Lately I’ve been playing around with a ton of new recipes and food prep methods – sprouting, fermentation… you name it, I’m experimenting. I’ve got a batch of fermented ginger carrots going. My first batch of sauerkraut was a success, but the second failed miserably. It’s all been a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to sharing my discoveries with everyone.
So today, let’s talk about sprouting beans.
Sprouting beans is a traditional preparation method with one enormous benefit. You know the old saying “Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart. The more you eat, the more you fart!” Well, they have to come up with a new rhyme for sprouted beans, because sprouting seems to take away all those nasty gastrointestinal side effects that keep many of us from eating beans. (This, so far, has been confirmed by me, and the people I have fed sprouted beans to. YMMV.) I’ve heard it mentioned that sprouting beans means they digest more like a vegetable than a starch. I have no scientific proof of that, but my stomach seems to believe this is true.
The other great thing about beans is that they are crazy cheap. If you’re on a budget (and really, who isn’t?), sprouted beans are a great way to keep your nutrient intake up while the money is down.
And even more than that, it turns out that sprouting beans is incredibly easy. I haven’t managed to screw up a batch yet, and that’s saying something. So if I can do it, you can do it.
How To Sprout Lentils
(Well, really, any beans…)
First, the tools you’ll need:
Once the jar is filled with water, let it sit in a warm spot for about 12 hours. I leave mine on the counter near the refrigerator so it gets the warmth coming off the back of the fridge. After 12 hours, your lentils should have rehydrated, and probably doubled in size, like this:
Drain the water out of the jar of lentils. Rinse the lentils one more time by filling the jar up with water and draining them again. They should be a bit wet from the rinsing, but they should not be soaking anymore. It should look like this:
Leave them in the jar on the counter to continue the sprouting process. Rinse and drain every 12 hours to keep them moist. Somewhere around the 24 hour mark, you should see them start to sprout:
Keep rinsing and draining them every 12 hours to keep them moist. Usually, you want to keep sprouting them until the sprouts reach about 1/4″ (roughly 6mm).
I find they usually get to this length in about 48 hours, but this may vary depending on your beans or how warm your kitchen is, etc. At this point, they’re ready to use in your favorite recipe.
These instructions will also work for other types of beans. Actually, I have a batch of black beans on the counter as we speak. If you’re interested in sprouting other beans, may I suggest Sproutman’s “Turn the Dial” Sprout Chart as shown here:
It’s a neat chart that shows you how to sprout different beans, along with how many days they will take to sprout and suggestions for how to use them once they’re sprouted. There’s everything on here from broccoli to chia seeds. This could make one tasty salad or soup!
And that’s how easy it is to sprout your own beans and seeds. Keep this tutorial in mind, as I have a recipe coming up for sprouted lentil soup.