This is the time of year one starts thinking about planning their garden for the coming season and maybe trying something a little different this year.
I have been enjoying mung beans in the sprouted form for many years now. I came to find out about the mung bean and its benefits many years ago after receiving chemotherapy. I became anemic and had to search out sources to bring my iron levels up in order to increase my RBC (Red Blood Cell Count).
Mung beans are a very valuable legume. They are sources of not only iron but, many vitamins, minerals and a bonus for me, high in protein.For those that are doing plant-based diets, mung beans are one of the best sources for plant protein.
Warning: As with most beans they contain some phytic acid (which reduces absorption of calcium, zinc and magnesium) and should be soaked for a few hours to leach this out before cooking. The good thing about sprouts is that it reduces this phytic acid through the sprouting process.
Where to Find Mung Beans
My first source for Mung beans was a health food store. I later realized I could buy “bulk” from an Asian market. I only buy organic. For me I feel “safer” if I can grow most of what I consume, I know what goes into it and how it is handled and processed. So, me being me, I thought “why not try growing my own?” I live in Western North Carolina and we do very well with beans and legumes so why wouldn’t this be do-able? It proved to be very “do-able”!
Sprouting Your Seeds
I usually start with a tablespoon of seeds and add to a canning jar.
I first soak in about 1 cup warm water for about 6 hours. I use cheesecloth to cover the jar (you can use a rubber band or canning ring to hold the cloth on). After a few hours you can rinse the seed and put cloth back on jar. Rinse at least 2 times daily. Keep in a dark area (not cabinet) or cover with a dark cloth or black plastic bag. You should have sprouts in about 3 to 7 days. You want the sprouts you’re going to use to plant to have several leaves started (a microgreen at this point). I’ve also grown them in a colander in a black bag…this grows the best sprouts for eating (they’re more plump).
You can also start these sprouts in a seed sprouter if you have one…just make sure the sprouts are large enough to plant.
Planting Mung Bean Sprouts
Note: You can start your plants several ways
- Take some sprouted mung beans from your recent sprouting project.
- Start inside in cells (or other container) with soil.
- Wait until all danger of frost is over when you would normally plant your beans and legumes (not as early as most people plant their peas). In our area, it would be sometime after May 10th.
Plant about one-inch deep (if sowing from seed) and 2 to 5 inches apart. If using from sprouted or inside starts just make sure you plant deep enough to cover the roots. Remember, ground temp should be about 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
We use natural compost (from our goats) on our garden so, we don’t use any additional fertilizers. I use the same practice of planting/growing mung beans as I do with my “dry” beans. These legumes do not grow high and have a “bush” tendency (14 to 18in tall).
They take 90-120 days to mature (it all depends on weather). Leave until dry and then harvest. Just shell out like you would a “dry” bean. These can be frozen for when needed. You can store in canning jars but make sure the mung beans are completely dry or they will go bad.
If you don’t like sprouts there are many uses for mung beans. They can be ground into a flour to make gluten-free tortilla/flat breads and noodles. The mung bean can be added to veggie burgers, eaten in soups and dals — so, many different ideas!
Give it a grow and enjoy!
Susan Tipton-Fox continues the farming and preserving practices that have been passed down to her by her family. She presents on-farm workshops in Yancey County, N.C., and growing her on-farm agritourism by promoting “workshop stays” on the farm Connect with Susan at The Mushroom Hut @ Fox Farms and on Facebook. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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