Friday, November 25, 2011

Bean Sprouts!

My latest obsession involves Bean Sprouts, Mung Bean Sprout that is.  Don't ask me why.  I appreciate their ability to retain their crisp, crunchiness no longer how long they are cooked. And they don't even need to be cooked, but to release their protein, cooking is required.

Identifying Mung Bean Sprouts

These sprouts have small light yellow leaves and a silvery white shoot. Supposedly, these sprouts produce a subtle nutty flavor, although I don't detect any flavor.

What is a sprout?

A sprout it is a vegetable seed that just begins growing. Sprouts grow from the seeds of vegetables, grains, and various beans - they are the first edible shoots.

You probably are most familiar of these little guys from Chinese cooking or have seen them on salad bars.

Are they good for me?

Yes!  Bean Sprouts are high in protein, vitamin C and folacin and for you calorie counters, 1 cup is a mere 26 calories.

What do they taste like?

To me, Mung Bean Sprouts don't really taste like anything - a delicate hint of sweetness at best.  I use them manly for the texture they add to dishes.  They have a clean, crisp crunch that I really enjoy.

How do I store my sprouts?

Even though Mung Bean Sprouts are the hardiest sprout there is, it fades quickly.  Usually lasting 2-3 days.  Keep in a plastic bag and store in the crisper.  I have been able to extend a full week with this method.  You can also try rinsing daily with cold water to extend their life.  If your intention is to cook with them, Mung Bean Sprouts can be frozen.  Once they appear brown and mushy, toss'em.

Mung Bean Sprouts have been linked to incidences of foodborne illnesses such as Salmonella in the U.S., so be sure to wash before using and if you're really concerned, don't consume raw.

So what to do with these little guys?
  • Stir-fries
  • Stews
  • Spring Rolls
  • Rice dish
  • Saute with onions and serve as a side
  • Raw in salad, coleslaw or potato salad
  • Add to sandwich or wrap
  • Add to broth based soups
  • Add to baked beans
  • Try in smoothies or juices

Give the Sprout a Shot!
The Hoff

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