I’m a frustrated gardener. I’ve tried growing cilantro many years ago but no matter what I do, they always die after they flourish for a few days. I’ve tried my luck again last year with other herbs and it seems that having a green thumb has been given to a chosen few like my brother John. Because of that, I did something that I’ve done during my elementary days - sprouting. If you can spare 5 minutes of your time every single day, anyone can sprout. For me, the easiest legume to sprout is the ever popular mung bean. They are easy to handle and they don’t impart an odor during the sprouting process compared with other legumes. The key here is to wash them twice a day so they stay fresh and clean. Then, allow them to drain to remove the excess water so they don’t rot.
Sprouting is normally done in a jar secured with a cheesecloth but for half a cup of mung beans, I prefer to sprout them on a large strainer place over a large bowl. This way, the beans will have enough room to grow. My mung bean sprouts are not as fat and juicy. But my sister prefers mine compared to the ones bought in the supermarket.
So, what happens when you sprout a dormant seed? During sprouting, the powerful enzymes from dormant seeds are released. They spring to life and become edible. The activity of enzymes increases dramatically, converting starch into natural sugars, protein into amino acids and fats into fatty acids. They are predigested making it easy for the body to digest and absorb. The nutrients (vitamins and minerals) enhance in quantity at least 6-20 times more, depending upon the specific plant.
To grow your own mung bean sprouts at home, you need a large bowl, a large strainer, clean water, some mung beans and a towel.
- Rinse the mung beans well. Place in a large bowl and cover with clean water. I also add a drop of liquid mineral. Cover the bowl and leave overnight in a warm, dark place for about 8-10 hours.
- Rinse seeds the next day with fresh water. Drain through a large strainer. Place the strainer along with the seeds over a large bowl to catch any drippings of water. Do these twice a day until seeds start to sprout. Cover with cloth. Return the bowl in a warm, dark place. I usually put a weight (such as a bag of beans) on top to allow the sprout to grow under pressure which will result in a juicier and fattier sprout.
- After 3-4 days, place them on a sunny windowsill for a few hours to get an energy boost. You will notice that the sprouts will develop leaves. When you expose them to sunshine they turn green and you'll have a fresh source of chlorophyll which is renowed for its cleansing, anti-inflammtory and rejuvenating properties. After a few hours, they are ready to use in stir-fries, soups or salads.
The skin from the mung bean will just fall off automatically. But if you want to completely remove them, place the sprouts in a large bowl with cold water. Scoop out the skins and discard, although some of them will sink to the bottom. Then transfer the sprouts to a colander to drain. Store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. Use the sprouts within 3 days, maximum. Remove the root ends of each sprout, if desired.