- Sprouting Seeds & Beans – How to Grow Sprouts
- What Are Adzuki Beans: Learn About Growing Adzuki Beans
- What are Adzuki Beans?
- How to Grow Adzuki Beans
- Using Adzuki Beans
- Growing Adzuki Beans
- Growing Adzuki Beans Instructions
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- Growing Advice
Sprouting Seeds & Beans – How to Grow Sprouts
Sprouted adzuki beans, left, and alfalfa seeds, right. Day 4 and ready to eat!
In my time off, I’ve been experimenting more with sprouting. I know. It’s a wild life I lead. I’ve had this seed sprouting jar in my pantry for well over a decade now and had yet to use it. In a flurry of cleaning panic one day, I vowed to “sprout or get off the pot” and since I hate throwing away perfectly good things, I chose sprout.
And it’s fun! On the internet, there’s tons of articles telling you why to grow sprouts and if you believe any of them (sprouts aid digestion; sprouts have more vitamins; sprouts will ensure your unborn children are able to fly) it sounds like a pretty great idea. In my own personal internet (my brain) I really like how sprouts taste and I love the light, crisp, juicy bite they add to just about everything.
Many foods benefit from cramming some fresh sprouts in ’em. Omelets, salads, burgers, even a crappy microwaved burrito becomes a healthy treat when you open it up and stick sprouts inside.
Q: What do you call a sandwich without sprouts?
A: a SAD-wich!
Now that I’ve convinced you, here’s how to grow sprouts:
Get a sprouting jar or a regular 1-quart jar. Make sure the jar has a wide mouth so you can easily get the sprouts out. Make a breathable lid with some cheesecloth and a rubber band if you don’t have a vented lid like these.
My sprouting jar has two lid options, one with large holes for beans and one with small holes for seeds. In a stroke of genius, I discovered that the lids also fit onto wide-mouth canning jars! So now I effectively have two sprouting jars. Voila.
Get some seeds. I got a mix of organic sprouting seeds from the farmer’s market. It’s hard to find sprouting seeds in stores, and sprouting does not work with the almonds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds that are sold for snacking (even if they’re raw) so your best bet is to buy them online. Sprouting beans, though, you can use probably any old bean. Most websites about sprouting will insist that you find organic beans that are meant for sprouting and they threaten you with the horror that regular beans will not sprout because they are laced with poison or radiation or whatever. I can only tell you that I’ve done this with non-organic, generic store brand of chickpeas, green lentils, and with the who-knows-what adzuki beans grown in China I got at the MT Market. Guess what. They’ve all sprouted. It’s possible that it was just my good luck, but I doubt it. I’m generally not very lucky.
Put your seeds or beans in the jar. Use one to three tablespoons, depending on the size of your jar and keep in mind that small seeds like these will increase in volume by up to 7 times; large seeds and beans will increase by only 2-3 times once sprouted.
For this half-quart jar, I only needed a tablespoon of seeds to cover the bottom.
Add a couple cups of warmish water. Tap water is fine. Cover with your perforated lid or with a couple layers of cheesecloth and a rubber band. Let them soak for 8-12 hours (shorter time is needed for seeds and the longer time for beans). For beans, they should look plumper and probably paler than they were when you started.
Use at least 3 times as much water as seeds and when in doubt, add more water.
Dry adzuki beans compared to soaked and ready to sprout adzuki beans
Drain. Pour the water out through the filter top. Shake the jar to arrange the seeds or beans in a line along the side, or bottom, or just look at this picture. Lay the jar on its side to aid air flow. Put it in a spot where it can get some natural light, but not a spot where it’s going to get hot from the sun. A kitchen or bathroom with the shades open should be fine.
Rotate the jar to spread the beans or seeds in an even layer
Every 8-12 hours (2 or 3 times a day, whatever you can manage) rinse and drain them again. Add about a cup of water (no need to remove your lid) give the seeds a gentle swirl, then drain and lay the jar on its side again, spreading the seeds out as much as you can.
Day 1: after soaking 8 hours
Day 2, after rinsing and redistributing seeds twice
Day 4, my preferred eating day!
Sprouts! Depending on the type and age of your seeds or beans, you can expect to wait 2 to 7 days for edible sprouts. You can really eat the seeds or beans as soon as they begin to sprout, but if you prefer longer more plant-like sprouts, wait a few more days. I like my alfalfas to go for 4-5 days usually while most beans are eaten as soon as they begin to germinate, after 3-4 days. It’s up to you how long you want to wait or not wait. Here’s a general guideline for how long some common beans and seeds take to sprout.
- Alfalfa 4-5 days
- Chickpea 3-4 days
- Clover 4-5 days
- Lentil 2-5 days
- Mung 3-6 days
- Broccoli 3-6 days
Beans take much longer to sprout than small seeds. After 3 days, the adzuki beans begin to sprout. At 4 days, they should all have “tails” and can be eaten, or allowed to grow longer.
And that’s all there is to it! Sprouts can be eaten raw in any way you like. Small sprouts like alfalfa, broccoli, radish or clover are nicest eaten raw in salads or anywhere you’d use lettuce. Sprouted adzuki beans, lentils and mung beans are also a nice, crunchy addition to salads but can be cooked quickly in a stir fry, as well. Bigger beans like chickpeas benefit from being covered in hot (140F) water and allowed to cool before using. This removes the slight bitterness. Try this technique in my raw hummus recipe!
What Are Adzuki Beans: Learn About Growing Adzuki Beans
There are many types of food in the world that are not common in our region. Discovering these foods makes the culinary experience exciting. Take Adzuki beans, for instance. What are adzuki beans? These are ancient Asian legumes, commonly grown as a pulse or dried bean but also sometimes used fresh. They have been cultivated for centuries in China and Japan as well as other countries in the East.
Adzuki bean nutrition is off the charts with loads of fiber and vitamins. The beans are fairly easy to grow but require a long season, so start them indoors in short season climates. Growing adzuki beans in the home landscape will help you harvest the health benefits of these small beans and add some interest to the family dinner table through their diversity.
What are Adzuki Beans?
Legumes are good for the body and good for the landscape. This is due to their nitrogen fixing abilities which create healthy growing conditions for plants. Growing adzuki beans in your vegetable garden will harvest the soil friendly benefits while adding something new to the family table.
Adzuki beans are often served cooked with rice but may also be found in desserts due to the sweet flavor of the legumes. These versatile beans are easy to grow and well worth adding to your pantry.
Adzuki beans are small reddish-brown beans which grow inside long green pods. Pods turn lighter and paler in hue which signals it is time to harvest the seeds inside. The seeds have a scar along the side that protrudes in a ridge. The flesh of adzuki is creamy when cooked and has a sweet, nutty flavor. The plant itself grows 1 to 2 feet in height, producing yellow flowers followed by clusters of pods.
Beans may be dried or eaten fresh. Dried beans need to be soaked an hour before cooking. In Japan, the beans are cooked down into a sweet paste and used to fill dumplings, cakes or sweet breads. They are also pureed with garlic, hot mustard and ginger and used as a condiment.
How to Grow Adzuki Beans
Adzuki requires 120 days from sowing to harvest. In some climates that is not possible outdoors, so it is recommended that seeds be planted inside. Adzuki beans can fix nitrogen but they require inoculation with rhizobacteria.
The plants don’t tolerate transplanting well, so start seed in compostable containers (such as coir or peat) that will plant directly into the ground. Plant seeds an inch deep and 4 inches apart. Thin the beans to 18 inches apart when plants are 2 inches tall.
You can harvest the pods when they are green or wait until they turn tan and dry. Then hull the beans to harvest the seeds. The most important part of adzuki bean care and harvest is to provide well drained soil. These plants need consistent moisture but cannot abide boggy soils.
Using Adzuki Beans
Young tender pods can be picked early and used much as you would use snap peas. The most common use is to wait until seed pods are splitting and harvest the dried seeds. It has been found that adzuki bean nutrition contains 25% protein. With such a high protein level and packed with nutrients (like folates, Vitamins B and A) and minerals (iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium), these beans are nutritional powerhouses.
Another popular use of the beans is as sprouts. Use a sprouter or a strainer. Rinse the beans twice per day and place them in clean water each time. In about 24 hours, you will have fresh edible sprouts. Dried beans can be saved for up to a year.
Estimate 20 to 24 plants to feed a family of 4 for a season. This may sound like a lot of plants but the seeds are easy to keep for year around eating and the plants will enrich the soil when they are worked in at the end of the season. Adzuki can also be intercropped to save room and provide more crop diversity.
Growing Adzuki Beans
Growing Adzuki Beans Instructions
Yields approximately 1 Cup (1/2 lb.) of Sprouts
Seed Prep Measure out 1/2 Cup of seed* Rinse your seeds to remove dust or plant debris.
Soak Transfer your seeds – if necessary – into your Sprouter, or a bowl. Add 2-3 times as much cool (60-70 degree) water. Mix seeds up to assure even water contact for all. Allow seeds to Soak for 8-12 hours.
Sprouting Empty the seeds into your Sprouter (if necessary). Drain off the soak water. You can use it – it has nutrients in it.
Rinse thoroughly with cool (60-70°) water. Drain thoroughly.
Set your Sprouter anywhere out of direct sunlight and at room temperature (70° is optimal) between Rinses. This is where your sprouts do their growing. We use a counter top – in the corner of our kitchen, but where the sprouter won’t get knocked over by cats, dogs, kids or us. We don’t mind the indirect sunlight or the 150 watts of incandescent light, because light just does not matter much. Your Bean Sprouts will never have leaves, and a plant can only perform photosynthesis when it has leaves. Until then light has little if any effect, so don’t hide your sprouts. Plus, they like air-circulation.
We stop no later than here. We like our sprouts small. Typically, we sprout for just 2-4 Rinse and Drain cycles. At that point most of the seeds will have sprouted tiny (1/16 – 1/4 inch) roots. That’s the way we like our Bean Sprouts.
Depending on your climate and the time of year you are sprouting and most importantly your personal preference – You may Rinse and Drain again at 8-12 hour intervals for up to 6 days. We Do Not recommend doing so, unless you’re doing a science experiment. Grow them for as long as you like. As long as you continue to Rinse and Drain every 8-12 hours. If you grow for a week you’ll get some plants growing as well as roots. Experiment! Have Fun! It’s All Good – if occasionally inedible @;-D
As always, we suggest that you taste your crop at EVERY Rinse – including the very first – just after the Soak period. The soaked seeds are already alive and super nutritious – and – they are without enzyme inhibitors (a very good thing indeed!) so they’ll digest themselves and nourish you. So taste them often and find out for yourself when they are most delicious! That’s when they’re done.
Harvest Your sprouts are done 8-12 hours after your final Rinse. Be sure to Drain them as thoroughly as possible after that final Rinse. The goal during the final 8-12 hours is to minimize the surface moisture of your sprouts – they will store best in your refrigerator if they are dry to the touch.
Refrigerate Transfer your sprout crop to a plastic bag or the sealed container of your choice and put them in your refrigerator. We offer Produce Storage Bags that will extend shelf life substantially.
*Seed to Use
* If using Sproutpeople’s Single Harvest Pack – use the whole bag. It will produce a crop of approximately 8 ounces.
These seeds yield approximately 2:1 – so in theory you can start with up to as 1/2 as much dry seed as your Sprouter has capacity. If you are new to sprouting, or new to this crop; we advise that you start with 1/4 – 1/3 of your Sprouter’s capacity so that your sprouts have more room.
Scientific Name: Vigna angularis
Common Names: Adzuki Bean, Red Bean, Red Mung Bean
Adzuki Bean is an ancient plant, wild forms of the plant originate from and have been grown in Japan for over 6000 years. Unique cultivated varieties of Adzuki Bean were first developed at least 4000 years ago, which is also around the same time that the plant was first spread to mainland China and Korea.
Adzuki Beans are versatile, the beans can be boiled until they’re soft and used in both savory and sweet dishes. Like all dried beans, it’s a good idea to soak Adzuki Beans overnight to shorten the time it takes to cook them and help leech out any flatulence-causing compounds. Once soft the beans can be further cooked and mashed in a small amount of sweetened water to make red bean paste which is used as a filling for Asian baked goods and for flavouring desserts. The cooked beans are a good source of protein and can be used in curries and stews, add them towards the end of cooking otherwise the beans tend to become mushy and fall apart. Adzuki Beans have a strong nutty flavour and are easier to digest than most other types of dried bean. Adzuki Beans are a nutrient powerhouse, they are a rich source of the Vitamins B1, B5 and B9, as well as the minerals Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium and Zinc. Uncooked Adzuki Beans can be sprouted and taste similar to mung bean sprouts.
Adzuki Beans belong to the legume family, legumes form symbiotic relationships with and their roots provide a home for rhizobium bacteria in the soil. These bacteria are able to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, which the plant takes up and then returns to the soil once it dies. Because of this Adzuki Beans can be grown along the ground as a sprawling cover crop and then dug through the soil to provide nitrogen to aid the growth of crops planted after them. Adzuki Bean requires lots of water during the hotter months of the year so other green manure crops may be more suitable for planting during these times of the year.
Adzuki Bean grows as an annual vine that requires trellising to support its growth and make the pods easier to harvest. Adzuki Beans should be grown in a location that receives full sun for best production. Ensure your soil is free draining prior to planting Adzuki Bean seeds, grow Adzuki in raised beds if your soil is compacted or heavy with clay. Dig lots of organic matter including well-rotted animal manures, compost or worm castings through the soil to help improve its structure, encourage worms and beneficial soil micro-organisms, and provide your young Adzuki vines with the nutrients they need to thrive. Apply rock dust or trace elements if the soil is lacking in mineral content. Adzuki Bean vines should not require additional fertiliser once established. Mulch around Adzuki Beans to retain moisture and reduce competition from annual weeds. Water regularly during the warmer months of the year, at least every second day. Adzuki Bean will grow well on soils with a pH range between 5.5 and 7.5.
When To Sow
In temperate regions of Australia sow Adzuki Beans from October to January. In subtropical regions of Australia sow Adzuki Bean seeds from September to February. In the tropics you can sow Adzuki Bean seeds all year round, but remember to keep the watering up when growing during the dry season.
How To Sow
Sow Adzuki Bean seeds 3cm deep spacing plants about 10cm apart along a trellis directly where they are to grow.
Time To Germination
Most Adzuki Bean seedlings will emerge 6 to 18 days after sowing the seeds.
Time To Harvest
Adzuki Bean vines takes between 16 and 18 weeks to begin producing good quantities of beans. Harvest Adzuki Bean pods once they turn fully yellow and allow them to dry out completely in a sheltered location before shelling the beans from the pods.