Pinto beans are a versatile, inexpensive legume. They are delicious in soups and stews and are widely used in Tex-Mex style foods. Beans and other seeds contain certain anti-nutrients. These anti-nutrients preserve the seed until it has a chance to germinate and grow. The soaking and sprouting process may help reduce anti-nutrients. Sprouted beans are more nutrient dense, cook faster than unsprouted beans and are much easier to digest.
Pinto beans do not sprout as reliably as some other beans. Because of their lower germination rate, pinto sprouts can be considered done even if only 50% of them have sprouted. Like other beans, one quarter inch of sprout is enough to get all the benefit.
Bean Sprouting Process
First, decide how far to take the sprouting process. For cooking purposes, use a shorter-sprouted pinto bean. For raw eating in salads or sandwiches a longer sprout may be desirable.
Plan to use a larger vessel such as a large colander or a gallon jar for two cups of long-sprouted pinto beans. For the short-sprouted pinto beans a quart or half-gallon jar is sufficient.
Rinse and soak the pinto beans overnight.
In the morning drain and rinse the pinto beans thoroughly. When using a jar with a sprouting screen, invert the jar to allow any extra water to run off. Leave a colander over a bowl or sink and cover it with a towel in order to keep airflow going while keeping bugs out.
Repeat 2-3 times per day until the sprouts are the desired length. Short-sprouted beans this should take around three days. Longer sprouted beans may take up to six days.
It is normal for the skins to loosen and come off the beans. Either pick the skins out or leave them in as they do not affect the flavor.
Allow beans to drain for several hours before transferring to a covered container. Store sprouts in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.