason jar. DIY sprouters are so easy to make.
As for seeds, beans, grains for sprouting, you can purchase them at your local health food store, grocery store, or Asian supermarket. I usually get mine when I’m at an Asian supermarket. A bag of mung beans can last a long time and yield enough for many, many, many meals!
- Get a good-sized mason jar or jam jar with a lid.
- With a hammer and a nail, punch small holes into the lid. If you want, you can also drill little holes into the lid instead of punching small holes with a nail and hammer. Both methods work well. Alternately, you can forgo the holes in the lid and use breathable material and an elastic band.
- There you go! That’s it! You have a sprouter!
Let the sprouting begin!
- Soak seeds – Add 1/3 to 1/2 cups of seeds (I used mung beans for our last sprouting) to the bottom of your jar and cover with water and let soak for twelve hours.
- Make sure your water is not too hot or too cold. Room temperature is best. After your twelve hours are up, drain your seeds. You want to make sure that the seeds remain damp, but not soaking wet.
- Repeat rinsing process once or twice every twelve hours. In about 2 to 4 days, your sprouts should be ready to eat! I find around day 4 is when the sprouts are best. It really depends on your taste and on what you are sprouting too. Some seeds, beans or grains take longer than others to sprout.
Make sure to eat your sprouts right away or store them in a container or plastic bag in the fridge. Sprouts generally don’t last too long in this house, since we eat them in our sandwiches, on our salads, in our soups, in stir-fry recipes and as part of rice or noodle dishes. The sprouts can keep in the fridge for a few days to a week though.
Do you sprout? What are your favourite dishes that include sprouts?
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