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Ever tried bean sprouts? These healthy, crunchy, and delicious vegetables are easy to grow at home and are ready to be tossed in salads, stir-fries, and pasta in as little as 4 days? Continue reading to discover how to grow mung bean sprouts right on your kitchen counter.
If you love healthy vegetables, but don’t have a large growing space in your yard, growing bean sprouts indoors is the perfect solution! With just a little space on your kitchen counter, you can grow loads of bean sprouts throughout the year for a continuous supply of fresh, homegrown vegetables. Though it’s called ‘growing’, it won’t require soil, fertilizers, or any of that mess that comes with gardening. You won’t need anything besides a jar and water!
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What Are Bean Sprouts?
Ever seen those tiny sprouted mung beans tied in elastic bands, packed in plastic bags being sold in grocery stores? You’ll often find the label “Product Of China” on these little packages. Those are mung bean sprouts. Retailers make money out of the fact that they look like an exotic Chinese vegetable that not many customers know about. If they knew what it was or how easy it is to grow them at home, they wouldn’t ever buy it in the first place!
Mung bean sprouts are simply mung beans that have sprouted. Lentils, alfalfa, adzuki beans, and chickpeas can also be sprouted to use as a vegetable. While some seeds take longer to germinate, mung bean sprouts are one of the easiest and fastest to grow.
Health Benefits of Bean Sprouts
Mung bean sprouts can be consumed raw or lightly cooked. No matter how you serve them, they’re packed with vitamin C and A, proteins, iron, and fibers. They’re especially good for you if you suffer from high blood pressure. Besides, they help with digestion, improve your eye health, and even prevent cancer. So there are plenty of reasons for growing bean sprouts. Overall, these tiny greens are a nutritious addition to your regular diet.
How To Grow Mung Bean Sprouts
Now that you know what bean sprouts really are and all the exciting benefits they bring, you’ll definitely want to know how to grow bean sprouts in a jar! Yes, you read that right! You don’t need a clay pot or soil to grow your sprouts! You’ll just need a jar and water, and you probably already have loads of empty jars in your kitchen. If you also have mung beans in your pantry, you won’t need to buy anything.
What You Need to Grow Bean Sprouts Indoors
You might already know this from what you’ve read above, but just as a reminder, here’s what you’ll need to start the project:
You don’t need any special variety for sprouting. The regular whole mung beans you find at grocery stores will work great. Just make sure they’re not sprayed with chemicals that prevent sprouting. For the healthiest vegetables, choose organic beans because they’re free from all kinds of harmful chemicals.
Bean Sprout Caution!
Beware of contaminated seeds as they can cause illness. It’s very important that you choose untreated mung beans from a reliable food store. The ones at the gardening centers are great for growing bean plants, but they’re not recommended for sprouting since they may have been treated with chemicals.
Choose a regular mason jar with a wide mouth to easily manage your sprouted mung beans. Wash it thoroughly with clean water to remove any contamination, including soap.
Cold, clean water will work for growing bean sprouts. Regular tap water is okay for sprouting beans, as long as it’s cool.
Seed Sprouting Screen lid or Cheesecloth and Rubber Band
This is for covering the mason jar for sprouting the beans. If you don’t want to purchase specialized seed sprouting lids, a simple cheesecloth will do the job just fine!
Growing Bean Sprouts Steps To Follow
Now that you have all your material in place, it’s time to learn how to grow bean sprouts in a jar! The procedure is surprisingly simple, but if this is your first time, it will help if you follow the guidelines mentioned below to grow world-class bean sprouts at home!
Prepare the mung beans
Before sprouting, you need to prepare the beans. Remove any stones or other foreign objects. Also, throw away all damaged beans. Once you have all the good mung beans to sprout, wash them thoroughly to get rid of any contaminations.
Fill the jar
Fill the jar to half its capacity with cold water.
For a one-quart mason jar, you can add two tablespoons of mung bean seeds for sprouting. Adjust the quantity according to the size you have. Even if you choose other varieties of beans for sprouting, don’t fill them to more than 1/4th of the jar since they’ll also take some space to expand.
Cover the jar
Either place a sprouting lid over the jar or cover it with a cheesecloth. If you’re using cheesecloth, you’ll need to secure it in place with a rubber band. You can also fix a mesh screen onto the outer ring of a mason jar’s lid to create your own sprouting lid!
Leave the beans to soak 8 to 12 hours or overnight and drain out all the water through the mesh lid in the morning. Rinse it again with clean water and drain through the lid.
Rest the jars
Place them at an angle over a cooling rack, the side with the lid facing downwards. This will allow all the excess moisture to drain out through the top. Placing it at an angle is important because you need to allow air circulation through the lid. Keep this arrangement in a location away from sunlight.
Rinse and drain
For the next 2 to 4 days, you’ll need to rinse and drain the beans just as you did in step 5. Make sure you drain out the water completely each time you rinse and return it to the location away from sunlight, where you’ll rest it tilted over the cooling rack. If you see any sprouts showing signs of spoiling, remove and discard them right away so they won’t damage the rest of the lot.
If you’re growing bean sprouts using a different variety other than mung beans, the process can take anywhere between 2 to 6 days.
Ready to eat
Once they reach the desired size – which is usually around ½ inches for mung beans, but it’s a matter of preference – remove the bean sprouts from the jar. Rinse them well and use them right away. If you don’t plan on eating it all up fresh, refrigerate them in a dry container and use them within a week.
How To Eat Bean Sprouts
Now that you know all the key considerations on how to grow mung bean sprouts, you should also know how to eat them for the best flavors and nutrition. Bean sprouts are delicate vegetables, much like herbs. They’re usually eaten raw or after some light cooking. Mung bean sprouts can be added during the last two minutes of cooking. Adzuki beans and chickpeas sprouts will need to be cooked for around 15 minutes.
Safety Considerations for Bean Sprouts
There are some safety considerations regarding bean sprouts. While they’re super healthy when prepared and stored the right way, they can cause food-borne illnesses if stored in a warm and humid environment. This is because the combination of warmth and humidity presents the perfect home for bacteria. Always store them dry in the refrigerator and use them within a week.
If you’re pregnant, old, or a child, avoid consuming raw bean sprouts. Consuming them properly cooked in stir-fries or other recipes is perfectly safe for you.
How Long Will Cooked Bean Sprouts Stay Good
If you’ve cooked them in a recipe, store any leftovers in the fridge and consume them within the next 3 to 4 days for maximum freshness and flavor.
Bean Sprout Recipes
You already know how to grow bean sprouts in a jar. Are you looking for some recipe ideas next? You can toss a bunch of these to your salad for a crunchy, fresh addition. You can also try out the following recipes:
- Sauteed Chinese Mung Bean Sprouts
- Bean Sprout Soup
- Kongnamul Bap (Bean Sprout Rice Bowl)
- Sookju Namul (Korean Bean Sprout Salad)
Helpful Products For Growing Bean Sprouts
So now you know how to grow mung bean sprouts at home. When it barely takes any time to grow the perfect bean sprouts right on your kitchen counter, who would want to buy those at the supermarket? After all, you can never be sure if they were sprouted and packaged just recently or days ago. Just like all other fresh vegetables, you’ll get the healthiest, crunchiest, and tastiest results when you grow them with your own hands!