Growing Bean Sprouts

Thai Fried Rice featuring Mung Bean Sprouts made in a jar at home

Thai Fried Rice with Bean Sprouts made in a jar at home

This past winter, I decided to try growing my own bean sprouts. I read that they are packed full of vitamins, protein, enzymes, minerals, and fiber, as well as easy to digest and low in calories. The bean sprouts in the grocery stores never look very fresh, but luckily, they are easy to grow right at home without fancy equipment.

I purchased seeds from a local garden store called The Bruce Company. The brand is Botanical Interests and they are listed as Mung Bean Sprouts, Vigna radiate (Phaseolus aureus), for $3.49. Other seed companies such as Burpee appear to offer these as well. You can also find other types of sprout seeds, such as a Sandwich Mix containing alfalfa, red clover, and radish.

Here are the steps that I took to grow my own bean sprouts. I wanted to provide this illustration so that others can get a sense of the general process. However, please consult your seed packet for more details on the process, as I am not an expert and modifying any of the steps could affect the results.

Step 1: Disinfect the seeds.
a.Place 1 1/2 Tablespoons of bean sprout seeds into a measuring cup, removing any broken or bad-looking seeds. Add 1 cup of hot tap water and then 1 teaspoon of bleach. Let sit for 15 minutes.
Step 1a

Step 1a

b. Rinse the bleach off the seeds well.
Step 1b

Step 1b

Step 2: Soak the seeds.
Place the seeds in a quart jar with about 2-3 times more water than seeds. Let sit for 8 hours out of direct sunlight. After the soaking time, rinse the seeds (see step 3 below).
Step 2

Step 2

Step 3: Rinse the seeds every 8 to 12 hours with cool water. Twice a day (e.g. 7 am and 7 pm) works fine for me. After rinsing, drain out the water. You can hold a strainer or fasten cheesecloth to the jar while draining to keep the seeds in the jar. Prop the quart jar up at an angle with a towel so additional water can drain out. Make sure there isn’t water sitting in the jar. Then cover with a cloth to keep the seeds out of light.
Step 3

Step 3

Step 4: When the sprouts are an inch long (around day 5), they are ready to be harvested. Pour into a bowl of water and swish to allow some of the green seed coatings to loosen and come off. Pull out the seed coverings that come off (it’s ok if they don’t come off, you can eat them) and drain off the water.
Step 4

Step 4

You can store the sprouts in a container in the refrigerator, however they do not last long. When refrigerating, make sure they are not too wet. Rinse and drain them once a day to help keep them fresh a little longer.

I try to make a recipe right when I’m harvesting them so they are at their freshest. Here is one of my favorite recipes (ingredient amounts are approximate so adjust as needed).

Thai Fried Rice

2 eggs
2 Tblsp. safflower oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 c. leftover cooked brown rice
1 c. grated carrots
1 c. bean sprouts
1 Tblsp. fish sauce
1 Tblsp. soy sauce
1 c. fresh basil, torn into small pieces
1 c. fresh cilantro, torn into small pieces

1. In a large skillet, scramble eggs and cook through, breaking in small pieces. Set prepared eggs aside.
2. In the same skillet, warm oil over medium heat. Add garlic and rice and toss to coat.
3. Add prepared eggs, carrots, and bean sprouts and toss together for a few minutes.
4. Add fish sauce and soy sauce and toss together for a few minutes.
5. Remove from heat. Mix in basil and cilantro.

If you enjoy making sprouts, there are sprouting devices which will help the sprouts grow larger or may make the process easier. However, given their short storage time, making a small batch in a jar for a recipe works just fine.


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