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...


  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.


    Very disappointedly,

    Green Dragonette

  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

  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??

  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.

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

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

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

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

  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.

  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!

  11. I like the adventurous spirit!

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

  13. Top marks for trying them out.

  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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