Do you love adding sprouts to your soups, sandwiches, and salads? This easy food tutorial will show you How to Grow Mung Bean Sprouts!
First of all, what are mung bean sprouts? Sprouts are formed when seeds start to ‘sprout’ into a full vegetable. Mung bean sprouts are… (wait for this)… sprouts from mung beans! They’re a delicious, vegetarian source of plant-based protein. You’ve probably eaten them (or at least seen them) if you’ve eaten Pad Thai or the Vietnamese soup Pho. If you’ve seen an Asian or Asian-inspired recipe that calls for ‘bean sprouts,’ it probably meant mung bean sprouts. These tasty veggies are crunchy, delicious, and incredibly easy to grow at home.
Bean Sprout Safety
When I was growing up, I loved adding bean sprouts to my sandwiches. I’d pile them high, and dig in. I loved the crunchy texture and the delicate flavors. In the late 90s, however, bean sprouts began disappearing from grocery stores. Let’s call this, “The Case of the Disappearing Sprouts.” I searched high and low, near and far– but could NOT find sprouts. Why not?
Sadly, bean sprouts are not always safe to eat, and major grocers pulled them off their shelves (although you can still find them in some international markets or health food stores). What’s the problem? If the seeds aren’t treated correctly, or the sprouts are grown incorrectly, you can end up getting sick and regretting your food choices. However, since I love the flavor, and a lot of meals seem incomplete without them, I wasn’t ready to give up on bean sprouts.
Can you solve all your bean sprout health woes by growing your own sprouts at home? No, because the problem can start with how the seed itself has been treated. That’s why it’s extra important to buy mung beans that are SPECIFICALLY meant for sprouting or eating raw. These seeds will be inspected more carefully with FDA regulations than seeds meant for planting.*
How to Grow Mung Bean Sprouts
To grow mung bean sprouts, you need mung beans, a glass jar, and either a piece of cheesecloth with a rubber band or a sprouting jar lid. Your jar needs to be at least 16 ounces in size. (I use a standard Mason jar.)
Start by sanitizing your glass jar. I do this by putting it in the oven at 225 degrees for at least 20 minutes. Leave the jar in the oven until you’re ready to start. Next, rinse your mung beans. Set the beans in the jar, and add 2-3 times more water than beans. Secure the cheesecloth over the top of your jar with a rubber band (or attach the sprouting jar lid), and set your jar in a dark space at room temperature (like in a cabinet).
Soak the seeds overnight (or for about 8-12 hours), and then drain the water. Rinse the beans, drain all the water out, and store the jar on its side. Rinse the beans twice a day for about 3 days, and then set the sprouted beans (still in the jar) where they can get some sunlight. Leave them in the sun for about one day, and then refrigerate the sprouts and use them up within 3-5 days.
Tips for growing Mung Bean Sprouts
- Once you’ve finished the final rinse, keep your sprouts as dry as possible. Don’t wash them until right before you’re using them, and do not continue to rinse the sprouts each day.
- If you live in a very cold or hot climate, and your home isn’t climate controlled, that will affect the growth time of your sprouts. It may be impossible to grow sprouts in very cold rooms.
- Some sources recommend adding citric acid to your sprouting water to reduce the risk of bacterial growth. I haven’t tried this– but it is an option.
Have you tried growing your own sprouts? Let me know in the comments!
Also Note: I am not a doctor, and nothing here should be taken as medical advice. If your doctor says you shouldn’t eat sprouts because you’re at a higher risk for getting sick (i.e.– if you’re pregnant or have a different medical condition that makes it unsafe), talk to them, not me, before chowing down on these raw plants.
How to Grow Mung Bean Sprouts
Cook time is an estimation of the initial time involved, but does NOT include 4 day sprouting period or rinsing the beans each day. Makes approximately 2 cups of sprouts.
- 1 TB mung beans (whole beans meant for sprouting- check the packaging label)
- 1 glass mason jar, at least 16oz
- cheesecloth + rubber band
Place a clean glass jar in the oven at 225ºF for at 20 minutes. Leave the jar in the warm oven until you're ready to use it.
Sprout Mung Beans:
Rinse beans. Put beans in mason jar, and fill with 2-3 times more cool water than beans (2-3 TB).
Cover jar opening with cheesecloth, and secure with a rubber band. Place jar in a dark, cool space (like a cabinet), and soak beans for 8-12 hours.
Drain beans, rinse, and drain out the water. Store in dark space again. Continue to rinse and drain twice a day for about 3 days, until the sprouts have grown out as long as you like them.
Set beans in daylight for one day without rinsing.
Refrigerate in an airtight container and use within 3-5 days.
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal, and assumes 1/4 cup of sprouts per person.