Do you remember ‘Jack & The Giant Beanstalk’? A country boy is ambling along to sell his cow at market when a strange man approaches and offers him three magic beans for it. Highly suspect in retrospect, but fairytales aside, it’s widely known that beans have always been magical. And some of us know that the quickest way to unlock the deep magic of legumes is through sprouting.
Why Sprout Beans?
We’re so glad you asked! There are several reasons to start sprouting your beans and chief among them is digestibility. Sprouting makes beans easier to digest by increasing their protein and lowering their starch content. Many people who complain of discomfort when eating beans haven’t yet tried sprouting first. Beans are acid-forming vegetables and in sprouting them, you neutralize some of that acid. That pesky acid goes by the names of ‘phytic’ and ‘lectin’. Phytic acid binds to iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and potassium, while lectin binds to carbohydrates. Both are considered anti-nutrients for this reason, although this does not mean they are unhealthy. In fact, anti-nutrients have been linked to antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. But sprouting beans makes them more…passable…to say the least.
Sprouting also increases the B vitamins, fiber content and protein quality of your beans, supercharging their magic powers to the next degree!
How To Sprout ‘Em
Sprouting beans is not dissimilar to sprouting seeds. So, if you’re already a seasoned pro, you got this in the bag. No matter the variety of your bean, the method is the same:
- Choose your bean and soak them overnight (or 8 hours) in cool, clean water. The countertop is fine, but the refrigerator is always a safe bet in hotter, Summer temperatures. Be sure to comb through for organic debris like small pebbles and the like.
- Drain the beans and place them in a Sproutbag. Give the bag a good rinse and hang over the sink or a bowl.
- Repeat rinsing every 12 hours. We like to do ours when we wake up and before we go to bed, making it easy to remember.
- Depending on the variety, you’ll have healthy sprouted legumes in as little as 3 days!
Once your sprouts are developed, store ones you aren’t using right away for up to a week.
Raw or Roasted?
Bean sprouts still look very much like beans—with a tail on them. Unlike alfalfa or clover seeds, bean sprouts don’t ‘transform’ into a green plant entity when sprouted, they still ‘look’ the same. Although changed, they are still primarily raw beans so how you eat them really matters! A handful of raw sprouted beans on the occasional salad is a textural dream, but only in moderation. Regularly consuming large quantities of raw beans or raw sprouted beans is a digestive taboo and will be unpleasant to say the least.
Gently cooking big sprouts like soy, garbanzo, green pea, pinto, kidney and navy is the way to go! On the other hand, it’s best to very lightly sauté/flash steam mung, lentil, adzuki and red peas before including in your favorite recipes. But remember that kidney and cannellini beans should never be eaten raw due to their containing something called phytohaemagglutinin, a toxin that can cause nausea and vomiting (no thanks!).