Indoor gardening – Growing you own bean sprouts

I like to have as many fresh vegetables as possible in the winter. I grow my own greens on the windowsill and several over cool weather crops in the cold frames or hot bed.

I also enjoy growing sprouts for snacks and salads. Spouts are very easy to grow and are full of nutrients.

You can grow various kinds of sprouts and they can be used raw or cooked. Below is a list of beans you can use.

To grow sprouts select the seeds of your choice. You can grow a single type of seed or mix several seed varieties together.

Select an airtight container and gently place the seeds inside. Fill the jar with warm water up to two-thirds of the level of the jar. Use muslin or cheese cloth to cover the container. Tighten the container with a rubber band or an elastic ring.

Soak the seeds for a minimum 12 hours. Carefully drain the water from the jar. You don’t want to damage the seeds so do this step slowly.

Fill in the container again with normal temperature water. Shake the container three to four times. Rinse the seeds twice in a day.

Drain the water and replace with fresh water and repeat the process. A dark corner of a room is an ideal place to store your seeds while they are sprouting and 70 degrees is a good temperature.

It may take 48 hours for the sprouting process to be complete. When they have reached the desired sprouting stage drain the water off and rinse. I let them dry off a little on a paper towel then put in a jar and store in the refrigerator.

Sprouts will stay fresh for about a week, but I prefer to do smaller batches and use them in a few days. I do about a teaspoon of seeds at a time.

Note: When I drain the water of the sprouts I do not throw it away. I save it and water my indoor plants with it. The water has nutrients in it and the plants benefit from the sprout water.

List of seeds for sprouting

· Generally eaten raw: Alfalfa, clover, cabbage, mung bean radish, sunflower,
· Generally cooked: Kidney, Pinto and other miscellaneous beans.
· Eaten raw or cooked: Lentils, Soybeans, green peas and wheat.

· Alfalfa: Alfalfa, one of the most popular sprouts, is a good source of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, F, and K and is rich in many minerals, as well as many enzymes needed for digestion.
· Radish sprouts are high in vitamin C and potassium and have a rich flavor. These are one of my favorites.
· Wheat is high in Vitamins B, C, and E and has three times the vitamin E of dry wheat. Wheat sprouts also have many minerals.
· Mung Beans: These sprouts should be sprouted under pressure to produce long and juicy sprouts. Mung bean sprouts are an excellent source of protein, vitamin C, A and E, along with many minerals.
· Green Pea sprouts are rich in many of the B vitamins and vitamin C. Green pea sprouts make a great addition to any green salad.
· Soybeans: are an extremely rich source of protein and vitamins A, B, C and E. They are also rich in minerals and lecithin. They can be sprouted under pressure like mung beans.
· Kidney beans, pinto beans and miscellaneous beans: They are a good source of vitamin C, many of the B vitamins and many minerals. When you sprout these beans it changes their indigestible carbohydrates to digestible carbohydrates, which greatly reducing the intestinal gas they otherwise cause.
· Lentils: are rich in protein, vitamin C and B vitamins. They have a mild ground pepper flavor.
· Buckwheat: Makes a great salad green. They are high in vitamins A, B, C and D. These are also one of my favorite sprouts.
· Sunflower: Rich in vitamins B, D, and E, many minerals, and Linoleic Acid.

Tip: If you cook sprouts it is best to steam or stir-fry them. They keep more of the nutrients this way.

Sprouting Mung bean seeds under pressure

To sprout beans under pressure place the soaked beans in a small colander inside another container. Place several layers of burlap over the top of the seeds, then place a 3 three to five pound bag of small stones on top of this. (I use the glass decorative stones)

Water every two or three hours to ensure adequate moisture. This will prevent the root systems from over developing. It is important to keep them in the dark at all times or they will turn bitter and begin to green. When they are 2 to 3 inches long, remove them from the colander and refrigerate.

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