by Dr. Mark “Merriwether” Vorderbruggen, Food Chemist
Hard beans are a standard “survival food” since they supply essential protein and calories, not to mention they can be stored for years.
Any hard bean can be sprouted, and sprouting actually increases the amount of bioavailable nutrients. For example, when you sprout beans, the amount of vitamin C available in them jumps up 7 to 24 times!
If you have a jar, a bit of cloth, beans, and access to clean water (including boiled “wild” water that isn’t contaminated with chemicals) you’re ready to greatly improve the nutritional content of your meals.
Please note, this can take 36 or more hours to get the beans to the right stage for eating so you may want to set up several jars to have a rolling supply of sprouts.
Note: Photo is copyrighted by author and not to be used without permission.
1. Prepare ½ cup of hard beans to be soaked by first going through and removing any broken beans, pebbles, or non-bean items.
2. Place the ½ cup of beans in a quart container and rinse them 2-3 times with fresh water to clean them off.
3. Leave the beans in the container and fill to the 1 quart level with fresh water.
4. Place a piece of loose-weave cloth over the top, help in place with a rubber band or string. You want the beans to be able to “breathe” but you also want to keep the water from becoming contaminated with wild bacteria or yeast.
5. Let it sit for eight hours or overnight if started late in the day.
6. After 8 hours/overnight has passed pour out the water and rinse the swollen beans 3 times with fresh water. Drain out as much of that water as you can. After the third rinse don’t add more water.
7. Replace the fabric over the top of the jar and set the jar tilted with the fabric-covered opening lowest and the bottom of the jar up so as to allow the remaining water to drain out. The beans should NOT be clumped together at the opening but rather they should run the length of the bottom of the jar so they can get air. Set this in a cool spot, ideally between 60F to 70F.
8. Set an alarm on your phone for every 3-4 hours.
9. When the phone alarm goes off rinse and drain the beans three times, then re-cover and set tilted as described in steps 6 and 7.
10. Keep repeating step 9 (though you can sleep during the night, lol) until the beans have sprouted “tails” at least 1 to 1.5 times the length of the bean body.
11. Eat! The rinsing is to make sure nothing bad starts growing on the beans but even with all that washing there’s still a chance. If you notice any unpleasant, non-bean smells discard the batch and boil the container for 5-10 minutes to sterilize it.
Once sprouted, store the beans in your refrigerator. You can eat the sprouts raw or to insure they’re sterilized, briefly sauté them in a hot pan for just a minute. Vitamin C is broken down by high temperatures, losing 10% of the vitamin C for every minute above 180F. Bacteria and the such is generally killed at temperatures above 140F so you really don’t need much heat.
About the Author
Mark Vorderbruggen started one of the top foraging sites on the internet in 2008, but he has been a forager all his life. Both his parents’ families used foraged foods to survive during the Great Depression, and they passed their knowledge on to him. Knowing how to harvest nature’s free food fed him through the poverty years of his childhood and while getting a master’s degree in medicinal chemistry and a PhD in physical organic chemistry. For the last 18 years, he has worked as a research chemist in the oil industry, using his knowledge of natural products to develop environmentally friendly replacements for traditional oil field chemicals. However, his evenings and weekends are spent guiding people back to nature’s bounty, not only teaching them which plants are edible and/or medicinal, but also proselytizing how foraging heals the body, mind, and soul … and prepares them for the zombie apocalypse!
* Editors Note: I don’t think it’s going to be Zombies, ha, but hey, it’s good to be prepared for anything! 😉 Knowing how to sprout is a good start!
Check out author’s website here: https://www.foragingtexas.com/
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