Since beginning my WFPB – no oil journey, one of the best things I learned to do was how to sprout beans and seeds to add to my meals. They have become a staple in my diet. They not only add crunchy texture to my salad, soups and sandwiches, but are fun to grow, delicious and healthy.
When you think of sprouting beans or hear the word, bean sprouts you may think of elementary school science experiments when you placed beans in bowls with water to watch and learn how they grew. Or if you lived through the 1960’s you may be reminded of hippie culture. :-) Real Groovy!
If either of these is true for you, it is time to get these thoughts and images out of your mind. I love the crunchy texture “sprouts” add to my meals. I eat them by the handful. I even like them better than the Energy Balls I make.
What are the Benefits of Sprouting Beans and Seeds?
Sprouting beans and seeds is one of the easiest WFPB foods you can eat and grow right on your kitchen counter with no special equipment or a lot of space needed.
Sprouting beans, seeds and even grains like wheatberries have nutritional benefits and makes the beans much easier to digest by breaking down the problem causing substances beans can sometimes do some digestive systems.
I can’t imagine a day going by without eating sprouts as a snack, on a salad or used in a recipe. They have become one of my favorite foods. When eating as a snack they have the crunch of nuts, but without the fat and calories.
If you have never sprouted beans or seeds before and want to give it a try, I would start with mung beans, whole green peas or lentils. These sprout fast and I think taste the best.
How to: The Bean Sprouting Process
All you need to start sprouting beans is a clean jar or bowl.
A sprouting lid for the jar or a breathable cloth secured over the jar or bowl with a rubber band. You will also need the dried beans or seeds.
How to Sprout Beans and Seeds in Your Kitchen Without Any Fancy Equipment
- Soak your Beans or Seeds
Different seeds will soak up different amounts of water, but just make sure the beans are covered with water while they are in the soaking stage.
Rinse the beans first in a colander or strainer to remove any debris. Once throughly rinsed, place the beans in a clean Mason jar and then cover with cool water. You can leave the bowl/jar open or you can cover it with either a sprouter lid on top of the jar or a piece of breathable fabric (like cheesecloth or muslin) secured with a rubber band.
Let the beans/seeds soak overnight or for 8-12 hours.
- Drain and Rinse the Beans
Once the soaking time is up, you need to drain the beans. If you have a sprouter lid on the jar, just tip the whole jar in the sink and let the water flow out.
If you used the cloth method, remove the rubber band and cloth, and pour the beans into a strainer or colander to drain.
Then add more fresh, cool water to the jar, swirl it around a little bit, and rinse out that water. Make sure to remove all the water that you can. Give the jar a gentle shake if needed to remove any excess water.
- Prop Upside Down in a Bowl
Once the sprouts are rinsed, rotate the jar so the seeds spread out inside the jar. Next – prop the jar, upside-down, in a bowl or tray.
- Cover and Place in a Dark Room
Cover with a towel and set in a dark room or simply covered loosely with a cloth on your kitchen counter as you want to allow airflow to get to them.
- Drain, Rinse & Repeat
When sprouting beans and seeds you need to drain and rinse them a few times a day. Simply drain the water from the jar, fill it back up with clean water, swirl it around, drain again and then prop up in your tray or bowl again and loosely cover.
For most beans and seeds you will start to see the white sprouts showing up in a day or two. Keep repeating the process of rinsing and draining until you get the length of sprout you want. I like mine about 1/4″ – 1/2″ but let them grow longer up to 1-1/2″ if you want.
- Place On Towel Covered Plate
When you like the length of the sprouts, rinse and drain them one more time and pour the sprouts onto a clean, absorbent kitchen towel lining a dinner plate. If they are very wet, gently pat them dry with a clean towel.
Spread them all out onto one layer and let them air dry for about an hour in a sunny window before storing in the refrigerator.
- Store in Refrigerator
I store my sprouts in clean mason jars with a lid. I place a piece of paper towel in the bottom and place the sprouts in.
Store in the refrigerator for up a week.
Below are broccoli sprouts that have been stored in the fridge. If you see moisture building up in the container, replace the paper towel and place back in fridge.
- Add to Salads, Soups, Sandwiches and More
You can now use your sprouts to add crunch and protein to a salad, as a topping for a bowl of soup. As a layer in sandwiches and wraps or mixed into just about anything.
What Beans and Seeds Can I Sprout?
You can sprout almost any bean or seed. Mung beans, chickpeas, peas, even onion sprouting seeds are just a few.
Do not sprout kidney, lima, or broad beans. These beans have a toxin in them and need to be cooked.
Do I Need to Use Organic Sprouting Beans or Seeds?
You can use any dried bean from your local grocery store and they will sprout, but there are a few reasons that organic beans and seeds are better to use.
“Sprouting seeds” are all tested and verified to be free of e.coli and salmonella. Growers of “sprouting-specific” seeds make sure their beans and seeds have no harmful bacteria that can thrive in the sprouting environment.
Manufacturers that sell basic bags of dried beans bought at the grocery store figure you are going to boil them—which would kill any pathogens so they may not be the best to eat raw.
Where Do I Buy Organic Sprouting Beans and Seeds?
How to Sprout Beans and Seeds
- Wide mouth Mason jars with sprouting lids or any glass jar and a piece of cheesecloth and a rubber band
- 1 cup dried beans – mung, chickpeas, black beans, green peas or any bean except kidney, lima, and broad beans. These beans have a toxin in them and need to be cooked. if sprouting seeds, only use a 1/2 cup
- CLEAN: Place the beans in a colander and rinse them well to remove small debris and damaged beans. Rinse under cool running water.
- SOAK: Place beans in a Mason jar or bowl and cover with cool water. The water should be a few inches above the beans or seeds as they will expand. If you see them expanding past the water level, add more water. Let them soak overnight or for at least 8-12 hours.
- RINSE: Rinse the beans well with cool tap water until the water runs clear.
- DRAIN: If using a sprouting lid, turn the jar upside down to drain the water from the jar. Then roll the jar around to spread out the beans within the jar. Once they are spread out in the jar, prop the jar upside down at an angle in a bowl. This will allow excess water to drip out.
- Cover the bowl and jar with a clean dishtowel and place in a dark area like inside a cabinet or a dark room. I place mine in a dark powder room near my kitchen.
- REPEAT: About 2 – 3 times a day, rinse and drain the sprouts again. Continue this process until your sprouts have reached the length you prefer. This can be anywhere between 1/4" – 1-1/2" long and take 1 – 3 days.
- Some beans take longer than others. Mung beans sprout very fast.
- Optional: Once your sprouts have sprouted to the length you want, you can pour them out on an absorbent towel covered plate and place near a sunny window so they develop some chlorophyll. I do this for a few hours.
- How To Store Sprouted Beans & Seeds: Place the sprouts in a jar with a piece of paper towel on the bottom to absorb moisture and secure the lid to keep them airtight. They need to be refrigerated and will last about 3 – 5 days in the fridge.
Are Raw Sprouted Beans and Seeds Safe to Eat?
If you remember your classroom bean sprouting experiments when you were a kid in school, you may remember that earthy moldy smell. :-)
When you buy sprouts from the grocery store, there is a chance that they could be moldy. You want to avoid these as they can make you sick. The reason they get moldy is the warm and humid environment where they grow. It is a climate for bacteria to breed.
In large-scale commercial sprouting farms, it’s hard to keep this from happening. When you buy them you may not know how old they are or the origins of the beans/seeds themselves. This is not so when you sprout your own beans and seeds.
When you sprout at home, the chance of getting ill when eating sprouts goes down immensely since you control the environment, the beans/seeds you use, how clean your jars are, and how many times a day you rinse them.
I have been sprouting for a year now and have never had a problem. If you want to be sure, use your nose. If they smell off, then don’t eat them. Again, I have not had this problem as I eat them in a few days time, they never sit around long.