Sprouts are fun and easy to grow and are delicious, alkaline and packed full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. These fun little projects are also a great source of vitamins E, C, B and A as well as potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and protein. Sprouting unlocks the nutrients & protein inside the plant cells more readily and makes the protein found beans as well as nuts & seeds more bioavailable and more digestible. Sprouting as well as soaking, or fermenting foods also significantly reduces enzyme inhibitors, greatly increasing the digestibility and absorption of all nutrients in food, including amino acids.
For a more in-depth look at why sprouting is so awesome, check out my guy Dr. Josef Mercola’s article.
Step #1 Select Your Bean & Quantity:
Use organic beans such as adzuki, lentils, mung beans or chickpeas. The beans beans will at least double in size during sprouting, so only prepare as many sprouts as you can eat in about 4 weeks. The fastest to sprout are mung beans and lentils, especially if you live in a humid climate. My favorite beans are adzuki beans (shown here) for their nutty texture, high protein and iron and anti-oxidant content. Most dry beans are good for sprouting but you want to avoid black beans as they can be toxic. Note that “split” beans or peas will not sprout.
Step #2- Soak Your Beans:
Place your beans in a wide-mouthed glass jar and fill with filtered water until the beans are covered by about 4 inches of water (use this rule for any amount for beans). Allow them to soak in the water overnight, or for about 8 to 12 hours and then rinse and drain them very well as they can go off if they are too moist. I do this several times inside the jar. Cover with a piece screen from the hardware store (shown here) or a piece of cheesecloth. Leave the jar in a semi-lit place while the beans sprout (I like my kitchen near the window).
Step #3- Rinse Your Beans:
Rinse and drain the beans well 2-3 times per day. The easiest way is to add water through the screen over the top as you can fill it and drain it without having to remove it. Watch your sprouts grow over the next few days. You can stop sprouting after 2-3 days or when the tails are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long or as long as the body of the bean. You can also keep them growing up to 4 days for large, plump sprouts. Note: chickpeas or garbanzo beans get bitter if you sprout too long so you just want the very tip to be sprouted.
Step #4- Rinse and Store:
Finish sprouting by giving your beans a final rinse and then placing them in the covered jar in the refrigerator. Sprouts should last about 2-4 weeks; however, it will depend on the length of sprouting and amount of moisture on the beans when you placed them in the refrigerator. Make sure that you smell the sprouts for spoilage after 2 weeks and toss them if you are in doubt or you can gently cook them in a soup which is what I do if they are not super fresh as they still have plenty of nutritional value!
I toss them in to salads, in a stir fry (at the end so they stay raw), right before I serve a soup or into a pasta. I also put them in to smoothies to add some living food and some extra protein!
This is a basic outline on sprouting beans- This article on Better Raw will give you to low-down on how to sprout grains, nuts and seeds as well!