Garden Diary - April 2020

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Starting to Sprout: Mung Beans
Friday, 3 April 2020

As I wrote here I'm growing microgreens and sprouts. I hope you'll want to do it yourself.
Come along and follow my adventures - it is really so easy that "adventure" is an exageration.
I got seeds for a diverse selection of sprouts and microgreens from Johnny's Selected Seeds.

I have three different kinds of seeds to sprout. They will be ready to harvest, depending on which seed and desired maturity, in 7 to 12 or 14 days. Rather than plethora of sprouts I decide to "sow" a small quantity of one kind. With a nostalgic whim I decided to begin with mung beans.

Here's a definition of bean sprouts from the Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook.
Gloria Bley Miller includes recipes such as a bean sprout salad that starts with a
pound of sprouts and not much else. I want sufficient for a stir fry for two people.

There are directions on the back side of the resealable packet of mung beans that I have for sprouting, from Johnny's Selected Seeds. I decide that since the bean sprouts will grow to twice, or even three times (the longer they grow the greater the volume) the volume of the mung bean seeds I start with, I'll sprout a Tablespoon. Why so little? Two reasons. Firstly, I'm not looking to store sprouts in the refrigerator. Instead, I'm planning to use them up in one meal, stir frying with celery, carrot, broccoli, onion, and mushrooms. Secondly, my plan is to start another "sprout garden" in three or four days. That should give me something to harvest every week.

Note: Seeds are not all the same. These mung bean seeds are intended to be eaten, so it is safe to consume them. Mung bean seeds intended for planting in a garden may have ben treated to deter pests. It would not be wise to eat those seeds.

I have a pint canning jar, a ring, a piece of water permeable landscape fabric,
and the seeds. You could also use window screening in place of the fabric.
If so, use the fiberglass mesh rather than metal. Easier to cut, more flexible.

Place the seeds in the jar and cover with a generous amount of water.
They will now sit in a shady place on my kitchen countertop overnight.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Notice that the water is no longer absolutely clear, and that
the mung beans have swollen to the point that they are now
a double layer on the bottom of the jar, not just a single one.

The water was poured out. Fresh water added and the mung beans gently swirled about. Water then drained, and beans left with just whatever moisture is clinging to the beans and the glass. Morning and evening, give them a rinse.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

The white roots are begining to emerge, and
the olive drab seed coats have loosened.

Thursday, 8 April 2020

Look at this! I think these mung bean sprouts are ready to harvest.

Rinsed, loose green hulls removed, plated up. Remember the spoonful, looking
rather scanty. Told you they sprout and grow, and a spoonful will be enough.

The ingredients for our stir fry. Starting at the top: thin sliced beef marinated with
soy sauce, onion, home grown sprouts, sliced mushrooms, a bowl of sliced celery,
and carrots in the centerbowl. Drain meat, stir fry in wok, remove when browned.

Add a little more oil to wok, add carrots, stir around, add onion and mushrooms.
Give them a couple of minutes, add celery. In a couple of minutes add a cup of
broth and the marinade and quickly clap the lid on the wok. When carrot pieces
are tender add the sprouts. Stir to gently warm - you want to keep them crisp.

Plate up, ladling the vegetables over rice, then top with meat and sprinkle with
some cut green scallion. The sprouts may not show in the picture but they are
nicely crispy crunchy as you eat. Good flavors, nice textures. A pleasant meal.

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