Save Money Sprouting Your Own Beans

How to save money sprout your own beans. They are nutritious and delicious!

With Oriental cooking becoming so popular these days, one of the main ingredients--canned bean sprouts--is a pantry necessity in many homes. But a large can of sprouts can put a dent in your wallet. Fresh are better, but they are even more expensive. So what can you do if stir-fry has become a staple in your menu planning?

Sprout your own mung beans. Or go for variety and try alfalfa seeds, oats, sunflower seeds or garbanzo (chick peas) beans.

High in essential nutrients like the B vitamins and Vitamin C, bean sprouts can be a welcome addition not only to stir-fry dishes, but to salads and sandwiches, too. And they are simple to make. Even the kids may want to lend a hand.

You don't need an expensive commercial "sprouter". In fact, it's more fun to sprout seeds the old-fashioned way. Here's how you can sprout your own beans and seeds and save money in the process.

Use a one- or one-and-a-half quart mixing bowl. I like to use a clear glass bowl so I can watch the progress. Since most sprouts grow to five or six times their original size, place a layer of beans about two beans thick--1/4 to 1/2 inch--at the bottom of the bowl. This will give them plenty of room to sprout. Pour warm (not hot) water over the beans to cover, plus about an additional inch of water.

Cover the bowl with a layer of cheesecloth fastened with a large rubber band around its edge (two layers of fabric netting works well, too.) The sprouts need to breathe during germination, so you must use a fabric which lets air circulate. Since you rinse the beans right through the cloth, an open-weave fabric is the way to go.

Let the bowl containing the beans and water stand overnight, during which time the beans will absorb most of the water and bulk up to about twice their original size.

The next morning, drain the beans by inverting the bowl over the sink, then rinse them in tepid water--right through the cheesecloth. Keeping them moist, but not in standing water, place the bowl in a warm, dark place (a kitchen cabinet will do) and be sure to keep them moist by rinsing them several times during the day. A room temperature of about 70 degrees F. seems optimal for growing sprouts.

Continue this procedure for about three or four days until the sprouts are tender and have grown to the desired size. Be sure to rinse the sprouts before using them. If you don't use them right away, they will stay fresh in the produce drawer of your refrigerator for several days.

If you plan your meal menus ahead, be sure to plan when to start sprouting your next batch of sprouts three or four days in advance. That way, you'll have a fresh batch of these tender edibles when you need them.

The nutritional value of fresh bean sprouts is excellent. They're simple to grow. They save you money. And they taste good.

What more could you ask of such a simple procedure?

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