DIY Bean Sprouts

I grew up in a house of sprouts. I think it's because we were always trying to be frugal and local. So in wintertime instead of buying imported lettuce and other greens, we'd make alfalfa sprouts, radish sprouts, mustard sprouts, bean sprouts, and so on. My mom put alfalfa sprouts on my sandwiches instead of lettuce and kids at school called them "worms" and pretended to be grossed out. Whatever.

I think one of our initial sprouting methods was to use mason jars with special strainer lids screwed on. The lids had larger or smaller holes depending on what type of sprouts you were making (bean sprouts took large holes, alfalfa sprouts needed very small holes). You just put a tablespoon or so of seeds in the jar, screw on the appropriate top, then rinse and drain the seeds for up to a week until you have a jarful of sprouts.

Next we got a 3-level Biosta sprouter. It had green plastic trays and you poured water in the top tray and it trickled down each level to a collector tray at the bottom. You could have 3 types of sprouts going at once. I took the thing to college with me and it was great, but it eventually got old and cracked. After that I got used to buying sprouts (or, for sandwiches, lettuce) at the store again.

That is, until 2 weeks ago, when I decided to make my own Pad Thai. I found some recipes and assembled most of the ingredients, but I could NOT find a bag of bean sprouts at our store. No problem, I thought. I will simply buy bulk mung beans and sprout my own.

It was an uncontrolled experiment. My hypothesis: I can grow bean sprouts with no special equipment besides a mason jar. Not even some cheesecloth tied around the mouth of the jar--I decided to just go commando and let the sprouts fall where they may.

My method was to rinse the beans in the morning and in the evening--basically keeping them constantly moist. To strain, I just placed my hand over the mouth of the jar and let the water run out through my fingers. I didn't lose many beans this way. I kept the jar on its side right next to my sink--where I could see and remember it. Here is the progression.

Day 1:

Day 3. You can shake the beans around in the jar after rinsing so they're spread out--but not falling out the open front of the jar.

Day 6:

Day 7. I probably would have let these keep growing another couple days so the sprout parts were over an inch long. But Pad Thai day had come and these babies were called into service. Yum.

1 comment:

Jens said...

I like your commando sprout system. I ended up using a slotted/mesh spoon for deep frying and some rubber bands around a tall glass. So far, Mung bean sprouts (which scare off anyone nearby once they go from sprout to small plant) and some sprouted lentils which will draw the same reaction when suggested as part of breakfast.