Mung bean sprouts: nutritional benefits and sprouting instructions


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Mung beans germinate easily and are ready to harvest as sprouts after just a few days. Fresh, crunchy mung bean sprouts can be used in various ways in the kitchen. Find out how to grow your own here.

Bowls of sprouted and unsprouted mung beans
Germinating mung beans is easy and rewards you with fresh, crunchy sprouts [Photo: fotolotos/]

The problem of germ contamination among many commercially available sprouts has been known for some time. Luckily for us, growing sprouts is easy to do at home. Read on to learn how to sprout mung beans yourself.

By the way: sometimes mung bean sprouts are available in shops as ‘soybean sprouts’, which can lead to confusion when shopping.

What is the difference between mung bean and soybean sprouts?

Unlike alfalfa sprouts, for which the names alfalfa and lucerne are used synonymously, mung beans (Vigna radiata) and soybeans (Glycine max) are two different plants. Even more confusingly, mung bean sprouts are also often sold as soybean sprouts or green soybean sprouts.

However, it is easy to distinguish between the two types of sprouts by taking a closer look at the seeds. Mung bean seeds are green, whilst soybean seeds are yellow to beige and slightly larger. However, mung beans partially lose their coloured seed coat during germination, making it more difficult to tell the sprouts apart.

Mung beans and soybeans displayed
Mung bean seeds are green, while soybeans are yellow-beige [Photo: suchada kupraditphan/]

There are also differences in how mung bean sprouts and soybean sprouts grow and are used. Essentially, mung beans are easier to sprout, as soybean sprouts are more susceptible to mould. Like many legumes (Fabaceae), soybean sprouts contain the toxic substance phasin, which only heat can destroy. They therefore need to be blanched before consumption. Although they belong to the same family, mung beans are an exception because germinated mung beans can be eaten raw.

Pile of mung bean sprouts
The seed coat is usually removed from store-bought mung bean sprouts [Photo: Nitavin/]

How to sprout mung beans yourself

Mung bean sprouts are a good choice for sprouting at home as they germinate quickly, reliably and are high-yielding. They are also relatively undemanding when it comes to sprouting equipment. Sprouting jars or sprouting trays are ideal for growing mung bean sprouts, or you can even sprout them in a sieve placed in a bowl. Since mung bean sprouts are grown indoors, they can be cultivated all year round. Especially in winter, when there are few regional vegetables available, they can be a nutritious addition to your diet.

Tip: when sprouting mung beans in a jar, their volume can increase up to seven times. Therefore, we recommend using fewer seeds at the beginning. After the first sprouting attempts, you can better estimate the ideal number of seeds for filling up the jar or sprouting tray without it getting overly crowded.

Mung bean sprouts in jar
Sprouting jars are good for sprouting mung beans [Photo: FotoHelin/]

Instructions: how to sprout mung beans

  1. Rinse the seeds thoroughly under running water
  2. Soak the sprouts in fresh water for about 12 hours
  3. Pour out the water and store the sprout jar upside down. When using sprouting trays or other sprouting devices, spread the seeds flat across the surface
  4. Set your germinator to 18 – 20 °C. If you want really white sprouts, it is possible to successfully sprout mung beans in complete darkness
  5. Rinse the sprouts with fresh, lukewarm water 2 – 3 times a day
  6. After 3 – 4 days, you can harvest the mung bean sprouts, but you can also let them grow a little longer if you prefer

How to grow thick mung bean sprouts: ever wondered why mung bean sprouts that you germinate yourself are usually longer and thinner than the “soybean sprouts” available in the shops? It is because those sprouts are weighted down during germination and so are forced to grow stronger and push upwards. The easiest way to do this at home is by using sprouting trays. To do this, spread the seeds close together in the sprouting tray after soaking. Then place a plate over them. It should not touch the seeds directly but should not be more than 1cm above them. Put a maximum weight of 1kg on the plate. This can be done with a stone, a mortar or weight plates, for example. The plate must then be removed for rinsing, of course.

Mung beans sprouts on a plate
Home-sprouted mung bean sprouts are usually thinner and less straight than store-bought ones [Photo: Aakruti/]

Mung bean sprouts: nutrition and benefits

Mung bean sprouts are very healthy. Like many other sprouts, they are packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E and niacin as well as potassium, phosphorus and iron. Mung bean sprouts are also rich in dietary fibre and are relatively high in protein for a vegetable, with about 3g of protein per 100g.

With their sweet taste, the crunchy, healthy mung bean sprouts are an integral part of many Asian dishes. They can be found in soups, spring rolls and wok dishes, for example. When adding mung bean sprouts in dishes, do so shortly before serving to preserve their crunch and nutritional value. Sprouted mung beans are also excellent raw, for example in salads or as a sandwich topping.

Bowl of salad topped with mung bean sprouts
In addition to Asian dishes, mung bean sprouts are also very good in salads [Photo: ksenee/]

Can you eat mung bean sprouts raw? Healthy adults can eat mung bean sprouts raw with no problems, as the amount of harmful phasin is so low that it has practically no effect. If you still would rather stay on the safe side, blanch the sprouts briefly before consumption. The mung bean sprout seed coat can generally be eaten without concern.

Broccoli sprouts are also very healthy and can be used in a variety of ways. In our separate article, we explain what to bear in mind when growing your own broccoli sprouts.

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