Adzuki beans are thought to originate in China, and are prized in Asian cuisine, they are used in both sweet and savory applications and often used for celebratory and festival dishes. These dark red beans are relatively small, with a distinctive white ridge on one side. They cook quickly, and are more easily digested than many other beans.
The most common use of adzuki beans in Asian cuisines - especially Japanese - is in sweet drinks, dessert soups, and various buns and pastries stuffed with sweetened red bean paste. Western cuisine has adopted the adzuki bean most commonly in savory applications, such as soups, stews, casseroles, and burritos. Adzuki beans are excellent in vegan dishes, as their texture is hearty and somewhat meat-like. Adzuki beans are also very delicious when soaked and left to sprout - the sprouts are crunchy and absolutely delicious in salads, stir fries, and wraps.
Adzuki beans have a rich, earthy, nutty, and sweet flavor, and rich red colour when cooked. They are complimented by warm spices such as ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, or chili powder, and go well with other ingredients such as tamari, miso, onion, coconut milk, rice, yam, sweet potato, squash or pumpkin.
Like all legumes, they are an excellent source of nutrition, they are a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc copper, manganese and B vitamins. As a high-potassium, low-sodium food they can help reduce blood pressure and act as a natural diuretic. When combined with grains, beans supply high quality protein, which provides a healthy alternative to meat or other animal protein.
In Japan, adzuki beans are known for their healing properties and are used to support kidney and bladder function. Gillian McKeith is a huge fan of the adzuki bean and refers to it as the 'weight loss' bean as it is low in calories and fat but high in nutrients.
How to grow Sprouting Seeds:
Seeds are just plants waiting to happen; dry they are in a dormant state and only need water and light to become a living entity. Seeds sprout fastest in a warm light airy place, out of direct sunlight, with an ambient temperature of 18 to 22°C (65 to 72°F), which is pretty much the condition of most kitchens. All you need is a large glass jar with a screw top lid and water.
You can use a purpose made sprouter, there are many inexpensive types available, or you can make your own by piercing the lid of a wide mouth jar to make drainage holes or securing a square of muslin over the top of the jar with an elastic band. Many of the sprouts can simply be grown on cotton wool or kitchen towel, remember when you were a child - one egg box, filled with cotton wool and - bingo! - mustard and cress is yours within ten days.
Sprouting the Seeds:
Put seeds into a bowl or into your sprouter. Add 2 to 3 times as much cool (16°C/60°F) water. Mix seeds up to assure even water contact and soak for 6-12 hours.
Empty the seeds into your sprouter (if necessary) and drain off the soak water, then rinse again and drain thoroughly.
Set your sprouter anywhere out of direct sunlight and at room temperature (21°C/70°F is optimal) between rinses. Rinse and drain again every 8 to 12 hours for 3 days.
Note: Brassicas tend to float. Try to sink those that do by knocking them down with your fingers. Most of those floating seeds will sink during the hours they are soaking.
On the fourth day if you've been keeping them away from light, move them into some light. Avoid direct sun as it can cook your sprouts. Indirect sunlight is best, but you will be amazed at how little light sprouts require to green up.
Continue to rinse and drain every 8 to 12 hours.
This is where your sprouts do their growing. Your sprouts will be done during day 5 or 6.The majority will have open leaves which will be green if you exposed them to light.
These wonderful little Brassica plants have a unique root structure. Brassicas will show microscopic roots starting around day 3. They are called root hairs and are most visible just before rinsing when the sprouts are at their driest. When you rinse the root hairs will collapse back against the main root. Many people make the mistake of thinking these root hairs are mold, but they are not
Before your final Rinse remove the seed hulls. Brassica sprout hulls are quite large (relative to the seed and sprout) and they hold a lot of water (which can dramatically lessen the shelf life of your sprouts), so we remove them
Transfer the sprouts to a big (at least 3 to 4 times the volume of your sprouter) pot or bowl, fill with cool water, loosen the sprout mass and agitate with your hand. Skim the hulls off the surface. Return the sprouts to your sprouter for their rinse and drain. Your sprouts are done 8 to 12 hours after your final rinse.
After the de-hulling and the final rinse, drain very thoroughly and let the sprouts dry a little. If we minimize the surface moisture of the sprouts they store much better in refrigeration, so either let them sit for 8 to 12 hours or use a salad spinner to dry the sprouts after their final rinse and skip the final 8 to12 hour wait, instead going directly to refrigeration.
Transfer the sprout crop to a plastic bag or the sealed container of your choice.
Adzuki Beans are a bean a cultivar created by man they are not found in the wild. They were probably developed in China and were introduced into Japan around 1000 AD.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 50 grams Common Name Microleaf or Miniveg Harvest Yield: 5:1. Time to Harvest Seed to Sprout: 3 to 6 days. Notes Seed Shelf Life at 21°C (70°F): 4 to 5 years.
Sprout Shelf Life: 2 to 6 weeks