I’ve been in DIY mode recently so I thought I’d share this simple guide on how to grow mung bean sprouts at home.
It’s a lot easier than you think and mung bean sprouts are very nutritious, with good levels of Vitamins K, C and folate.
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Why Grow Bean Sprouts?
It is not clear how much food supply chains have been affected in 2020. It’s still too early to tell. But with China and India hoarding grains and food exports, we should expect some disruption.
So, it makes sense to think about food sustainability, right?
Think about what you can grow on your own so you don’t have to rely on the supermarket or the farmer’s market as much.
I did a mega post on 100 ways to reduce food waste a while back. There, I talked about saving your seeds, starting up a kitchen garden, and re-growing produce like pak choi, lettuce and chives. There are so many ways you can reduce food waste and have a relatively stable and sustainable food supply – especially for produce.
Do you know what else is on the list? Sprouting seeds – like mung beans!
You can use this guide to sprout other seeds too like lentils and chickpeas. The concepts are generally the same.
How to Grow Mung Bean Sprouts
Step 1: Get organic mung beans
The first step is to get fresh, organic green mung beans. Banyan Botanicals has a good one, you can find it on Amazon.
Step 2: Decide on the amount
How much bean sprouts do you want?
Do you have a list of recipes to use them in?
What amounts do the recipes ask for?
Having an idea of the amount of sprouts you want will inform the amount of beans you start with.
Personally, I don’t like sprouting in large batches. I mean the sprouts stay well in the fridge; but I’m finicky about the potential for bacterial growth in the sprouts.
So, a third cup of mung beans is the maximum amount I sprout at a time. That can yield about five cups of densely packed sprouts.
Roughly speaking, two tablespoons of mung beans will grow into enough sprouts for a meal for two. Hopefully that will give you a good gauge on the amounts you want to start sprouting.
Step 3: Check the beans
Like other pulses, you may find odd bits, tiny pebbles, grit, ill-formed and split beans. Remove them all. You don’t want any of that.
Step 4: Wash the mung beans
Add water to your green mung beans. If any float, skim them off the top. Those beans are no good. They are unlikely to sprout and may actually cause their neighbor beans to go bad. You don’t need them!
Wash and rinse the mung beans a few times to make sure they are clean.
Step 5: Soak
Place the washed beans in a CLEAN bowl and cover with clean, drinkable water.
For a third cup of mung beans, I usually add half a cup of water at the beginning. After six hours, the beans absorb most of the water. Then I add another half cup of water and leave them til the next day.
The beans should soak anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. The longer the beans soak, the faster the sprouts will grow.
Can you see some of them started sprouting here?
Step 6: Drain and rinse
After the soaking time, drain any excess water and wash the beans thoroughly.
Most of them would be triple their original size. Remove any beans that stayed the same small size. Like the floating beans before, they could affect their neighboring sprouts.
Rinse the beans a few times.
Step 7: Set up and cover
There are sprouting jars with strainer lids available on Amazon.
Natural Roots also has a stainless steel sprouting tray that is stackable.
I add the beans to a CLEAN colander with a metal bowl underneath to catch any water that drains through. The colander makes rinsing and adding water to the sprouts very easy and the bowl prevents any mess.
A simple cotton cloth works as a cover for me. But I recommend using a black cloth to block the light as much as possible… or just use multiple cloths to cover the seeds.
Place your set up in a warm dark spot in your kitchen away from any critters like ants or fruit flies.
Step 8: Add water occasionally
The hard work is now over.
All you have to do now, is add water to the sprouts as they grow. They need water to thrive, but you don’t need to overwater.
Because water also breeds bacteria. So, you don’t want your surfaces and sprouts to be oversaturated. They should drain properly. That’s why I don’t like using paper towels underneath the seeds. It’s not necessary. The sprouts will grow regardless and they will be less likely to develop bacterial films, black spots and mold.
So, it’s ok if your sprouts are a little on the dry side. Yes, they’ll be a little thinner than the store-bought sprouts; but they won’t develop any bad odors.
I add water every four to six hours. Sometimes, it’ll be longer. There is no absolute rule for this. The sprouts will survive if you forget to water it for a couple hours.
Here are the sprouts on day 3 (after 24 hours of soaking, and 24 hours in the colander).
And here’s everything on day 4 (they’re a little red because I left a bright light on close to it. That’s why I suggest using a black cloth instead).
Step 9: Harvest
By the fourth day, you can start harvesting the longer sprouts. Or you can wait a day or two more for the long, lovely sprouts.
That’s it! You now know how to grow mung bean sprouts at home. Actually, now you know how to grow bean sprouts of any type at home – try lentils too!
Step 10: Serve or Store
You can use the sprouts immediately.
Simply wash them with warm water and blanch them in hot water for 15 to 20 seconds. Remove and add them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Serve them as a side dish or mix into your soups, noodles, and other Asian inspired dishes.
Save the sprouts for later too.
Remove from the colander and give them a rinse with warm water, especially their roots. Pat dry with a kitchen towel and store in an airtight container in the kitchen. I try to use the sprouts within 3 days.
If I still have extras after that, I blanch them as I mentioned. After they’ve cooled down, I pop them in the freezer and try to use them within a week or two.
Tips on How to Grow Mung Bean Sprouts at Home
Microbial growth can be a problem when growing mung bean sprouts at home. So, it is very important to minimize and mitigate against out of control microbial growth.
For starters, use clean equipment. Use clean utensils to measure the beans; a clean bowl when soaking them and a clean colander or sprouting jar.
Next, be sure you use safe, potable drinking water when soaking the beans, rinsing them and watering the sprouts. If your tap water is not safe, use filtered and boiled water.
Your sprouting jar or colander should not accumulate water. If the sprouts and their roots sit in water for hours at a time, you may see specks of black growth on the tiny sprouts (they’ll begin to smell). That’s why it is important to let the water drain properly and empty the bowl under the colander (the roots can be really long by the third day!).
If there are lots of black specks, you may want to discard the sprouts and start over with a smaller batch. I’ve chucked some in the garden before – I won’t risk getting food poisoning and neither should you.
Try Small Batches
Starting with a small batch – maybe two tablespoons of the seeds – is great for beginners. In that way, the sprouts will be well spaced out and you’ll quickly notice any discoloring or odor.
Oh and be sure to use organic seeds too!
That’s it! Have you ever tried to sprout mung beans at home? I’d love to hear about it and any tips you have!
Here’s a quick video pin to sum up everything.