Microgreens. When I first heard this term, I had a vision in my head of some trendy restaurant in California where all the “beautiful” people eat like birds to maintain their figures. A vision of a waiter bringing out a white plate with microscopically small bits of food, aka the micro greens would take up the space of a dime if that. Customers would be given chopsticks and a pair of magnifying glasses so they could actually see where their microgreens were on the plate. They would of course announce how full they were afterwards claiming “I can’t eat another bite, or my pants will pop!”
Alas, microgreens are not microscopic, but they are very young plants that pack a nutritional and flavorful punch. Not to be confused with sprouts though which are different than microgreens. There are many differences between the two, mainly the stage of which the plant is harvested and method of growth. Quickly sprouts grow in the dark, in some water and are harvested within 2 to 3 days of germination, right when the sprout literally appears from the seedlings shell. Popular sprouts include mung beans, alfalfa, and red wheat but you can also find sprouting mixes which include radish and broccoli. Whereas microgreens are grown from any vegetable or herb in soil or water. They need sunlight or artificial light to grow and are harvested when the first true leaves (cotyledon leaves) appear on the plants which take closer to 1 to 3 weeks depending upon what’s being grown. Microgreens are smaller than baby greens, however.
Microgreens are also known as super foods since they pack a nutritional punch greater than their mature counterparts. A USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) report showed that quote equal weights in quote of microgreens contain 5 times more nutrients than found in mature leaves. They are an effective way of providing our bodies with the much-needed vitamins and minerals most diets lack. Minerals play a crucial role in the lives or all plants and animals. Humans can experience metabolic disorders, organ damage, disease, if they have mineral deficiencies. It can even be fatal. Calcium, and magnesium are necessary for good bone health and deficiencies can lead to osteoporosis. Microgreens are also rich in antioxidants which are associated with cancer preventing properties. Eating microgreens is therefore a smart choice when it comes to our diets.
When I use the word diet, I use it in the traditional sense of the word not what the Mad Men of Madison Ave bastardized its meaning in the 70’s, 80’s through to today. As far back as the 13th century diet meant “the food and drink we habitually consume” or “a way of life” from the classical Greek word ‘diata’. A diet wasn’t a temporary way of eating to achieve a goal it was simply the food and drink you consumed; some diets healthier than others as they are today.
Microgreens can be a wonderful new addition to everybody’s diets since they are grown from most any herb or vegetable. This huge selection makes it easier to find favorite flavors to include in your daily meals.
Microgreens must be eaten raw in order to get the full benefit of their nutritional impact. A little also goes a long way since the flavor is highly concentrated in these greens, much more potent than the mature plants. Microgreens can be easily added into a salad or sandwich, adding color, flavor and texture to your meal. You can also throw them into your smoothies or simply use them as a garnish.
Tower garden has made enjoying growing microgreens at home simple and easy so that health conscious consumers who want to eat healthier and have a constant supply of fresh produce. The USDA’s ARS report also showed that the microgreens available to consumers in the stores are sold in a plastic clamshell container which does not allow for the right balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide needed for the live greens to breathe. They recommend that microgreens are best grown at home. Sustainably, growing microgreens is a great way for urban families to grow highly nutritional seasonal vegetables at a low cost. Also cutting down on their carbon footprint in the process.
Savoy Cabbage microgreens have a good amount of calcium, 98mg per 100grams fresh weight.
Lettuce appears high in vitamin A and carotenoid antioxidants.
Purple Kohlrabi microgreens have a good amount of iron, 0.75mg per 100grams.
Radishes microgreens have a high mineral, vitamins and antioxidants content.
Wasabi microgreens are high in potassium
Amaranthaceae Family: amaranth, beats, Shard, quinoa, spinach
Amaryllidaceae Family: chives, garlic, leeks, onions
Apiaceae Family: carrots, dill, celery, fennel
Asteraceae Family: chicory, endive, lettuce, radicchio
Brassicaceae Family: arugula, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard, radish, watercress
Curcurbitaceae Family: cucumbers, melons, squash
Lamiaceae Family: (herbs) mint, basil, Rosemary, sage, oregano
Poaceae Family: (grasses and cereals) barley, corn, rice, oats and wheatgrass also legumes like peas, chickpeas and lentils
There are so many uses for microgreens beyond the toss in a salad or throw in a sandwich, both tasty ideas but there is so much more uses for them!
Our microgreens are about ready to enjoy in the next few days, perhaps we will toss them into a salad or a wrap! No wait, Pizza With Pesto, Mozzarella, And Arugula Microgreens — to many choices. Happy Gardening!