Mung beans are the seeds of the plant Vigna radiata, which is widely cultivated in India, China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Burma, and the hot and dry regions of Southern Europe and Southern USA. The plant is actually native to India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The seeds of this plant are oval-shaped with a green-colored husk. But the hulled beans are yellow in color, and they are referred to as 'mung dal'.
Mung beans are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A, B, and E, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. The nutritional value of this food is further enhanced, when the beans sprout or germinate. As the seeds germinate, the enzymes present in them activate the inactive nutrients, which makes the sprouts extremely nutritious.
How to Sprout Mung Beans
You can sprout mung beans in both light and dark conditions, but the usual method is to expose the beans to natural or artificial light for about 4 hours a day. For sprouting mung beans, you will need organic and dry mung beans, a glass canning jar, and a sprouting lid or a nylon mesh screen.
To begin with, rinse the beans thoroughly and put them in the canning jar. Now, fill the jar with water and let the beans soak in water overnight. Next day, rinse the beans carefully, and drain the excess water with a strainer. Put them back in the canning jar, and cover the mouth of the jar with a light cloth or the sprouting lid. Ideally, rinsing should be done for about 2 to 3 times a day for the first three days.
As the beans sprout (which usually takes place within 2 to 3 days), their skin or the hulls come out. To remove the hulls, you can put the beans in a large bowl, and rinse them thoroughly. Try to remove as many hulls as possible, after which rinse the beans again, and return them to the glass jar.
You can stop the sprouting process on the second day, or wait till the fourth day to get really large and plump sprouts. Once the sprouts are ready, do not forget to rinse them for the last time to remove as many hulls as possible. Now, drain the excess water, and put the sprouts in a dry canning jar with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the jar in the refrigerator.
The sprouts can last for 2 to 3 weeks, as mung beans have a long shelf life. But it is better to smell the sprouts to check their freshness before using them. One important thing to be kept in mind is that the beans can double their size while germinating. So, sprout the amount of beans that you can consume within 2 to 3 weeks.
Mung bean sprouts can be eaten raw or added to salads. They are a rich source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. But unlike other beans, they do not cause the problem of flatulence, as they are easily digestible. So, they can be enjoyed even by children and people with a delicate digestive system. You can easily prepare this nutritious food at home, and they are sure to help you stay healthy by providing a great many essential nutrients.