Bean sprouts are a nutritious addition to your diet. They're healthy and flavourful in salads, stir-fry dishes and other recipes. You can grow sprouts in winter, or if you don't have room for a traditional garden. There is no need for expensive sprouting equipment, as homemade bean sprouters work just as well as commercial ones. When it comes to sprouting beans, it is more about using the proper method than fancy equipment.
Mung and garbanzo are just two of the bean varieties used in sprouting. Purchase sprouting seeds labelled as such, as garden seeds may be treated with fungicides or other chemicals that shouldn't be consumed. Sprouting beans aren't treated, so they have no toxins. Using dried beans from the grocery store is also acceptable, as these have not been treated either. Health food stores also carry sprouting seeds and beans and may have a larger variety than grocery stores.
The simplest bean sprouter consists of a jar with a mesh lid. The mesh lid keeps the sprouting seeds in the jar during the rinsing and draining process necessary for sprouting. A one-quart canning jar is suitable for bean sprouts, which are thicker and longer than some other seed sprouts. Other suitable jars include mayonnaise and large sauce jars. Use a canning lid ring and a square of mesh screening material for the lid, or secure the mesh to the jar with a rubber band if canning rings aren't available. Plastic mesh is a suitable replacement for metal mesh screening.
Clean the beans before proceeding. Pour a quarter cup of beans into a bowl and remove any broken or shrivelled beans, as these will not sprout. Fill a one-quart jar with warm tap water and place the cleaned seeds inside. Allow the seeds to soak overnight. Presoaking speeds up the sprouting process by weakening the seed coat and breaking the seed's dormancy period. Pre-soaked seeds are more likely to sprout.
Drain the water from the pre-soaked bean seeds. Place the mesh over the jar opening and secure with the canning ring or a rubber band. Fill the jar with warm water three times a day, then pour it out through the mesh lid. Too much water may cause seeds to rot instead of sprout, so store the jar angled downward in a bowl. This keeps excess water from draining into the bowl. Keep the jar in a dark cabinet as light may inhibit the germination process. Beans sprouts are ready to eat after approximately five days of rinsing and draining, or when they are one to two inches long.
Place the sprouts in a sunny window for a day if you would like them to be green instead of white. Fill the jar with water and remove the mesh lid. Scoop off any seed hulls that float to the surface of the water and dispose of them. Place the lid back on the jar and drain out the water. Spread the sprouts out on a towel and remove any remaining seed hulls if desired, then pat the sprouts dry. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.