Friday, 6 April 2012

Who needs Mung Beans?

When you buy "beansprouts" in the shops they are usually Mung Bean sprouts. They are lovely and crunchy served raw in a salad or lightly cooked in a Chinese-style stir-fry. But do you know what these are...?


I bet you didn't guess. They are the sprouts from the seeds of a Butternut Squash! About twice the size of Mung Bean sprouts.

I found them growing in one of my compost bins. Sorry about the poor quality of this photo, but I haven't had much practice taking photos inside a compost bin!


With the lid on, the inside of the bin would have been almost completely dark, so the germinating seeds have reached up towards what was probably only a tiny vestige of light. They are about 15cm / 6in tall and completely "blanched".


I was immediately reminded of a meal I once had when I was working in Sweden: It was an amazing salad and it included huge sprouts very like these. I never did find out exactly what they were, but in retrospect maybe they were indeed Pumpkin / Squash sprouts. There is no doubt about the identity of these ones - you can see that some of them still had the seed-casings attached.


Anyway, this was an opportunity for free food that was too good to miss, so I picked as many as I could find.


This where they ended up - as an ingredient in an Oriental-style soup:


In the soup was home-made chicken stock, some leftover chicken meat, mushrooms, broccoli, julienned fresh ginger, fresh chilli, Five-Spice powder, salt, pepper and of course the squash sprouts. Yummy!
"What were the Butternut Squash sprouts like?" you ask. Well, to be honest, a bit insipid, and Jane found that they left her with a slightly bitter after-taste. Probably not worth cultivating then, but you don't know till you've tried! I think we'll stick with Mung Bean sprouts...

15 comments:

  1. I am very disappointed in you Mark...I did expect better from you...

    How can you not know how to take photos from inside a compost bin!!

    I fear your fellow bloggers will now desert you in droves following this dreadful confession.

    All I can say is please do not let this happen again.

    Yours,

    Very disappointedly,

    Green Dragonette

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  2. I am not sure that I would have been brave enough to try them and thanks for the experiment - as I'll not grow them for eating

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  3. Green Dragonette; You obviously are a newcomer to my blog. There was a time when I posted several photos of the inside of my compost-bins, in an attempt to illustrate the multiplicity of worms inhabiting them, but we'll gloss over that. Maybe I should install webcams in them to watch the creepy-crawlies??

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  4. Hmmm, I don't think I would have harvested anything growing in my compost bin. You never know what you're missing till you try though, so good for you giving it a go. I have to admit that the soup looks pretty good, even if it didn't taste so.

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  5. My favorite sprout of all is the pea sprout. Yum. Weirdly I've never grown them myself. I ought to some time.

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  6. I never eat any sprouts but this looked good.

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  7. I eat a lot of sprouts..but butternut squash..never! Beautiful photos though Mark. Must add..you and Jane were brave. Don't think I would have done that, but gives me grit to try .. .. .. maybe.

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  8. Nice surprise free food. They might be more insipid if its green instead of blanched due to lack of light.

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  9. I get quite a few of these in my worm bin. I never thought to try eat them and thanks to this post I wont. Amazing how they grow with no light.

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  10. Looks like you could start a new trend Mark - I could lend you a few bob if you can't afford to eat proper food!

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  11. I like the adventurous spirit!

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  12. Sue; No such luck I'm afraid. You'll have to put up with me for a bit longer... :)

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  13. Top marks for trying them out.

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  14. Mark - Typically the bigger sprouts used in Asian cuisine are soybean sprouts (not sure about Sweden) and they are tasty like mung bean sprouts!

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