A friend asked me this morning about how to sprout beans, and I figured I’d post it today – it’s easiest to get the quick topics out of the way so I don’t have to keep them on my mind!
First of all, a quick reminder about why sprouting beans is beneficial. Beans, like most grains, nuts, and seeds, have phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors in them. That means that even though we think of beans as highly nutritious, we don’t utilize a good part of the nutrients in them unless they are properly prepared. Beans are inexpensive and great budget stretchers, and it’s worthwhile to figure out how to use them to maximize their value.
Fortunately, it’s not hard! Simply put the dried beans in a bowl, and cover them with water that is room temperature. Let them sit overnight, and in the morning, pour them into a strainer and rinse them off. The beans will have absorbed all the water, and are ready to be used. But if you really want to supercharge them, them you can sprout them! This significantly increases the nutritional value. That’s what I like to do.
Now that they’re soaked, put set them back in the original bowl and leave them on the counter. At the end of the day, rinse them. I rinse mine twice a day by pouring them into a strainer, running some water over them, and then putting them back into the bowl. For simplicity, I rinse them once at night and once in the morning; it works well with my personal routine. Twice a day seems to be a good frequency to rinse them, but I’ve often been lazy and just rinsed them once a day and they were fine. To clarify, after you rinse them, leave them in an empty bowl, not a bowl of water.
As they sit on the counter at room temperature, the soaked beans will begin to germinate. Smaller legumes will sprout faster – within a day or two you’ll see little sprouts appearing at the end. Larger beans take longer- generally 3 – 4 day, but it really depends on your household temperature. In the summer, the beans sprout really fast! How long you let them get depends on your personal preference. If you want to use them as sprouts in salads, then you’ll want to wait a lot longer. I use them in cooked dishes once I see the sprout emerging.
Soaking and sprouting isn’t hard to do, but it does require advance planning. I plan my weekly menu on Saturday nights, and then on Sunday I begin soaking my beans for the week. If you’ve been reading here for a while, then you’ve noticed that when I post my weekly menu on Sundays, I usually post the preparatory work that I’m doing for the week, too, including soaking beans. Since large beans take longer to sprout, I generally plan them for later in the week.
What is you’ve soaked your beans and let them sit out for a day but they aren’t yet sprouted – and you need to use them? Even if you don’t see the germination taking place, it’s still in the process and you’ll enjoy the benefits, so go ahead and use them!
By the way, lots of jokes have been made about beans and their flatulatory (did I just make that word up? :)) effect on the body. We’ve found that soaking and sprouting the beans takes away that issue!
(This post is part of Fight Back Fridays.)