February 8th, 2012 If you’re and Office fan, than bean sprouts might make you think of Creed, notorious for growing bean sprouts in his desk drawer: Michael Scott: Ok, Ryan, you told Toby that Creed has a distinct old man smell. Creed: I know exactly what he's talking about. I sprout mung beans on a damp paper towel in my desk drawer. Very nutritious, but they smell like death. In reality, bean sprouts do not smell like death, but Creed is right: they are highly nutritious. Bean sprouts are germinated from mung beans, a mall green bean native to the Indian subcontinent. Mung beans are used fresh and dried in a variety of ways, from sweet to savoury, and in China, Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, and many other parts of Southeast Asia. To sprout mung beans, they are first soaked overnight in cold water, then rinsed and thoroughly drained. They are then transferred to a container with good drainage and placed in a dark spot to germinate. Over three days, they are rinsed and drained every twelve hours and kept in darkness. On the fourth day, sprouts are soaked for fifteen minutes, drained, and then allowed one final growth over 24 hours, with no rinsing. Medicinally and nutritionally, sprouts have a long history: According to the folklore in the South-east Asia, Admiral Zheng-He (1371-1433) was the pioneer in growing bean sprouts for food. Ancient Chinese physicians recognized and prescribed sprouts for curing many disorders over 5,000 years ago! Long before vitamin C was available in convenient pill form, bean sprouts were used as a main source of Vitamin-C and other vitamins for sailors who were away from land for extended periods for long voyages. Bean sprouts can be eaten raw or cooked. They are stir-fried as a Chinese vegetable accompaniment to a meal, usually with garlic, ginger, and green onions. Uncooked bean sprouts are used in Vietnamese spring rolls as well as a garnish for pho. In Korea, blanched sprouts are mixed with sesame oil, garlic, salt, and green onions and served as a side dish, called sukjunamul (our recipe of the week!). They can be blended into fruit or a vegetable juice, added to soups or stews, combined with rice dishes, or added to a vegetable stir-fry. Since sprouts (including alfalfa , mung, and soy) are really just beans that have been sprouted, they are high in protein. One cup of bean sprouts contains 26 calories, 2.5 grams of protein, as well as fiber, vitamin C, iron, and folate. Grown locally, sprouts are an excellent source of environmentally sustainable and healthy protein!