IT’S AN old Chinese custom this eating of soybeans—plain and sprouted. But we’re just beginning to give the beans credit as a top-ranking food, supplying good quality protein, fat, minerals and vitamins for our health’s sake.
Good as the plain ones are, sprouting makes them better. It changes the oldshell-backs into a tender delicately flavored vegetable which cooks in a few minutes instead of a few hours, and without soaking. Their food value is higher too, for Vitamin C develops as the sprouts grow and the beans become a rival of tomatoes in this quality.
You can buy fresh sprouts in many Chinese food shops. Or you can sprout the beans right in your own kitchen. It’s really no trick at all if you follow these few directions and take a few precautions. First of all be sure that the beans you buy are the vegetable type, not preheated or processed, as this destroys them for growing purposes. Wash the beans thoroughly and put them in a scrupulously clean jar. Keep moist but not wet for they mold easily (a little chlorinated lime in the water helps to prevent spoiling). Give them the dark but airy atmosphere in which they thrive. Here’s how you do it:
Sort over the beans and pick out imperfect ones. Wash well. Soak overnight in a weak chlorinated lime solution (to 34 pound of beans use 134 pints of lukewarm water and a tiny pinch of chlorinated lime). Next morning, drain, fill widemouthed jars 34 full of beans. Tie cheesecloth over the jar opening, invert on your broiler rack or tilt upside down with a small stick underneath to allow air in. Cover jars with a paper bag or towel and keep in a dark well-ventilated place. Fill jars with plain water three or four times a day, drain and leave upside down tilted for drainage and air. Each evening use the lime
solution in proportions given above in place of plain water, to prevent molding over night. Up-end, over a stick. Repeat process for three to five days. The beans, sprouts and all, are ready to use when sprouts have grown to two inches. Rinse well to loosen and remove skins from the beans. Cover and keep in the refrigerator. Use within a few days.
Fried—Cook in a small amount of melted fat until browned, add a little water, cover and simmer about 10 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Or lightly brown a few onion slices along with the sprouts. Season with salt and pepper.
Boiled—Cook, covered, in boiling salted water for 15 minutes. Skim off any skins that float to the top. Season with salt, pepper and butter and serve as a vegetable. Add boiled sprouts to vegetable casseroles, soups, . stews, omelets, scrambled eggs or chop suey dishes. Chop them and add to sandwich spread or to your favorite meat loaf.
To Use In Salads—The sprouts may be eaten as they are or dropped in boiling water for three minutes, drained, dipped in cold water, drained again and chilled. They add crispness and a delicate flavor to almost any salad combination.
Tossed Garden Salad
34 Cupful of shredded cabbage or spinach leaves
1 Cupful of shredded lettuce
^4 Cupful of diced celery
34 Cupful of shredded raw carrot
3 or 4 Green spring onions, cut fine
2 Tablespoonfuls of chopped
34 Cupful of sprouted soybeans
Toss together with well-seasoned French dressing and serve at once. Six servings.
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