With the advent of healthy eating surging through homes, you’ve decided you need a steady supply of bean sprouts, but where? Will dry beans sprout?
Bean sprouts are some of the most healthy foods a person can consume, filled with all kinds of antioxidants and vitamins, but the trouble is that not many places carry them. And when they do, the price you pay to put them on your salad is exorbitant. Is it possible for a person to buy dried beans from the store and make them sprout? How hard is it to grow bean sprouts? You remember in elementary school that beans can sprout in a moist paper towel, but is this the same thing? The last thing you want to do is engage in a project like this and not be able to produce enough results to enjoy the fruits of your labors.
The dried beans you purchase from the store can sprout if they are not too old. While certain conditions must be met, using beans from the produce section is best. Most varieties will sprout within a few days to one week if water and light conditions are right.
You would like an endless supply of bean sprouts to use in stir fry and salads and plant in the garden, but where to start? You don’t want to get into something over your head, where you have to spend hours watching over little sprouts and end up tying up all your free time. Your life is complicated enough without having to waste your energy on something that isn’t worth the effort.
Let’s see if we can answer some questions by scouring the Internet and getting advice from sprout growers who have tried their hand at this healthy hobby.
Will Dried Beans Sprout?
The simple answer is yes. Indeed, they can, but only if they are not too old. The best-dried beans are found in the bins of organic produce sections in specialty stores or farmer's markets. The average germination period is between a few days and one or two weeks.
How Do You Get a Dried Bean to Sprout?
You don’t need any kind of particular container for beans to sprout. Most people use a wide jar or bowl covered in a cloth mesh that they can easily store in the fridge. The process for producing sprouts is also pretty basic.
- Soak the dried beans - soaking the legumes in cold water overnight (at least 12 hours) allows the bean to expand as they absorb the water. (You will be amazed at how much larger the beans have grown as they rehydrate)
- Rinse the beans - rinsing them well cleans them from any tiny microbes and nasty little pathogens that might be forming (a strainer works best here. Be sure to give the filter a few good shakes while rinsing). You will want to transfer them to your jar or sprouting container.
- Drain out the Water - simply pour all the excess liquid out of the container and then secure a piece of cheesecloth or mesh to the top. This process allows the beans to breathe. Put the container on the counter or in the fridge.
- Repeat the Rinse and Drain - For the next few days, a couple of times a day, simply rinse and drain. It is always a good idea to thoroughly clean your sprouting container each time to minimize any bacteria or E-coli that might be growing inside the container.
- Enjoy but eat them up - Bean sprouts will form within 3-4 days to a week depending on the bean. Once the sprouts have grown, hand dry them with a paper towel and then store them in the fridge in an airtight container. But use them up within five days because they have a very short shelf life.
What is the Best Dried Bean for Sprouting?
Any bean will sprout under this method, but beginners should work with smaller portions before tackling full productions. Mung beans, Chickpeas, and Lentils are significant first steps, and their versatility allows them to be used in various dishes. It is crucial to get clean beans free of contaminants (organic beans work best). Several organic companies also offer beans for sprouting online. True Leaf Market and SeedsNow.com are excellent online resources for purchasing non-GMO beans.
What Are the Benefits of Growing Dried Bean Sprouts?
Consuming bean sprouts can be an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients. They are filled with Vitamin C, fibers, and proteins that can benefit many health issues.
According to research, bean sprouts can balance cholesterol by lowering the body's LDL “bad cholesterol” levels. Bean sprouts also seem to affect triglycerides, another fatty acid that can contribute to heart attack or plaque buildup in the arteries. This means that bean sprouts help reduce the hardening of the arteries and are a leading cause of congestive heart failure.
Bean sprouts are filled with peptides that help reduce hypertension. Excessive blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke, so food that can help lower blood pressure levels is good for one’s health.
The high fiber content in bean sprouts lends itself to the needs of the human digestive tract. High fiber diets have been known to increase and soften stools, preventing individuals from being constipated or irritating their colon by promoting better bowel health.
Bean Sprouts are Antioxidant Bombs
The high concentration of antioxidants and vitamins means that bean sprouts can help fight off disease, improve the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, and improve general health. Most dieticians recommend a daily intake of vegetables and starches to provide for the body's nutritional needs every day. Antioxidants have been shown to slow the growth of cancer cells.
Don't Forget the Eyes
Are there Risks to Growing Dried Bean Sprouts?
There are always risks when cultivating any kind of plant, but bean sprouts have a susceptibility to be the direct cause of outbreaks of E-coli and Salmonella. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dieticians consuming uncooked or lightly cooked bean sprouts is not recommended for high-risk individuals, pregnant mothers, or children. The symptoms of E-coli and Salmonella can be pretty severe, ranging from nausea to diarrhea and, in some rare cases, even death. Fortunately, cooking bean sprouts eliminates the most harmful bacteria for those high-risk individuals who consume them.
Contrary to popular belief, growing your sprouts at home does not make them any safer than buying sprouts from the store. Care should be taken when growing bean sprouts to minimize the potential for sickness when consuming.
How Can I Tell If My Sprouts are Still Good?
Most sprouts won’t last long in the fridge and should be consumed or used within days of harvesting. Do not consume rancid bean sprouts or anything that has an order, appears slimy, or is covered with a film-like substance. Because sprouts are grown in humid environments, they are susceptible to the growth of bacteria. Symptoms of food poisoning occur 30 minutes to 8 hours after ingesting. Cramps, vomiting, loose stool, and diarrhea are the most common symptoms of a foodborne illness. A qualified physician or emergency room should treat severe or lingering effects.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker