Bean sprouts are the tender edible shoots of germinated beans. Most people are familiar with mung bean sprouts in particular, but a wide assortment of seeds, nuts, grains, and beans can be sprouted. Their slightly crunchy texture and sweet flavor makes them a popular addition to an assortment of dishes. Because sprouts have become a common ingredient, many grocery stores carry them, and they can also be prepared at home.
Mung bean sprouts originate in Asia, where they have been made and used for thousands of years. Cultural diffusion led to the appearance of sprouts in other places and in other cuisines, and intrepid cooks began sprouting all sorts of things to add to their food. In most cases, they can be used raw or lightly cooked, and they should be used as quickly as possible. If they are going to be cooked, they can be frozen for up to three months.