Kind of like saying “my first tooth” (or “my first toof”), but more delicious. The tooth fairy only brings you a quarter. A quarter can’t buy a good salad…
But my sprouts! I really don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to sprouting, but it in general, believe it or not, I can follow a recipe. And that’s what I did. It wasn’t the best sprouting recipe in retrospect because using a glass jar doesn’t let the water drain out fully, which can cause your sprouts to get moldy apparently, but mine didn’t. They didn’t taste like much of anything, but they got these cute little tails that started to curl around when they got too long since I didn’t know when they were ready.
I used an eHow recipe. That’s like asking for trouble. “Please, make my life more difficult and my chance of success smaller.”
But I followed the recipe as closely as possible and things worked out:
I rinsed my beans in my sieve (you can use a colander or anything that strains) under running water and put them in large glass jar filled with water overnight. The recipe said to use a “wide-mouthed” jar, and though I wouldn’t exactly call this jar wide, it was the only jar big enough for the beans. I kind of hoped “wide-mouthed” just means “easy to get the beans into and out of.”
The adzuki beans supposed to lose their maroon colour and turn white after 12 hours, but they hadn’t by morning, so I left them all day too. They still stayed stubbornly red! Already eHow was doing a poor job of being right. And Adzuki beans are supposed to be some of the easiest beans to sprout!
Anyway, I gave up on them turning white and just skipped to the next step. I rinsed the beans again my sieve, let them drain for maybe 30 seconds (the recipe didn’t specify how long to let them drain) and then put them back into the glass jar. I covered the jar with a light cloth so the beans could breathe, and put them where they wouldn’t be in direct sunlight on the counter. My whole kitchen is a “cool, dark place”, so that instruction was fine.
For the next few days I rinsed and drained the beans every 8-12 hours. I was actually pretty good about it. I roughly timed it. I didn’t set a kitchen timer or anything, but really I almost followed the instructions to the letter. They’re supposed to grow tails at least 1/4-inch long. I’m a bad judge of a 1/4-inch, and since the maroon skins had stayed on the tails had a hard time popping out. the recipe said sprouting longer than 1/4-inch was fine, though, so I figured I’d err on the side of “too long” than not long enough. You’re supposed to test the beans (eat them) after each rinse, but I’m such a sprout newbie that this seemed silly. I wouldn’t know what to taste for.
After a few days (when the beans have reached the proper length tail-wise) you’re supposed to wash them one more time and leave them to drain for a few hours. Then you seal the glass jar and keep the beans in the fridge for 3-6 weeks. Well mine were starting to look a little brown, and when I rubbed off the maroon skins (that finally decided t come off with some coaxing) the beans were browning just a little. They weren’t moldy, though! I’d rinsed out the glass jar a few times and changed jars when I got nervous about water sitting in there too long. Sprouting kits suspend the beans at water level so they don’t dry out but they’re not sitting in the liquid either. A glass jar makes me nervous because any extra water just sits there, potentially harming the beans if you leave them too long. Then if there’s any water when you transfer them finally to the fridge they’ll definitely go moldy.
So this is definitely the cheap way to get sprouts. They’re so good for you and much more easily digestible than cooked beans (or so I’ve been told). I was at the Expo Mangez Santé et Vivez Vert the other weekend and some places were selling sprouting kits for $20 that come with double-layered plastic containers that allow water to drain off properly and require less maintenance than the glass jar version, but for $20 I wasn’t buying. It seemed like something you could do with a plastic container and a good pair of scissors. But aren’t you supposed to use a glass jar? Is plastic alright after all?
Then there were the fancy sprouting apparatuses (apparatus? “Apparati”, says my mother…) that had multiple levels and sections and looked like mini-gardens. Those, I’m sure, were very expensive and not worth my money and time. If it was a gift, I’d gladly accept, but I had a hamster once and all that plastic ball and track material to make a mini hamster world for its amusement is now sitting in my parent’s garage somewhere.
Sprouts are also more delicious than hamsters…probably. I think in Peru they only eat guinea pigs, not hamsters. Sorry to all the vegetarians reading this. Don’t go to the link…