Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sprouting Mung Beans

I'm a huge fan of sprouting and have been on a mung bean kick recently.  When I first started sprouting, I followed the method that was most recommended on the internet:

Method 1 (soil-less)
Soak a handful of beans in water overnight
Next day rinse the beans, drain well and cover lightly (want some air to circulate through)
Repeat step 2 every day (once a day) until the sprouts are long enough to eat (~3 days)

This method was fine and made perfectly edible sprouts.  I liked sauteeing them alone or adding them to fried rice or other dishes.  Recently though, I was researching how to sprout sunflower seeds and saw that a few videos recommended growing them in soil.  Not being able to find sunflower seeds so far, I decided to try out the soil method with my mung beans (see picture above).

Method 2 (soil)
Soak a handful of beans in water overnight
Next day, rinse and press into a container filled with a thin layer of wet potting mix.  Cover with a piece of plastic wrap for 1-2 days.  Every day, check to make sure the potting soil is still quite damp.  Water as needed and remove the plastic wrap when the mung beans start to push against it.  

Soil-grown sprout vs soil-free sprout

Comparing the two methods, I felt that the soil-grown sprout (top) had a fatter stem than the soil-less sprout and were more similar to the mung bean sprouts you find in stores. At the same time, the soil-grown sprout was more of a pain to harvest.  Whereas the soil-less sprouts were ready to be cooked with no additional prep, the soil-grown sprouts had to be either pulled or cut from the soil and then washed.  If pulled, the washing took more time because the soil clung to the roots, but cutting was more laborious since the sprouts didn't all grow at the same rate and I kind of end up cutting each one individually.  So far, I've been cutting the tallest sprouts and leaving the rest to continue growing.  I like the fatness of the soil-grown sprouts, but will probably split my efforts between both methods of sprouting because of the ease of the soil-less method.  Note, I used the lids of strawberry containers for my soil-grown sprouts, but I might try to find deeper containers and see how that goes.

After sprouting, I toss the soil into the compost bin and start anew.  You might notice that the soil-free sprout looks a little greenish but the other does not.  I think that's because I was growing the soil sprouts in my laundry closet and the soil-free sprouts were on my kitchen counter and got a little light.

Plate of soil-grown sprouts after washing
Sprouts are supposed to be very good for you, but I confess I do this mostly for the fun of it.  At any given moment you can find something soaking, sprouting or fermenting on my kitchen table.  Science spills over into the home I guess!


  1. oh wow those totally look store bought!

  2. i wish, they're still smaller than the store ones. but i think they must use a lot of fertilizer or something to make the store ones grow that big...