Supermarket beansprouts are nearly always mung beans, but my two favourites are adzuki beans and fenugreek seeds.
1 Get your equipment together. There’s not much: a clean glass jar, and something which creates a mesh lid for it. It could be the lid, punctured in many places with small holes, rather as if you were going to keep a caterpillar in there. It could be a square from an old (but clean) jelly bag or net curtain. My preferred option is for a square cut from an old, clean pair of tights. You’ll also need a rubber band to keep the mesh securely on the jar. And your beans of course.
|Secret gardeners with jars of beansprouts.|
2 Put about a level tablespoon of beans in a colander or sieve and rinse them to remove and dust or dirt. Put them in the jar, cover with cold water and leave to soak for about 24 hours – overnight, anyway. This gives the sprouting process a bit of a kick-start.
3 The next day, drain the beans in a sieve or colander. Rinse them well, and drain again. Put them back in the jar, fix the mesh top on and stand them upside down on a draining rack or similar so that they are not standing in water.
4 The beans need to be rinsed and drained twice a day – morning and evening in practice. You can simply pour cold water through the mesh into the jar with the beans, swirl around a bit to rinse the beans well and then stand the jar upside down to drain.
5. Ideally the jars should be kept in the dark, as the sprouts can turn green and more bitter to taste in daylight, but I keep forgetting about them if they’re put in a cupboard. Having them out on the drying rack makes it much easier to remember the twice-daily rinse.
6 You should start to see sprouts in about 48 hours (less for fenugreek). The best time to ‘harvest’ and eat them is when the sprouts are a couple of centimetres long and just beginning to push out leaves, usually after 3-4 days. You can eat the whole lots, bean + shoot, although some people like to rub off the skin of the bean before eating.
|Korean chilli tofu with mangetout peas, served at the Secret Garden Club.|