How to Sprout Beans

Bean sprouts are packed full of nutrients - the freshest food you can eat!

You can grow sprouts very easily in your own kitchen.

Click on the video below, we'll show you how!

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Under the video there's a whole lot more written instructions about sprouting beans.

Why eat sprouts?

Sprouts are real living food – full of vibrant energy  They can play an important role in a healthy diet.  Many traditional cultures used sprouted beans and grains.  Some nutritionists now believe that traditional harvesting methods caused grains to slightly sprout and ferment before they were consumed – thus making them more digestible.

One of the key properties of ‘living’ foods, such as sprouts, is that they are abundant in food enzymes.  Enzymes are the essential catalysts for all the complex biochemical processes which go on in our bodies.  The more enzymes we consume with our food, the less we need to rely on the body’s resources, saving us energy.  Anne Wigmore, who popularised the therapeutic use of wheat grass, said that enzyme preservation is the key to health and longevity.

Sprouts contain high levels of antioxidants, anticarcinogens, minerals, vitamins, nucleic acids, plant antibiotics and plant hormones - a whole of lot of stuff which works together to give us amazing health benefits.

What can I sprout?

Our favourites are lentils, adzuki beans, mung beans.  sunflower seeds.   You might also try other beans (and some grains and seeds) such as buckwheat, wheat, quinoa, broccoli seeds, radish, alfalfa and  fenugreek.

Equipment

After years of sprouting and trying all sorts of sprouting gadgets we find the best arrangement is a preserving jar with a mesh lid.  Buy the lids at health food stores or make your own.  Some larger beans can be sprouted simply in a colander or sieve – but they need to be rinsed more often.

Shopping

Look for beans that appear plump and fairly uniform in size and colour.  There should be few, if any, cracked, broken or discoloured beans.  I buy almost all my beans organic because not only have they been grown with maximum nutrition, they have also been processed, transported and stored carefully.  Buy from a retailer that is likely to have a high turnover of stock to avoid buying old, over-dry beans that don’t cook or sprout uniformly.

How to Sprout 

Sorting

Check your beans before use, especially if you notice they aren’t uniform quality.  Remove any discoloured, broken, cracked, or shriveled beans as they won’t cook properly.  The best way may be to spread them on a tray for sorting.

Soaking

This is the most important step to get used to when dealing with beans.  Soaking in water rehydrates the beans and removes some of their natural toxins.  Place them in a bowl and cover with plenty of water.  They will swell three or four times their original size so give them more than enough to drink!  Most beans need at least eight hours to fully rehydrate – usually soaking overnight is sufficient. 

Drain the beans - then rinse daily

Drain and rinse the soaked beans.  All you need to do now is ensure that the beans are kept moist, by rinsing often.  Do this daily at least.  Rinse twice a day in hot weather and when sprouting smaller beans.   You sprouts need to breathe – just like you!  This means you need to drain them carefully after each rinse and not having any of the beans sitting in a puddle of water. 

How long before I can eat them?

As a general rule, wait until the sprout tail is about as long as the seed itself.  When the tips of the sprouts are starting to go green transfer them to an airtight container and keep in the fridge.  They will remain alive, but their growth will slow right down.

How can we use sprouts in meals?

  • Eat them on their own, as a snack
  • Use them in lunch sandwiches, roll-ups or salads
  • Add them to a stir-fry – cook them just long enough to warm through
  • Liven up any meal by adding sprouts as a garnish
  • Make a salad

Some other helpful hints:

Do I need to grow sprouts in the dark?

The best environment to sprout is generally the kitchen.  It’s neither too bright or dark and also warm and not too dry.  Direct sunlight is not helpful.

Caution!! Be moderate with sprouted beans

There are naturally occurring toxins in many plants which cause us problems when consumed in excess.  Legumes in particular contain toxic substances that are not entirely removed by sprouting. 

Large beans like kidney beans, chickpeas or soy beans, need to be cooked.  Mung beans, adzuki beans and some lentils may be eaten sprouted in small amounts.   However the health benefits of live foods far outweighs the potential dangers and a healthy body has the ability to detoxify natural toxins of sprouts eaten in moderation.

A note about alfalfa

Alfalfa sprouts should always be grown until mature before consumption, and not eaten in excess.  They contain an amino acid analogue called canavanine which causes problems for a small percentage of people.  It is best to wait until the sprouts have good colour and the division of the first leaf has occurred.  This usually takes about seven days. 


 

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