Monday, January 30, 2012

I’d Like to Give a Sprout-Out to all my Peeps

So, a few weeks ago I was perusing all the chicken-related people I’m following on Twitter and there was a tweet that caught my attention. I wish I could find the original tweet to give credit where credit is due, but I can’t. Sorry. Anyway, the tweet was about easy protein sources for the flock during winter months. And it was touting exactly how easy certain protein sources are to come by, or even grow in your own kitchen. There was a link attached that took me to a site about sprouting mung beans. Mung beans? Yes. Mung beans. And you know them. You've probably even eaten them. The bean sprouts used in Chinese restaurants are mung sprouts.

Moving on.

So, me, being ever-curious when it comes to my Girls’ nutrition and treat consumption, decided to do some research. Apparently there are something like 13,000 types of beans and legumes out there. Seriously. 13,000. Somebody counted. That must be where the term ‘bean counter’ comes from.

Anyway, where do mung beans fall on the list of 13,000 with regards to protein content? Right there at #31 with 7% of the bean being protein (14.2 grams per cup). Not bad considering that’s about the same as the amount of protein in a turkey burger patty.

But where do they rank on ease of sprouting?

According to several websites with unchecked credibility, mung beans are one of the easiest – if not the easiest – beans to sprout.

Well, that just knocked it from #31 to the top of the charts for me.
So. I figured I’d try my hand at a little germination. I did more research and soon I knew everything I needed to know:

Rinse. Soak. Drain. Rinse. Drain. Rinse. Drain. Rinse. Drain. Rinse. Drain. Enjoy!

That’s it.

But for those of you who want more, here’s everything in detail.

First, I went to Whole Foods (and when I say ‘I’, I mean my wife) and bought a scoop or two of dried mung beans from their bulk section. Then, I gathered my sprouting supplies.
The beans. A bowl. A peanut butter jar. A small strainer. A 1/4 cup measuring cup. That's it.

Paper towel not necessary.
No holes. No sprouts.
Then I drilled a few holes in the jar lid. Why the holes? Well, as the beans start sprouting, they conduct heat. This heat needs to be released. And a sealed jar just won’t work. Things get too hot. So, the holes in the lid vent the heat and help the sprouting process.

After that, I measured out the dry beans. Any amount could be used, I guess, but I used 1/4 cup, just to keep it manageable. I rinsed the dry beans in the strainer and put them in the empty jar. Then, I added cool (not cold) water. Three times as much as the amount of beans. I used 1/4 cup beans, so I used 3/4 of a cup of water. I like easy math.

Holy Frijoles!
The beans need to soak for 8-12 hours (it kickstarts the germination process) and they need to be put in a place that's not-too-bright-not-too-dark. I took that to mean my counter beside the toaster oven. After all of that hard work, I went to bed. The next morning I woke up to find the beans had doubled in size, more or less.

I drained all the green water out (just poured it through the lid) and filled the jar with cool (not cold) water and drained again. Just to rinse any mung off of the beans. (HA!) Then back to its place beside the toaster oven for another 10-12 hours. Then another rinse. Another drain. Another 10-12 hours. After four days, those little dried beans turned into...

... little wet sprouts.

And a lot of them, too. It was work getting them out of the jar. But that was really the only work involved. Everything else was easy. Just like I said: Rinse. Soak. Drain. Rinse. Drain. Rinse. Drain. Rinse. Drain. Rinse. Drain. Enjoy!

It was pretty cool to see just how fast it all happened. And they taste exactly as you'd expect. Healthy. Take that as you will.

Now I know what all my one follower is thinking: Good source of protein or not, did the chickens go crazy for them?

Well. 'Crazy' is a strong word. But they ate everything. Eventually. And in doing so, I avoided having to grill them turkey burgers.

--Chicken Dup

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