Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bean Sprouts: 101

Cheap Eat Challenge: Watch as our family of 6 tries to eat on $6/day while consuming chocolate and produce.

I've never sprouted beans before. I expect this has something to do with the fact that I've spent 3 of the last several years pregnant, and you're not supposed to eat sprouts when you're pregnant. Why? The by-the-book reason is that sprouts are sprouted in moist environments (as indeed they must be to, you know, sprout) and that there is no way to effectively wash them without destroying them. Thus, sprouts (and especially those sold at stores) have a higher risk of carrying harmful bacteria, which pregnant women are famous for being susceptible to. They are also famous for being susceptible to pregnancy advice--however unhelpful or over the top--which will surely be doled out by every well-meaning or gain-seeking person from every quadrant of the universe until said pregnant woman is safely back in her skinny jeans.

Of course, we all know that the real reason pregnant women are told not to eat sprouts is because the food industry would much rather you eat Rice Krispy treats and Twinkies. These foods, as we all know, pose no health risks whatsoever to pregnant women. Or to anybody else. Unless of course, you ever plan to fit back into your skinny jeans. Ever. [Note: I'm not saying pregnant women necessarily should eat sprouts. I'm merely saying that the guidelines on health dangers are always a little sketchy and inconsistent.]

My skinny jeans have been on my mind more than on my behind due to the fact that they fit--shall we say--a bit snugly still. Thus, things like sprouts have begun to enter my mind, and I determined to give them a solid, bacteria-free try. I watched several you-tube videos on the art of sprouting. And I determined that my photography isn't really so bad after all. One of the videos was so wobbly that I had to turn it off because it was starting to make me motion sick and I didn't want to hurl on my keyboard. But I got the jist of things.

And, for the record, if you sprout in your own home with clean hands and a clean jar, I think you'd be really hard pressed to give yourself any harmful bacteria at all.

Why sprouts? Check out the links here and here.

Still worried about bacteria? You can always cook your sprouts. They're good in stir-fries and wraps.

Bean Sprouts: 101
Prep time: 1 minute a day
Wait time: 2-3 days
Cost: $.42 for about 1/4 C dry beans

1/4 C mung beans (or alfalfa or radish or whatever the heck you wish to sprout)
water to cover it, plus a few inches

You'll also need:
-a jar at least 6 times as tall as the dry beans
-something with which to strain the water--I used a strainer, but they sell special lids you can just screw onto your mason jar and use to strain your water
-a few coffee filters (if you don't have the special strainer lid)

1. Make sure your jar and hands are clean. (As if you don't do that anyway.)
2. Put the beans in the jar.
3. Cover the beans with water that is several inches over the top of the beans.
4. Put a coffee filter or some other breathable lid on your beans.

5. Let these sit for 8-12 hours. I let mine sit over night.
6. Take the coffee filter off and strain them with your fancy strainer lid or with a clean strainer. 
7. Put the coffee filter back on and lay the jar on its side in a darkish corner of the counter. 
8. Every 12 hours or so, rinse the beans and strain them. So you're going to run water on them, whoosh it around, drain the water, put a coffee filter on, and set it back on its side in its darkish corner. 
9. Do this for 2-3 days and you'll have sprouts. 

10. Put a lid on your jar and store your sprouts in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Use them on sandwiches or salads.

1 comment:

  1. I did not know you could grow your own! And your salad looks so pretty!



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