Anyhow, I started looking online for how to sprout these things, because a kilogram of mung beans makes enough hummus to make anyone sick. And I fell into the rabbit hole of sprouting.
A bit of a confession here - I'm terrible at gardening. I hate sunshine, dirt, bugs, and weeds. Nature isn't my thing. I love me some chemicals, but I also like fresh food without the chemicals. If you're like me, you'll love sprouting.
The most popular way to start sprouts is in a quart mason jar, but for my mung beans I started with a recycled ice cream tub. I put a couple of orphaned lids for plastic containers in the bottom, with holes poked in them for drainage, then a couple of paper towels, and 1/4 cup of soaked beans (soaked overnight), and then a couple more paper towels. It's dry here, so the paper towels helped keep the beans moist but not wet. And, I kept them covered with a linen dishtowel while they were growing - mung beans like it dark. Here's that result after just 4 days:
They had a much better flavor than bean sprouts from the store, sweet and a bit like snow peas. But the set up was a little fiddly - they have to be thoroughly rinsed a couple of times per day, there were always a few that tried to escape during the process. I also tried it in jars, but the sprouts in jars tended to be shorter and more curly. The best way I tried was in recycled clamshells from strawberries. In each cleaned clamshell, I put a paper towel (to keep the little beans from escaping through the drainage holes, a couple of tablespoons of soaked beans, and then another paper towel. The second paper towel probably isn't necessary if you're in a humid climate. It was really easy to just pop open the lid, rinse, and then close it back up and set it back on a tray to drain. Here's the result:
You'll notice that the second clamshell is nearly empty. That's because of snacking - my kids eat the hell out of these. They're good in stir frys, but great on salads and sandwiches too. My favorite is a slice of cheese, onion, and bean sprouts on rye. Nom.
I'm not going to bore you with pics of the alfalfa and mixed green sprouts in jars, but I also tried the French Garden Microgreens from sproutpeople.org in a tray with a mix of soil and Orbeez. The Orbees are a superabsorbent polymer originally developed to retain water in agriculture. I used two packets (300 Orbeez) mixed with potting soil, and about a pint of water in a tray 1" deep, soaked all day, and then spread with a tablespoon of soaked seeds:
Then, I sprayed them several times per day with water, and 7 days later, this:
They're adorable and tasty, but I'll probably stick to sprouting in jars for these little guys. Using the Orbeez was effective though, they did provide a sort of drainage that made it possible to grow microgreens without fancy trays - these are just grown in a recycled container with no drainage holes.
So there it is, my sprouts and microgreens. If you like fresh greens, but have a black thumb, these are just the best. My beans came from bulkfoods.com, and the alfalfa and salad mix from sproutpeople.org. I'm enjoying all the sprouts, and love knowing that when Winter comes, I can still grow fresh salad. :)