A few weeks ago my kids and I drove back to my hometown of Grand Falls, NB. Although it was spring, it certainly didn’t feel like it there. The snow banks were high enough that my parents could barely see their neighbour’s house. Inside their lovely home, my mom had been growing some little mung bean sprouts. It was nice to see something green (that we could eat) growing inside despite the fact that it was so cold outside. The mung beans only take a few days to sprout and were ready to eat when we got there. My oldest son David who is 7 grabbed a handful and before I knew it had eaten the whole jar. They taste like peas from the garden so he ate them right up. My mom then proceeded to show me how easy they are to grow.
We tried a few batches at home to get the hang of it and I then went in to David’s grade 2 class at school this week to do an experiment with them. I decided to show the kids how to grow their own at school and then to bring materials home to be able to show their parents how easy it is. The class has 22 kids so I brought in 6 Mason jars and divided the kids up into groups of 3-4 kids. My goal was to have at least some of the kids be brave enough to taste the sprouts prior to getting started. I had my niece walk around and give each child a spoonful. Before I even turned around, my jar of sprouts was gone and every single kid tried them and liked them, in fact some of them loved it. I love using peer pressure in a positive way with kids, works every time!
My strategy here is to get the kids to show their parents what they did and by doing so increasing the likelihood of them eating it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the more they are involved in the process of getting the food on their plate, the more likely they are to eat it.
Here are the simple steps to growing your own mung beans in your kitchen:
- Buy the sprouts you want to grow from your local health food store. I got mine from the bulk section at Organic Earth but Sobeys and maybe even Superstore have them in their organic sections. You will see an assortment of them and they can all be grown using the same jar and same methods, some of them just require a little more time to yield a batch.
2. Once you have your beans, you can either purchase a jar for sprouting for about $10 with the lid to strain the sprouts daily. You can also use a Mason jar as we did and get a plastic lid (I got mine from Michael’s and just cut it out to fit on the Mason jar lid).
3. The beans need to be rinsed to get any residue off them and then soaked overnight.
4. In the morning you tip the container and strain them. Add some more water and rinse them again before straining it completely. Repeat this step once again at night.
5. You will start to see little tails sprouting from the beans. Once the green cover is completely off the bean (this usually takes 2-4 days) they are ready to eat. My oldest son didn’t even allow them to get completely sprouted before consuming my first couple of batches.
6. Enjoy! You can keep them in the refrigerator for a few weeks and sprinkle them on salads or just snack on them on their own. Start soaking another batch right away so you always have some fresh!