Since ancient times, people have eaten newly sprouted bean seeds, and modern science adds to their appeal with findings that they are rich in vitamins. Bean sprouts are easily grown at home and can be eaten cooked or raw.
Bean sprouts will grow with or without light, and the growing conditions you provide determine the color of the sprout, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Seeds sprouted in the dark stay white, while seeds exposed to light take on a green coloration.
Moisture is essential to growing bean sprouts. The North Carolina Cooperative Extension recommends soaking them for 6 to 8 hours to begin, then draining the water and sprinkling them with water twice per day to keep them moist.
Unfortunately, the damp conditions in which sprouts grow also foster bacterial growth; recalls of commercially grown sprouts highlight possible food safety issues. In an April 2009 article, "Science Daily" reported on several natural sanitation methods and concluded that blanching sprouts kills most pathogens while only minimally reducing germination rates.
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Bean Sprouts and Other Vegetable Seed Sprouts
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Bean Sprouts
- Science Daily: Hot Solution to Bean Sprout Safety
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About this Author
First published in 2000, Dawn Walls-Thumma has served as an editor for Bartleby and Antithesis Common literary magazines. Her work has been published academically and in creative journals. Walls-Thumma writes about education, gardening, and sustainable living. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and writing from University of Maryland, and is a graduate student in education at American Public University.