We have to thank our friend Barbara Maddick for the suggestion of sprouting our own beans whilst on the road, thus giving us (ok, me – Tamar) a regular supply of fresh and healthy things to munch on.
I didn’t know the first thing about sprouting but Barbara assured me that after an overnight soak dried mung beans would become edible – no cooking required! Intrigued I did some googling (sproutpeople.org was very useful) and whilst most sites recommend a few days of sprouting time after the initial soak, my own experience matches Barbara’s: mung beans are absolutely palatable after just one night’s soak, but I think are even better at the end of a day’s sprouting. They’re so tasty that I have yet to leave them long enough to find out how they might taste after two days.
I’d read that you can use a hemp bag as a travelling sprouter and hang it outside your rucksack (or panniers), but I feared the tropical heat would dehydrate this too quickly, so I’ve cobbled together a sprouter that can sit inside our pannier pocket where it is protected a little from evaporation but still allows the beans to breathe so they don’t rot. If you’re using waterproof panniers you may have to find a different place for your sprouter.
The sprouter is made out of an old (clean) sock and an empty plastic peanut butter jar with the centre of the lid cut away to leave just the rim. (I recommend Steffi’s Delight peanut butter as it contains no added sugar).
So, what do you do next?
Before you go to bed:
• Empty some dried beans into the sock (remember that they double in size as they swell so don’t over-fill it).
• Knot the sock and drop it into the peanut butter jar.
• Pull the sock tight around the rim of the jar and secure using the remains of the lid.
• Fill the jar with fresh water and leave overnight.
In the morning:
• Empty the soak water away and rinse the knotted sock of beans with fresh water.
• Return the sock to the jar and re-secure (make sure the beans are suspended away from the bottom of the jar). Excess water will drain into the bottom of the jar so your pannier stays dry and air can enter through the top and circulate around the moist beans.
• Place in your pannier and start pedalling.
At the end of a day’s pedalling:
• Open up the sock and spoon out delicious, crunchy, sprouted beans. Nom, nom, nom!