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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Bean Sprouts

I woke this morning feeling positively aweful with a horrid sore throat. I must have picked up a virus during our recent holidays so while this entry was already written on bean sprouts, watch for tomorrow's entry on homemade chicken noodle soup. A batch is in the workings and I might chase that down with a nice hot toddy then snuggle into bed for the rest of the night!

Bean sprouts are nutritious, low in calories and add extra punch to breads, salads, sandwichs and side dishes. Sprouting beans is very easy with minimal equipment and space needed. I generally have a couple of containers on the go.

Equipment Needed

This is the equipment I use most of the time. While you can buy fancy sprouting containers, it really is not necessary. I simply use a disposable no name brand of container or recycle a sour cream container. A lid is helpful but is not used to seal the container.

My beans of choice to sprout are mung beans. These make for tasty and easy sprouting beans suitable for salads, egg rolls, breads and stir fries. I buy them in bulk from the Bulk Barn and store them in vacuum sealed mason jars for both rodent and insect control.

To start sprouting the beans pour enough beans into the container to cover the bottom. Rinse with filtered water then cover with about an inch of filtered water. I prefer filtered water. Let sit for about three hours then using the lid to prevent the beans from falling out of the container, drain and add a little fresh water. Place the entire container with lid just placed on top but not sealed in a dark cabinet. The next day, pour off any water and add fresh. Repeat this step daily until the beans sprout.

Just Sprouting

When the beans begin sprouting the water requirements change. While you will be able to water once daily, you likely should change the water a couple of times a day. Other than that there is little for you to do. At the first sign of sprouting is a good time to start another container of sprouts for a ready supply. For nice white and tender sprouts be sure to keep them in a dark cabinet. Leave the beans to continue sprouting. Within a day or so the cotlydons (embroyonic leaves) will appear. To keep these pale, be sure to keep your sprouting beans in a dark cabinet away from light.

Almost Ready

The bean sprouts are almost ready to use at this stage. The cotlydons are present and still pale from being in the dark cabinet. The height is about 3 inches. At this stage you can continue keeping the sprouts in a dark cabinet to keep pale or expose them to sunlight to develop the chlorphyll turning the cotlydons green. Use your sprouts when they are about 4 inches long before the second set of leaves appear.

To use sprouts, rinse and toss into salads or bread. Use in stir fries or as a filling for spring rolls or egg rolls.

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