Storing Bean Sprouts: The Home Grower's Guide

After buying or growing bean sprouts it’s essential to use the correct method of storage to extend the shelf life. We’ll explore four methods of storing your bean sprouts: refrigerating, freezing, pickling and canning. Each has their own unique pros and cons for storing.

 

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What Is Sprouting?

Sprouting is the process of beans, legumes or seeds germinating to produce shoots. Popular sprouts include bean sprouts, broccoli sprouts and alfalfa sprouts. In recent years, sprouting has become more trendy and research has now shown sprouts contain many health benefits too. 
The most notable are the health benefits of broccoli sprouts, promoting detoxification, alleviating autoimmunity and reduction in anxiety.  For more information we would recommend checking out ProHealth. All sprouts contain different amounts of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients therefore will have differing health benefits too.
To grow sprouts start by soaking your beans, legumes or seeds in water for 6-8 hours before thoroughly washing twice per day. After 3-4 days white shoots will have fully grown and you can eat.

 

Why Is Storage Important?

Sprouts are notorious for containing food borne bacteria and for also causing food poisoning too - commonly contaminants are e coli and salmonella. Therefore selecting the right storage method for you and correctly storing them is essential.

 

Considerations Before Storing

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There are a few different things to consider before you store your sprouts: the amount of time you want to keep your sprouts stored; how you’re going to eat or consume your sprouts after you’ve stored them. 
Storage Time - Each method of storage will keep the sprouts edible for different amounts of time. If you’ll consume within a few days consider the fridge or ice water methods, whereas for long-term storage you should use the freezing method. 
How You’re Going To Eat - Frozen bean sprouts are perfect if you’d like to grab a handful and add to your favourite stir-fry, you can consume a little and infrequently. If however you’re wanting to mix fresh sprouts into a salad make sure you keep them in the fridge - nobody wants a soggy salad!
Are They Homegrown Or Grocery Store Sprouts? -  If you have just brought bean sprouts from a grocery store then it’s best suggested to place the package they came in straight into the fridge. It’s already ready to store, no need to do extra preparations. 

 

Methods For Storage

The three main methods for storing bean sprouts are in the fridge, ice-water,  freezer, pickling and canning. In this section we will focus on how to store your bean sprouts in the fridge and freezer. Bean sprouts should never be left out on your countertops once sprouted - they are likely to go moldy very quickly.
As soon as they’re harvested, select the best storage method for you and get them put away!

 

Refrigerating Bean Sprouts

Storing your bean sprouts in the fridge is the easiest method of storage. It takes less than five minutes and you can have crunchy sprouts for weeks.
How Long Do Bean Sprouts Last In The Fridge?
You can store bean sprouts for 2-6 weeks in the fridge. Be sure they’re dry, don’t smell and aren’t moldy before consuming.
How To Store Bean Sprouts In The Fridge?
A super simple yet effective method for storing bean sprouts in the fridge.
Equipment Required:
  • Plastic Or Ceramic Bowl
  • Kitchen Towel
  • Tea Towel
Storage Method:
1.  Thoroughly rinse your freshly sprouted beans until clean
2.  Spread on a tea towel and leave until dry
3.  Line your bowl with kitchen towel
4.  Place your dried sprouts into the bowl
5.  Cover with kitchen towel and place in the fridge

 

Freezing Bean Sprouts

Freezing is the best solution for storing your sprouts if you have a lot. Keeping them in the freezer is convenient and easy. When you freeze food it stops the growth of bacteria keeping it fresher for longer.
How Long Do Bean Sprouts Last In The Freezer?
Frozen bean sprouts should be stored for no longer than 3 months in the freezer. Although they won’t go bad after 3 months it’s likely that the fresh taste will no longer be there. Some people have even claimed to have eaten their bean sprouts up to 12 months later from the first storage!
How To Store Bean Sprouts In The Freezer?
Your simple fool-proof method to freezing bean sprouts.
Equipment Required:
  • Baking tray
  • Parchment paper
  • Zip lock bag
  • Tea Towel
Storage Method:
1.  Thoroughly wash your bean sprouts
2.  Place on your tea towel and leave until dry
3.  Place parchment paper on your baking sheet before transferring your sprouts on top
4.  Spread out evenly
5.  Place in the freezer for 10 minutes
6.  Remove from the freezer add to your zip lock bag
7.  Remember to write the date on your bag!
8.  Consume within 3 months

Ice Water

A less conventional method for storing your sprouts is to leave them in a bucket of icy water. I would recommend this if you have just finished growing them and would like to consume the same day or next. This method ensures that your sprouts remain crisp and crunchy.
Equipment Required:
  • Large bowl
  • Ice
  • Colander
Ice Water Method:
1.  Thoroughly wash your bean sprouts
2.  Add your ice to the bowl and top up with water
3.  Place your bean sprouts inside the large bowl
4.  Change the ice and water a few times per day
5.  Drain with a colander and leave to dry when ready to eat

 

Pickling & Canning Bean Sprouts

It’s common to find pickled and canned sprouts in grocery stores and asian supermarkets. They’re relatively inexpensive and tasty too. Most home canning and pickling is done with seasonal produce, and as bean sprouts grow so quickly all year round, we won’t recommend this as a home storage method.
Home canning and pickling is likely to result in soggy sprouts that have little to no nutritional benefits. Therefore “preppers” and “homesteaders” typically will not endorse the long term preservation of bean sprouts. We would recommend getting yourself a kit that you can produce bean sprouts quickly if in a doomsday scenario. 
If you already have pickled and canned bean sprouts, we would suggest storing in a cool and dark environment until ready to consume. Remember to always write the storage date and thoroughly inspect for any mold before eating.

 

Signs Your Sprouts Have Gone Bad

 

moldy_orange

 

There are a few clear signs your bean sprouts have gone bad, you can tell by the look of them and also by the smell of them. Bean sprouts can go bad very quickly if left in a damp and warm environment therefore be sure to check them thoroughly before eating.
Bean sprouts grow so quickly and are very inexpensive that you shouldn’t think twice about throwing them out, starting again and thoroughly cleaning all equipment.
Smell Bad - Bean sprouts typically do not smell of anything distinctly. If anything slightly earthy, just like other salad items. If your sprouts smell rotten, or putrid be sure to throw them out immediately. 
Mold - Visible signs of mold, fuzzy layers of white or green suggest that your sprouts have gone bad. There should not be any mold on your sprouts during or after sprouting.
Note - If you’re still unsure and think your sprouts may have gone bad then we wouldn’t recommend to risk it. Thrown them away and start the process again.

 

Common Sprout Storage Questions

How Long Does Cooked Bean Sprouts Last In The Fridge?
This depends. If you blanch sprouts before putting them back in the fridge then you should consume them within several days. If however you have incorporated them into a dish, such as a meat stir-fry then we would suggest finishing within one day.
Can You Eat Out Of Date Bean Sprouts?
Store bought bean sprouts should be eaten within their recommended date range. If you don’t have the packaging refer to the smell and appearance to know if they’re still good to eat or not.
Should I Wash Bean Sprouts?
Yes, you should always thoroughly wash your sprouts. During the growing stage it’s recommended that you wash your sprouts two-three times per day, before leaving them to dry out. After the shoots have finished sprouting you should also wash and dry before storing. Before eating we would also suggest washing, just as you would clean other vegetables.
What Can I Do With Extra Bean Sprouts?
Bean sprouts are an extremely versatile vegetable. You can add them to salads, stir-fries, chop them up and add them into pasta sauces. Or if you want to eat later you can also freeze them quickly and easily too.
Can I Freeze Bean Sprouts Without Blanching?
This is not recommended. As bean sprouts are susceptible to bacterial growth, it’s essential to blanch them, killing all the germs. After which you should freeze them.

 

Looking For Sprouting Equipment, Seeds, Advice For Where To Begin? Check Out Our Guide To The Best Sprouting Gear For You.

 

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