Sprouting your way to a winter harvest

Mung beans seeds for sprouting

Winter in Canada is a bit of a downer when it comes to home-grown food.  Nothing will grow outdoors, because the ground is frozen.  You may be reaching the end of your supply of preserved peaches and dried tomatoes, and desperate for a hint of spring.  Growing sprouts is a nice way to fill the winter gap.

Sprouts are seeds that have germinated.  Some of them are eaten at that stage, a seed with a little tail, while others are allowed to grow a bit bigger, until leaves start to form.  Today I will discuss the traditional bean sprout, which is fast and easy.

First, you need to get some seeds.  Bean sprouts usually come from the mung bean, which can be ordered from specialty seed and sprouting catalogues, but can also be found quite readily at your local Asian food store, or sometimes the ethnic food section of the grocery store.  The beans are small, dried, and dark green in colour.


Next, you need a suitable container.  These you can also buy, but we made ours out of plastic containers from take-out food.  At a minimum, you will need some sort of tray with holes in the bottom for water to drain out.  Ideally, you will also have a bottom tray to catch the draining water, and a lid to keep the light out.

Start off by soaking the beans for 4 hours to overnight.  The next day, the beans will have swollen a little, and some white flesh might be starting to poke out.  Drain the water, place the beans in your draining tray, and cover or store in a dark place to keep the sprouts from turning green.

Twice a day, rinse the beans with water.

beanSprouts_final_v2And that is it!  When the beans are a suitable size, drain them thoroughly, and place in a sealed container in the fridge.  They have a tendency to mould quickly, so it is best if you don’t rinse them just before refrigeration.

We throw our bean sprouts into whatever we are cooking at the time – raw in salads, or cooked in stir fries, kale potato hash, whatever you can think of.

I don’t usually measure the beans, but I probably use about 2 tablespoons at a time, which makes about 1.5 cups of sprouts.  They take 5-7 days to be ready, so plan ahead if you want them for something special.

Tell us about your sprouting experiences!

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