Thursday, August 14, 2014

How I Finally Grew Bean Sprouts

Why I Grew Bean Sprouts

This is +Julia Aspinwall+Sherrill Duce   and +Maggie Unzueta's fault. I don’t remember when, or where, but they are the ones that started it. We were in some online discussion about food. Most likely it was about bacon, ice cream, or some other spiritually enriching sustenance. Somehow that got turned into a conversation about bean sprouts. I remembered growing them in the 70’s. It was easy back then. Put some seeds in a bowl with water and a paper towel. Keep the paper towel damp. In a few days, you’ll have bean sprouts for your salad. So I decided to grow some.

What? No Mung Beans? 

Naturally, I decided to do some research first. I learned that mung beans are the easiest to grow. I also found out that putting them in a paper towel isn't the way it’s done anymore. I needed a bell jar, some sort of mesh, and a rubber band. So I jumped in the car and headed to the grocery store. But they didn't have mung beans. Not even in the organic section. But the clerk said the “Health Food Store” had some. So I went there.

More Than Steak

That’s how I would describe it. They didn't have mung seeds. They didn't have alfalfa. All they had was Organic Sandwich Sprout Seeds. They were $17.40 a pound. They were more than steak. I figured they must have been the same ones that Jack used when he grew his beanstalk. So I bought them.

The First Batch

Well, they didn't come out so good. As a matter of fact, it was terrible. I used a bell jar, a mesh top made of gauze, and a rubber band. I washed the seeds. I rinsed them twice a day. After a week I had about 15 sprouts. So I tried again and got the same results. So I sent an email to the Starwest Botanicals, the company that packaged them. Let me just tell you this first. They are a super company. Although I didn't ask them to, they sent me a new package of seeds.  I was just trying to get some guidance, but they stepped up and did more than I had hoped for. Thanks Starwest.

And Then What Happened?

So, after almost four weeks of experimenting, I think I've figured it out. I can now grow a pretty good batch of sprouts. It’s worked the last three times perfectly. The first 10 times weren't so great. The picture is of the latest batch. The growth is so thick that I will probably cut back on the seeds per batch now.

Here’s What Worked For Me 

The Container I've tried gauze, cloth, wire mesh, and a linen cloth. None of them worked very well for me. I was about to go online and order some lids. I was looking at the size of the drain holes. I noticed they were about the same size as one of the lids on my single serve blender. I knew I would lose some seeds. I decided it didn't matter.

The Seeds

I used the seeds in the second bag that Starwest Botanicals sent me. They call it their “Organic Sandwich Sprouting Seed Mix”. You can find it here. The second bag did make more sprouts. But not as much as I wanted. So I kept working on it. 

Things That Didn't Work

None of these hints and tips worked for me.
  • Putting the container in the sun.. 
  • Putting the container in the dark. 
  • Turning the container upside down to drain. 
  • Leaving the container right side up to keep the seeds wet. 
  • Putting the container in the refrigerator.
  • Putting the container in the closet.

Here’s What Worked 

  • Put a couple of spoon fulls of seeds in the container. 
  • Fill the container half way, rinsing the seeds, and drain. 
  • Immediately fill halfway with water and let it sit for an hour or two. 
  • Drain the container, and lay it in a bowl, tilted. 
  • Put the container in an area that there is plenty of airflow. The reason for this is so that the excess water still drains, and air can circulate. 
  • Once a day fill the container, drain it, and place back in it’s bowl. 
  • After about a week, you should have a full container of sprouts. 
This might seem like a lot of work for a bunch of bean sprouts, but I can tell you that it’s certainly worth it. I've had the sprouts on sandwiches, salads, and as a side by itself. All of them were great.

Extra Credit Reading

About Potato Chip Sandwich

According to some people, men can't tell time, can't follow directions and can't cook. That's simply not true. The owner and author of the site, me..  can cook. This site is simply a way for me to keep up with my recipes without putting it into my other 10 or so blogs. Everything is Google-ized, so it's connected to all my other stuff. This site gets it's name from road trips when I was in my 20's. By the time we would head home all we could afford was a loaf of bread and some potato chips.

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