How to Soak and Sprout Beans – Techniques for Seasonal Differences
Have you ever tried to soak and sprout your beans and run into problems? Well, I’m here to help you troubleshoot!
Are Your Dried Beans Fresh?
The most important thing to ask when it comes to soaking and sprouting beans is: Are your dried beans fresh? This usually means less than one year old.
If your beans are older than one year, you might have challenges sprouting them, but another factor might play a role as well—the season in which you are trying to sprout them.
How to Sprout Beans in the Warmer Months
If you purchased dry beans in the summer, they should be very fresh. A soak overnight should result in a quick sprout. But if the beans didn’t sprout, they may not be fresh.
You can take the next step to try to get your beans to sprout by spreading them out in a colander and keeping them moist with a spray of water twice a day.
If your beans still do not sprout after the second day, they are definitely not fresh! Chances are that your beans are never going to sprout. And worse, the longer you try to sprout them in the warm summer months, the more chance you run into mold forming or just having them spoil and smell bad!
How to Sprout Beans in the Cooler Months
Now in winter, the technique for sprouting beans changes up a bit. It’s like that even if your beans are fresh, an overnight soak during the cooler months will not result in them sprouting. But not to worry!
Spread your beans out in a colander and keep them moist with a spray of water twice a day. Within four days, your beans they should sprout. Since your kitchen is cooler in the winter months, you won’t run into a problem with mold forming on your beans or having them develop that “off” smell if they take a few days to sprout.
If your beans still haven’t sprouted after four days, they are not fresh!
Can I cook them anyway?
If you are hoping to sprout your beans, but they won’t budge, you can try and cook them anyway, but chances are they will never soften if they are not fresh. It’s unfortunate, but you are probably going to have to discard them. So when you shop for dried beans, make sure you buy them from a reputable source with a good turnover.
But don’t worry. It’s not hard to find fresh beans. Most grocery stores have good turnover, plus the bags the beans are sold in will usually have an expiration date. Pay attention to that.
Buying beans in the bulk section of your supermarket is a little trickier. I generally don’t risk it. But if you like to buy beans in large quantities, which is the most economical way to do it, be sure to check the big box stores. Where I live in central Texas, it’s not uncommon to find 25-pound bags of pinto beans for under $20!
Why Should I Soak and Sprout Beans?
We go to the trouble to soak and sprout beans to make them easier to digest, but there is another reason too. Beans, like grains, contain anti-nutrients that can make it difficult for the human digestive systems to absorb the nutrients that the beans contain. Soaking and sprouting the beans deactivates these anti-nutrients so we can absorb the nutrients, making beans a usable source of food.
Soaking and sprouting beans have been a long-standing practice of traditional cultures. Unfortunately, with the onset of canned beans, we lost these practices. You can bring these traditional techniques back to your kitchen by purchasing dry beans and taking the extra step to soak and sprout them. Once you have done this, you can cook the beans any way you like.
Now that you know how to soak and sprout your beans, check out these videos on the best way to cook dried beans, as well as how to make a delicious bean and ham soup.
In addition to beans, you can also soak your oatmeal to help make it more digestible.
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How to Soak and Sprout Beans
- Colander or large strainer
- 2 cups Beans any variety
- 1 Filtered water sufficient to cover beans
- Place the beans in a bowl.
- Pour water over the beans sufficiently to cover them.
- Allow the beans to soak in filtered water overnight.
- In the warmer months, the beans should begin to show sprouts within 12 hours. If not, place beans in a colander and place the colander over a bowl. Moisten beans with filtered water twice per day to keep them moist. If fresh, the beans should sprout within 24 hours. If the beans are not fresh, they may not sprout. Leaving them in the colander longer may result in molding or spoiling due to a warmer kitchen in warmer months. You can try and cook the beans, but they may not soften because they are not fresh.
- In the cooler months, you can leave the beans in the colander, continuing to moisten them with filtered water twice daily. They should sprout within four days. If not, they are not fresh. As stated above, you can try to cook them, but they may not soften because they are not fresh.
- Once the beans have sprouted, they are ready to cook.
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