What's the Deal with Microgreens?

By Mike McGrath

Contributor

Post Date / 09/19/2017

Microgreens are everywhere. The delicate little vegetables are cropping up in fancy restaurants and grocery stores alike. They’re being praised for their bright flavors, fresh colors, and nutritional power. But what, exactly, are microgreens?

Microgreens are not baby greens, which are small versions of the mature plant. Nor are they sprouts, which are geminated seeds. Microgreens are the leaves and stems of plants which are harvested about two weeks after germination, when the plants are only two-three inches tall. While sprouts germinate in water, microgreens require soil and sunlight.

Microgreens include salad and leafy greens, edible flowers, and herbs. They have a more intense taste than mature greens, and can are often added to salads or used as garnish in soups and salads.

The tiny greens are said to be packed with nutrients, a fact studies are beginning to back up. When the USDA Agricultural Research Service compared equal weights of microgreens and mature plants they discovered microgreens contained, on average, five times as many vitamins and carotenoids as the mature leaves.

Growing Microgreens at Home

Microgreens are a popular and trendy food, and that’s reflected in their price. They’re more expensive than mature plants, and their delicate nature means they have a very short shelf life. Fortunately, they’re easy to grow at home.

If you’re a beginner, either purchase a mixed seed microgreens package or plant a single type of seed—cauliflower, broccoli, chia, mustard, buckwheat, cabbage, and buckwheat are all easy to grow.

Cover the bottom of a container with one or two inches of potting soil. Use your hand to flatten and level the soil. Do this gently—you don’t want to over compress the soil.

Scatter the seeds evenly and press them gently into the soil. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil, then, using a mister, dampen the surface. (alternately, just cover the container with plastic wrap until the seeds sprout).

If using the mister, mist the soil twice a day until the seeds sprout. The soil should be moist but not too wet. When the seeds sprout, continue to mist once or twice a day until the seedlings are two inches high. Harvest with a pair of scissors. If you continue misting, seedlings may regrow and give you several harvests.

Not sure you want to go through the trouble of sprouting your own microgreens?  Kiwami Greens mixes young barley leaf, ashitaba, matcha, sencha and prebiotics in a convenient powdered form which helps you meet your daily nutritional requirements.

Sources
https://www.ars.usda.gov/news-events/news/research-news/2014/specialty-greens-pack-a-nutritional-punch/
http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/how-to-grow-microgreens/7987.html

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