Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How To Make A Bean Sprouter

Here's how to make a bean sprouter out of an old jam jar.

1. Start with a clean jam jar. Go for one with a plastic lid if you can, because it's going to be in contact with water a lot so a metal one will rust.

2. Get a piece of wood that fits inside the jam jar lid, and make a hole in the lid with a hammer and nail. You're just trying to make lots of holes in the lid. The wood is there because if you knocked the nail into the unsupported lid, it would just smash.

3. Make lots of holes. If you can be bothered to mark out a symmetrical pattern in advance - you're nuts.

4. Really, make lots and lots of holes. Water will drain through these and it's tiresome if it drains slowly. Make plenty of good-sized holes.

5. That's it. You've made your sprouter. Now to sprout some beans in it. Put about two tablespoons of mixed dried beans or seeds in the sprouter. Beans I like to sprout include:
  • mung beans
  • chickpeas
  • alfalfa seeds
  • mustard seeds
  • fenugreek seeds
  • aduki beans
  • soya beans
  • black-eyed peas
  • sunflower seeds
  • wheat grains
  • green and black lentils (not red)
  • buckwheat

6. Cover the beans with plenty of water (fill the jar to the top with water) and replace the lid. Leave on the kitchen windowsill overnight. The beans will swell a lot.

7. In the morning, drain the water by upending the jar on your draining board. All the water will run out of the holes you made. You'll be grateful you made plenty of holes.

8. Two or three times a day, pour clean water into to jar, swill your beans and drain them.

9. In a few days time the beans will have sprouted. When the little sprout is about the same length as the bean, they're ready to eat. If you don't want to eat them straight away, put them in the fridge which will stop the sprouts sprouting and keep them fresh.

You can buy sprouters of course. They cost up to £20. Actually the £20 one is probably worth it. It's made of terracotta and it's beautiful. What I find pretty shocking is that for £5 plus P&P you can buy a sprouter that's exactly the same as the home made one in the project.


Anonymous said...

Love the sprouter. I have to confess that I haven't actually tried sprouting beans myself.

Many many years ago I bought some bean sprouts (as in the white one for chinese cooking) but have not cooked any since.

I now and again do them for my chickens.

I really should give it a go - and make myself a bean spouter a-la-Mel

Moonwaves said...

Thanks again Mel. I've been meaning to do this since the last time you talked about how to sprout but never got around to it. Must have a root for a suitable jar. And I get to use the hammer. What fun! I even already have a posh packet of beans for sprouting (a "fitness mix" bought during my last burst of enthusiasm which didn't quite make it home with the packet of beans)!

Anonymous said...

Great instructions- love the hammer/wood/lid detail. It really looks do-able- so I am going to have a go.
I love bean sprouts, but since the local hygiene man told me about all the bugs growing in shop bean sprouts, it has put me off.
Thanks, I can't wait to get going, but first have to source the seeds. I suppose I could use homegrown sunflower seeds?

Z said...

It's really important not to forget to rinse them, isn't it - they smell awful if the water goes stale.

I sprout beans the same way and have done since the 1960s! - I do it for a few weeks and then lapse for a while. This is a good time of year to start, when the summer vegetables have finished and you crave something fresh and homegrown and raw.

Unknown said...

thanks for this post ~ I've been meaning to begin sprouting beans but just haven't got around to it ~ NOW I WILL DO IT !! :)

suz00 said...

Thanks for the post, I've been wanting to try this.

Anonymous said...

Great post - I was looking for information like this after watching 'Jamie at home' last night featuring bean sprouts. Where does one buy the beans from? Can you get them in supermarkets?

Melanie Rimmer said...

TopVeg - homegrown sunflower seeds would be great. You need to remove the tough husks first though.

Sally Dropout - yes, you don't have to buy beans sold for sprouting. Those tend to be much more expensive, especially since they are usually sold in tiny amounts. Ordinary bags of dried mung beans etc from the supermarket will be fine.

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent article. i have just bought some mung beans and will be doing this today. Thanks for the advice. Sara from farmingfriends

AMCSviatko said...

If you don't have a hammer you could always cover the top of the jar with an old bit of pantihose or other mesh fabric - keep it in place with either a large rubber band or a piece of string...

Anonymous said...

Can ayone tell me if you can sprout snake beans, I have heaps I have dried with my surplus supply and it would be great if I could sprout them

Anonymous said...

One suggestion for making your bean sprouter: make the holes from the inside out, instead of as illustrated in the how-to photos. the smallest part of the hole will be on the outside when you are draining, and easier to free if you get a clog. LaMujerAg

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the inspiration. Do you know if any beans or seeds are poisonous, you know like kidney beans and brown lentils have to be boiled for 10 minutes? Do you know if they are safe when sprouted? Sorry this is anonymous - haven't figured out how to have an id

Anonymous said...

instead of mashing your fingers with a hammer and nail, a bit of window screening (not the metal stuff) fastened over the top with an elastic band works just fine.

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lightseeker said...

AFter soaking the beans over night....just cover it with piece of wet cloth...and leave it for 8 hrs....
It will sprout big time......
I have done it 100 times..it works perfect...

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eda said...


Anonymous said...

thanks for the great advise, i couldn't find an old jar, so i used a couple of plastic, clear take away containers instead.This means i can stack them up, and have different sprouts in each!!!