You may have heard about sprouts and baby leaf vegetables. Have you heard of microgreens? You heard it right! Microgreens are young vegetable greens that fall between sprouts and baby leaf vegetables. Microgreens are of great nutritive value, with intense aromatic flavor, available in a wide range of colors and textures.
What are Microgreens?
These tiny greens are the premature leaves and stems of the herb plants and growing vegetables. The plantlet is generally just 7 to 14 days old, and 3 to 8 cm tall. These are younger than baby veggies.
Do not confuse microgreens with sprouts, which do not have leaves. The growing cycles in sprouts are much shorter i.e. of 2–7 days, whereas microgreens can be harvested 7–21 days post germination. This is done as soon as you see the first true leaves.
Microgreens are very similar to baby greens in which only the leaves and stems are considered comestible. However, contrasting to what’s seen in baby greens, microgreens are much smaller in size and can be sold before being harvested.
The amazing part about microgreens are that these taste just like their vegetable. For example, radish microgreens taste very similar to radishes and the pea shoots taste very much like peas.
You must understand that almost all the vegetables or herb that you eat can be enjoyed as a microgreen. Microgreens are now a choice of food due to their fresh taste, crispy crunch, and bright colors.
TOP 10 MICROGREENS
Below mentioned are some amazing top 10 microgreen that you can grow.
- Time taken to harvest is a bit long
- Simply cut top 1 or 2 inches from your microgreen; get more than one harvest
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Nutrient-dense foods
- Loaded with tons of minerals, vitamins and health benefits
- One of the fastest-growing microgreens
- Perfect choice to start with
- Rich nutrient content
- High in vitamin E, zinc, folate
- Has a mild taste
- Easy addition to a variety of dishes
- Vibrant red and purple stems of beet
- Brightens up any dish
- Makes a great garnish
- Brimmed with vitamin C
- Help boost immunity
- Keeps you healthy
- Adds flavor to food
- Bumped with protein, healthy fats and fibers
- Packed with nutrients
- One of the healthiest microgreens available
- Versatile microgreen
- Used to spice up foods like salads, sandwiches and soups
In case you plan to grow your microgreens, do not hunt for them. GNG offers some amazing microgreens that you can grow and that can add to your taste and also nutrition levels. These include microgreens of cabbage, radish, turnips (salgam), chana, mustard leaves (sarso) and spinach (palak).
Why are Microgreens the ‘Preferred Choice’?
The following are the uses of microgreens:
- High in Nutrients
- Contain Polyphenols
- Improve Heart Health
- Reduce Chronic Disease Risk
- Easy and Convenient
- Grown Year-Round
Microgreens Can Be Eaten in Several Simple Ways
It is best to eat the microgreens raw. When microgreens are cooked, their vitality may be
lost and they may also give away their precious water-soluble vitamins and enzymes.
- First rinse them thoroughlyEat them raw
- Add them to salads
- Sprinkle some lemon juice or dressing
- Garnish your meals with raw microgreens
- Include microgreens to your breakfast
- Use microgreen to garnish chicken, fish, or baked potato
- Include them in making sandwich or wraps
- Enhance the flavor of your soups, pasta dishes and stir fries with microgreens
- Include them in fruit drink or cocktail
When you grow your cute little microgreen or if you purchase them in soil, cut the healthy leaves and stems above the soil once they are 7 to 14 days old. You can eat them fresh, or you may refrigerate them.
Growing Microgreens Indoor and Outdoor
- Use seedling trays or recycled Styrofoam boxes to grow microgreens.
- Unlike sprouts, Microgreens grow under sunlight and are harvested once you see 4
or more true leaves.
- You can use organic, cocopeat, vermiculite, potting mix and sieved compost or worm castings for soil mix.
- Make sure that there are no large holes in the trays or boxes you use. With these your soil mix may leak out.
- Cover the base of the container using a sheet of moistened newspaper.
- Fill your tray with selected and required soil mix which is 2 – 3 cm deep and do not forget to moisten it.
- Soak the seed overnight.
- Scatter the seeds above the soil and gently pat them down; again cover this with 0.5 cm of mix.
- Place a lid or an inverted tray on top of your container. This will maintain the moisture needed for the seeds to sprout. Often water them using a sprayer.
- Improve the nutrient levels of your microgreen by adding diluted organic nutrients (kelp or compost tea)
- Microgreens can happily be grown indoors and outdoors. They can be grown on a well-lit bench or on a covered deck or in a shade house.
- If you plan to grow them indoors, start growing them in a warm place such as your kitchen; on sprouting, you can move them to a sunny spot.
- Harvest microgreens when you see 4 or more leaves. Shoots must be cut just above ground level. Many types of microgreens will regrow and can be cut many times. You can add the contents of the tray to the compost heap.
Re-growing Microgreens by Cutting
Yes, you heard it right! You can regrow microgreens. However, you would not actually want to regrow them. There are a few limitations of re-growing microgreens:
- Re-growing microgreens is not as efficient as the first growth
- Second growth can taste bitter
- After the first growth, the soil has less nutrients for the microgreens to absorb and so fertilizers will have to be added to provide the microgreens with good nutrients
How to Store Microgreens?
You can store the microgreens for a week if they are kept in fridge and if an air-tight container is used. You can put a damp cloth on the microgreens or store them as it is. You must keep them as dry as possible for them to last for a while.
Many products can be kept under wet conditions. However, these little microgreens are delicate and may wilt quickly when they are kept in moist conditions. Thus, keep them dry if you want them to last longer.
You can consume the microgreens within 2 to 4 days of purchase and if they are stored, you can even eat them after a week’s time.