Fermented sprouts, or aka sprout kraut, are a tasty addition that go well with salads or smoothies. Bean sprouts also adds great nutritional value to the dish.
Let's see how to make an easy sprout kraut now:
- Bean sprouts
We can begin with:
Step 1: Prep the Bean Sprouts
For the sprouts, you can choose newly germinated plants from legumes or other vegetables. The sprouts from beans are particularly nutritious. We'll be using green bean or mung bean sprouts in this case.
Choose younger sprouts from 3 cm (1 in.) long as they usually provide a better taste. The older, longer sprouts are often less tasty and have a more chewy texture.
After you've harvested the bean sprouts, wash them in diluted salt water. You can cut off the roots (it's okay to keep them though) and get rid of the bean skin. Then, soak the sprouts in warm water 70C (158F) for 10 minutes.
These small prep steps help kill off any potentially bad bacteria living on the sprouts and increase the bio-activation properties. The warm bath really helps get that nice sweet aroma out of the sprouts, especially for bean sprouts.
Step 2: Prep the Spices
The spices are what make a difference in the taste of the sprout kraut. For this, you can choose whatever best fits your taste. The options are limitless and you can mix and match different spices:
- Dried chili pepper
- Coriander seeds
- Dried rosemary leaves
- Powdered lemongrass + chili pepper + ginger
You can add or omit the spices to your liking. The amount for each spice can be about half a teaspoon. It's better to use dried herbs/spices than fresh ones for better chances of success.
After you've chosen the spice that you like, smash them up into a bowl all mixed together.
Step 3: Mixing Sprouts + Salt + Spices
After bathing the sprouts in warm water for 10 minutes, take them out, let them cool and let the water drip off a bit. During the bath, any bean skin remaining will sink down to the bottom, making it very easy to filter them out at this stage.
Then, mix in some salt (aka dry salting). We don't add any water here as a brine solution, but use the water inside the sprouts themselves to make the brine. Like sauerkraut, the percentage of salt we use for sprout kraut is 2%. For 200 grams of sprouts, we'll be using 4 grams of salt. You can use pink salt (aka Himalaya salt) or Celtic salt for best nutritional value.
After that, add in the spices and mix them up. The sprouts now are really beginning to smell really good (that you'd want a bite). You can stuff the spiced sprouts in the jar now; however, because they are still firm and fluffy, it may be slightly harder to stuff in.
You can let the sprouts sit for half an hour or 2 hours so they turn more runny and softer. The hand-mixing can also make them soft. It will then be easier to put them into the jar.
Step 4: Put Spiced Sprouts In the Jar & Add Top Layer Of Oil
Prepare a mason jar for the sprouts. Before using, you can steam sterilize it. If you dip the jar into hot boiling water for sterilizing, you can put a knife or spoon (or some metal utensils) in the jar to prevent jar cracking.
Then, put the sprouts into the jar. Wipe off any sprouts sticking on the wall.
Compress the contents down tightly to squeeze air out. And finally, add a top layer of oil. A layer from 0.5-1 cm (1/4 - 1/2 in.) will be good enough.
This top layer acts as a barrier to prevent air or molds from getting in. So the sprouts can do their job fermenting nicely underneath. Leave no sprouts poking up above the oil.
For the oil, you can use sesame or olive oil. Sesame oil tastes great for sprout kraut. Olive oil is also a healthy option. To use the oil efficiently, you can make a large batch in a small mouth jar. This way, as the open area of the jar is smaller, the amount of oil you pour in will also be less.
Then, close the lid, date it and we can begin the fermentation process.
The Next Two Stages
After closing the lid, you can let the kraut jar sit at room temperature on your countertop to kickstart the fermentation. Depending on your local weather, it could be 1-2 days or longer. If it's too cold where you're at, place the jar near the side of the fridge for warmth.
After a few days, you may see a lot of air bubbles floating up on the surface and around the smaller gaps between the sprouts. The bubbles may push the sprouts above the oil layer a bit. When you see the bubbles, it's a good time we can begin the second step.
After the room temperature stage, we'll place our sprout kraut in a cooler/the fridge for at least 3 weeks. Above 4C (39.2F) and below 10C (50F) would be good enough. During this stage, we'll do the slow fermentation process. This is to enhance the scent and flavor of the sprouts.
When you take the sprouts out after 21 days, you may see some white sediments at the bottom. These are the minerals + yeast + the dead bodies of yeast. It is good and is still edible. Then, the next layer of sprouts has a nice color blended with the oil that has dripped down a bit. And the top layer of sprouts has a darker color.
The smell is nice. And it tastes really good.
How Long Will The Sprout Kraut Be Good For?
The sprout kraut can be good for a long time, 3 months or more. The point when you should you discard the jar though, is if you see signs of molds (like green, yellow, black, pink etc.) on top. Also if it gets slimy, you may want to throw it away and start a new batch.
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