Learn how to grow mung bean sprouts in a jar. First, prepare the materials needed, like a sprouting jar that filters the water and the beans.
If you think that the lack of outside space or sunshine may stop you from growing your own beans, Think Again!
It is still possible to grow your bean sprouts. The process feels more like cooking food rather than gardening. It may sound messy, but it is not. You'll need beans, a jar, rubber bands, cheesecloth, and water.
I've enjoyed cultivating alfalfa sprouts in this method for quite some time. A small amount of sprouts will take only several days and minimal effort.
It is enjoyable to upgrade your gardening skills or be a novice gardener.
Mung beans are a legume similar to Alfalfa, chickpeas, and lentils. All of them can be grown using the same method of grow-in-the-jar.
If you're trying sprouts for the first time, or you've brought them in and don't know how to grow bean sprouts in a jar, then this article is designed perfectly for you.
What are bean sprouts?
You can describe bean sprouts as a vegetable germinating through the mung beans. They are off-white, creamy sprouts and have a light and fresh flavor.
Bean sprouts are easy and inexpensive to cultivate. Both adults and children alike enjoy watching their sprouts grow each day.
You must soak mung beans in water for 6-8 hours and give them the first rinse. Following this, you'll have to wash them thoroughly every day for a few days until they're ready.
Why consider homemade bean sprouts?
Although these are available in stores, sprouting them at home is clean and will reduce the chances of contamination. Typically, preservatives are added to mung bean sprouts in the market to prolong their shelf life.
The saying goes: "Eat buds in spring and summer, melon in the summer, fruits in the fall, and root when it gets cold." Spring is when everything grows, and sprouting vegetables are incredibly fresh and tender.
What do bean sprouts taste like?
Sprouts' taste, texture, and flavor are not difficult to assess as a single plant bean. Especially when compared with other cuisines like French and Chinese, bean sprouts offer a healthy retreat.
Below are some of the descriptive words to describe its flavor.
Earthy. Especially when freshly harvested sprouts are cooked and incorporated into dishes, they lose their earthy taste and absorb the flavor of the surrounding spices and herbs.
Refreshing: Fresh with more than 90 percent water, bean sprouts are refreshing to eat- like cucumbers or salads. These are even perfect to serve as a salad in the summer evening.
The bland: The taste of bean sprouts is difficult to describe since it is a huge water source. This means that they are best eaten with a concoction of herbs that can potentially overpower the basic taste of sprouts.
Crunchy and Crispy
The outer casing of bean sprouts forms the appearance of a crust that easily breaks when bitten. Since bean sprouts tend to be very thin, the most prominent texture you will get is a crunching one.
How to grow bean sprouts in a jar
Step 1 Wash and sort the beans
I like lentils and mung beans as they are the most effortless and fastest to sprout. If you're a novice, your best bet is the likes of Alfalfa, chickpeas, or adzuki bean; however, they require a bit more time.
The seeds that contain contaminants are the leading cause of outbreaks of sprout-related illnesses. So, it's vital to choose clean seeds.
Pick the whole, untreated beans (split red lentils, for instance, aren't a good idea) made for sprouting or consumption.
Reputable health food stores are your best seed-sourcing options; you can purchase them online. Those beans in gardening kits will likely be chemically treated and should not be used to grow sprouts.
Clean them and take out any damaged beans or foreign objects. Rinse and wash the beans thoroughly several times until the water turns clear.
Step 2 Put beans in the jar and fill with water.
Fill the glass container with clean, cool water. Then soak for 2 hours or until they expand slightly and the skins fall off.
Two tablespoons of Alfalfa seeds in a jar of 3 cups volume are sufficient. Mung beans and other beans shouldn't take up more than one-quarter of the container.
The beans will grow when soaked in water and consume more space when they sprout. So, make sure you leave plenty of room inside the container.
Step 3 Soak
After two hours of soaking:
- Drain the water and fill it with fresh water.
- Cover the container with a drainable cap (or place a cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band).
- Let it soak for between 8 and 12 hours at room temperature.
An elastic band secures cheesecloth, or the ring on the outside lid used for canning works well.
You can also consider using a special sprouting jar with a mesh cap for good results, which I've used for my sprouting this time.
A general rule is that the bigger the bean, the more time it takes to soak.
Step 4 Rinse and drain
You should drain the water through the cap. Rinse it with clean water and drain it again. Then place the jar far from the direct sun.
Lay the jar sideways or set it upside down in a slant on the grid or cooling wire, releasing the remaining water through the opening in the container.
It is essential to ensure that air circulates the jar mouth.
Set this in a shady area, like a cupboard or cabinet underneath the sink.
Step 5 Rinse and repeat the process
It is always important to rinse and drain the beans with fresh water at least twice every day to prevent bacteria from growing. If the beans appear to be drying completely, you can rinse them four times daily.
Mung beans and lentils show the most prolific growth in my experience.
They start germinating within a day or two of the initial soak. Continue to do this until the sprouts get to the length you prefer.
The entire process can take 2-5 days; the sprouting process is almost finished now.
The Mung Bean, lentil, chickpea, and adzuki sprouts are suitable for about one-quarter inch, depending on the type of personal preference. The alfalfa sprouts should develop to about 1 inch.
Step 6 Wash and Serve!
Make sure to give your bean sprouts a final rinse and drain them well while sorting out any un-sprouted beans in the colander before storing them in the fridge.
Place the bean sprouts in a container or a Ziploc bag lined with a paper towel, seal it, and refrigerate.
The sprouts are typically consumed raw, but other bean sprouts can withstand cooking heat for alfalfa sprouts (which will end up like mush when cooked).
How to make bean sprouts that don't taste bitter
I've read numerous online complaints that the bean sprouts cooked at home tasted bitter. And that the stir-fried bean sprouts were not as crisp and soft as the ones served at outdoor eateries.
So, what is the solution to the problem?
If you would like the sprouts of beans not to taste bitter, ensure that you don't place them next to the window with direct sunlight while in the process of sprouting. It's better to lay the jar or the container under the sink or cover them with a black plastic bag.
Easy way to sprout mung beans sprout in a strainer
First, prepare the materials needed, like a large black plastic bag and a double-layer vegetable basket that filters water. Of course, don't overlook the most vital ingredient, the mung bean.
You can prepare mung beans following your personal preferences. If done correctly, 50 grams of beans can yield 400-500 grams of mung bean sprouts. That is the exact amount you would get from an 8-inch dish.
If no strainer basket is available, using pierced mineral beverages and water bottles is acceptable. But avoid using oil bottles. The oil container could hinder the growth of bean sprouts.
Add the Mung beans into a bowl that is oil-free and clean. Then wash the dirt off the surface with a sufficient amount of water. Now, segregate the poor-quality Mung beans and those that are not good.
Add more water and soak the mung beans for approximately 12 hours.
By now, most of the Mung beans' skins have cracked, and you'll notice the soft yellow beans within and bean sprouts start sprouting.
There is no need to shade your seeds. Try soaking the seeds in warm water to around 40°F in winter or in a region with cold temperatures.
Spread the mung bean seeds flat in the middle of the basket that drains and avoids overlapping. Don't stack the seeds altogether. If one basket isn't enough, you can use another container to prevent the overlap of beans.
A lower container is filled with the right amount of water to soak ½ the height of Mung bean seeds.
Do not soak the whole seed thoroughly; the seeds could quickly rot.
The resulting bean sprouts from stacked seeds will be uneven and won't grow long. It adversely affects the quality of the mung bean sprouts.
Why use a double-layer vegetable basket to sprout beans?
The seeds are moisturized.
First, soak the seeds until ½ of their height. This is enough to satisfy the seeds' daily moisture requirements. There is no need to wrap the seeds in a moist cloth. It is fine if you don't have time to change the water.
Then, without frequent watering, you can protect the seeds of bean sprouts from getting exposed to light. The beans won't turn red and will not develop a bitter taste.
Once you've added the water, protect the basket with an opaque plastic bag or shade cloth to prevent light from reaching the mung bean seeds. Then, move your basket to a warm, dark place for better results.
The ideal temperature for mung bean sprouts to sprout is 20° to 30° C. If it's winter or in a place with cold temperatures, place the sprouts in the closed cabinet in your kitchen. It helps maintain the warm temperature of your mung beans and helps with easy sprouting.
You must open the plastic bag daily for 2-3 days. Drain off the water from the bottom basket and fill it with clean water.
At this point, the seeds have started sprouting. Restrict the amount of water added so that it just touches the seeds.
Did you know that all plants exhibit water tropism?
If there is water, the roots will develop in the direction of the water. Thus, when the seeds of the bean sprouts start sprouting, the amount of water required won't be as much as when there were no roots. Excess water is detrimental because it can cause the seeds to start rotting; this is why not all beans sprout, and they do, have an unpleasant smell.
Read: How to Fix Mung Beans Smell
At around 20° C, the mung bean sprouts can grow to about 4 cm within 3 or 4 days and are ready to harvest.
If you do not plan to use the sprouts immediately, you can always store them in the fridge. It will prevent the mung bean sprouts from growing too long and adversely impacting their quality.
Because the mung bean sprouts that I sprout myself do not contain any growth stimulants, they are not like the ones you get in the market. They are long and thin. If you keep growing it, it will produce green leaves. This will drastically impact the taste. You can keep the harvested mung bean sprouts in the fridge for 2 or 3 days.
Sometimes I end up with a good harvest of home-grown mung bean sprouts. When this happens, everyone worries about why mung bean sprouts cooked at home aren't as crisp and refreshing as the ones you can get in restaurants. Instead, home-grown sprouts look old, astringent, and bitter taste.
The secret to making bean sprouts crispy when stir-frying
If you practice shading during sprouting, the sprouts do not turn red or end up with green leaves.
Usually, bean sprouts are bitter. People also relate bitterness and astringency with a beany-like taste.
Blanching or slow simmering the sprouts for a long time can reduce the bitterness. However, doing this will cause the sprouts to lose their crisp flavor.
Adding vinegar is the best resort as it reduces the cooking time, eliminates the "beany smell," and maintains the crispness.
Why add vinegar?
How does it keep the bean sprouts crisp and soft?
Bean sprouts are crisp because of their inner gel structure. The pectin in bean sprouts needs a low-acidic environment to form a gel.
Incorporating a few drops of vinegar into the bean sprouts helps create a gel that prevents water loss while retaining crispness and tenderness.
The heat makes bean sprouts grow. Along with pectin, bean sprouts also contain some protein.
The protein contained in the bean sprouts has been denatured. The addition of vinegar can cause coagulation of the protein from the sprouts. This causes the bean sprouts to be firm and crisp.
Additionally, you must note that the best time for adding vinegar is earlier, not later. After removing them from the pot, most people add vinegar to the sprouts, which is not helpful.
- The best method to fry bean sprouts is to add them to a hot frying pan.
- Add a little bit of vinegar within a minute.
- Add two tablespoons of vinegar to half a kg of bean sprouts. Anything more alters the flavor and appearance of the bean sprouts.
How to use and store sprouted mung beans?
Once you are done with sprouting, next comes using and storing these sprouted beans for consumption later, or you can freeze them (find the instructions here).
Sprouted mung beans are best consumed fresh. You can keep them in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. We, however, prefer eating them on the same day they sprout. We may sometimes store them in a glass container.
However, I advise you not to rinse them if you want to store them and to store them immediately.
While consuming raw sprouted bean spurts within 24 hours is safe, the beans that take longer to sprout may carry microorganisms. It's safer to stir-fry or steam them before consuming.
- You can steam them in a steamer or over boiling water for about 3-4 minutes until the sprouts are not steaming.
- Steaming them in a pressure cooker or instant pot for about a minute and then a quick manual release is also possible. Sprinkle them with your preferred spices, lemon juice, and salt.
- Alternately, create a tempering using Indian spices and Ghee. After that, add the cooked sprouts and coconut, and drizzle lemon juice on top.
- Another possible way is to include the bean sprouts in raw form when stir-frying your vegetables.
- There are so many ways to consume bean sprouts!
- Select Mung beans from a shop that frequently updates its stock for freshness. Older beans do not germinate well or properly.
- Organic mung beans require more time to soak and germinate. Hybrid varieties soak faster and grow faster. So, be aware and adjust the soaking duration.
- Always rinse your green beans using pure water a minimum of 3 or four times to reduce the possibility of contamination. I generally use slightly hot water for my final wash.
- Be sure to use boiled, cooled-down, or dechlorinated drinking water to soak the beans.
- If you are using a cloth, wash it thoroughly before use.
- Eating sprouts raw is common, and I prefer to wash them with hot water for about 90 minutes (not boiling, but 90° C) (Read my FAQ below to find out why I use hot water!).
- Remove all warm water in 90 seconds. Pour cool, fresh, clean, and pure water.
These tips will significantly lower the risk of any possible contamination.
It may also aid those struggling to digest sprouts or experience stomach issues or experience diarrheal after eating the sprouts.
If you wish to consume the sprouts in raw form, thoroughly rinse the green grain with hot water. Then soak it in boiled and cooled down water, not tap water.
Remember! The sprouts can get contaminated by the water the beans are immersed in.
Beans that take a few days to grow (more than an entire day) are more likely to have microorganisms within them, leading to gastric indigestion and constipation. It would be best if you cooked these sprouts before serving.
Related recipes that use bean sprouts
- Bun Ga Nuong | Vermicelli Noodle with Lemongrass Chicken
- Fried Rice Pin Noodles | Stir-Fried Lo Shu Fun
- 30-minute Pad Thai Recipe
- Vietnamese Cold Noodle Salad
Frequently Asked Questions
1 Why haven't the mung beans started sprouting?
Too old beans harvested long ago, and poor quality beans won't grow. Insufficient soaking is another possible reason.
2 Why do I need to use hot water to wash the beans?
Rinsing beans in warm drinking water (90° C) for 90 seconds kills Escherichia Coli and Salmonella organisms found in seeds.
Therefore, this is a good step to take before sprouting. Besides, hot water will not hinder germination if the beans are high quality.
3 How come my sprouts have a bitter taste?
The most frequent complaint against home-grown sprouts is that they possess a bitter taste that is easily resisted and not typical of the sprouting community.
Generally, the sprout variety, freshness, and childhood preferences lead to its bitterness.
Bean sprouts may taste bitter if exposed to bright sunlight during the sprouting process. Therefore, keeping them in the dark spot while sprouting is best.
Use only dechlorinated water to wash the mung beans since the chlorine in chlorinated water will change the sprouts' flavor and texture.
1 The Most Dangerous Offenders
Though most fresh sprouts contain a slight bitterness and can even impart a mildly sweet taste, certain varieties are known to have more bitterness than other varieties.
- Fenugreek sprouts are bitter and are essential in Indian cooking due to their aroma. However, some people tend to get overwhelmed by the aroma too.
- Fenugreek is a legume, not a bean, and a stronger alternative to the bitter Mung bean sprout.
- Mung beans are crunchy and sweet when consumed fresh but quickly develop a slightly bitter aftertaste after a few days or if canned.
2 Simple Science
Most plants, herbs, and vegetables have phytonutrients that help protect them from natural predators. They can contribute to bitterness.
The most well-known illustration of this is Brussels sprouts, with their strong but bitter alkaloids. Although these compounds have healthy anti-carcinogenic qualities, they are toxic.
Fortunately, about 25 percent of people can't detect the bitter taste of cabbage, sprouts, broccoli, and dark beers due to a mutation in a single gene that alters the tongue's taste receptors.
3 Sure-fire Solutions
The simplest method of dealing with the bitterness in Brussels sprouts is to eliminate the ends where the sprouts join their stalks. Also, remove any leaves attached to it.
Slowly roasting the sprouts in oil and salt will bring out their sweetness.
In the case of bean sprouts, it's better to consume them when their shoot is short, about the soaked seed's length.
Additionally, remove any husks left after washing since they add to the bitterness, especially when it comes to mung beans.
Now that you know how to grow bean sprouts in a jar at home, it's time to start and reap its multiple health benefits!
Grow Mung Bean Sprouts in a Jar (how to)
- sprouting jar
- double strainer
- mung beans
Wash and sort the beans
- Clean and take out any damaged beans or foreign objects. Rinse and wash thoroughly several times until the water turns clear.
Put beans in the jar and fill with water
- Put 2 tablespoon of Alfalfa seeds in a jar of 3 cups volume are sufficient. Mung beans and other beans shouldn’t take up more than one-quarter of the container.
- Fill the glass container with clean, cool water. Then soak for 2 hours or until they expand slightly and the skins fall off.
- After two hours of soaking, drain the water and fill it with fresh water.
- Cover the container with a drainable cap (or place a cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band)
- Let it soak for between 8 and 12 hours at room temperature.
Rinse and Drain
- Drain the water through the cap. Rinse it with clean water and drain it again.
- Lay the jar sideways or set it upside down in a slant on the grid or cooling wire, releasing the remaining water through the opening in the container.
- Then place the jar far from direct sunlight. Set this in a shady area, like inside a cupboard or cabinet underneath the sink.
Rinse and repeat the process
- It is always important to rinse and drain the beans with fresh water at least twice every day to prevent bacteria from growing. If the beans appear to be drying completely, you can rinse them four times daily.
- Mung beans and lentils show the most prolific growth in my experience. They start germinating within a day or two of the initial soak. Continue to do this until the sprouts get to the length you prefer.
- The entire process can take anywhere between 2-5 days; the sprouting process is almost finished by now.