What are Microgreens?
What are Microgreens?
In San Francisco, Microgreens first appeared on chefs' menus in the 1980s. A few variations were first provided; these included: arugula, basil, beets, kale, cilantro, and a colorful combination of those known as a "Rainbow Mix."
Now a day more and more people across the United States are growing Microgreens, with an expanding variety, after spreading eastward from California.
Currently, there are many Microgreens seed companies and growers in the U.S. market for Microgreens.
Here, the word "micro" speaks for itself. Microgreens are the young seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs.
A central stem, cotyledon leaf or leaves, and often the first pair of very young genuine leaves are the three basic components of Microgreens.
Microgreens are a stage between sprouts and baby greens, to be precise.
In other words,
- Baby greens are 3 to 4 weeks old,
- Sprouts are 2 to 5 days old,
- And Microgreens are 7 to 14 days old.
Microgreens are young vegetable greens range in height from 2.5 to 7.5 cm, or about 1-3 inches.
They come in a range of hues and textures, have a fragrant flavor, and contain concentrated amounts of nutrients.
Are Sprouts Microgreens?
Microgreens are a young vegetable, much like sprouts. Sprouts and Microgreens, however, are not the same.
The growing period, when comparing Microgreens and sprouts, is the key distinction between the two. Sprouts usually take 3 to 5 days to grow before harvest; however, some types may take a bit longer, up to 6-7 days.
Microgreens typically require 7 to 14 days. For a greater flavor, some growers like to grow them for up to 25 days, or until the first set of genuine leaves have spread. Particularly the herb-type verities, like lovage and oregano, are typically slow growers.
The plant transforms into a Microgreen once the cotyledon leaves, the embryonic leaves, have fully matured and the first genuine leaves have appeared.
Sprouts usually grow in water or damp bags typically in warm and dark settings. Microgreens grow hydroponically or in soil and requires sunlight to grow.
Microgreens Health Benefits
They as a dietary supplement might provide a number of advantages.
Rich in nutrientsMany products made from fresh plants offer fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
These nutrients may be useful for:
- avoiding various illnesses
- managing weight
- enhancing physical and mental well-being
Similar to mature greens, microgreens frequently have higher concentrations of these nutrients. As a result, they might also lower the risk of the following illnesses:
- Alzheimer's disease: Meals high in polyphenols, such as foods high in antioxidants, may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
- Certain cancers: Consuming fruits and vegetables strong in antioxidants and polyphenols may help prevent several types of cancer. Microgreens high in polyphenols might produce effects that are comparable.
- Diabetes: A nutritious diet may lessen the kind of stress that interferes with cells' ability to effectively absorb sugar. In lab experiments, fenugreek microgreens were discovered to have a 25–44% increased ability to absorb sugar into cells.
Cardiovascular Disease: Polyphenols, a class of antioxidants linked to a lower risk of heart disease, are abundant in microgreens. Microgreens may lower triglyceride and "bad" LDL cholesterol levels, according to animal research.
Microgreens are a fantastic source of vitamin and minerals that can improve you health. These leaves are not only more nutrient-dense than mature ones, but they also contain more antioxidants and other vitamins.
Microgreens contain a lot of these nutrients because the plant is only a tiny fraction of its adult size. According to US Department of Agriculture research, two typical forms of food—cilantro and amaranth—were more nutrient-dense than their adult counterparts, ounce for ounce.
Red cabbage made into Microgreens has more vitamin C than the original vegetable, making it a good source of the vitamin; however, this does not imply that all Microgreens are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Different Types of Microgreens
Micro greens come in literally hundreds of varieties. The majority of vegetable varieties can be cultivated as microgreens, in addition to other plants, some flowers, some grains, including rice and barley (which is less common), and some legumes, like mung beans.
Microgreens can provide a wide variety of investment prospects, flavors, colors, and textures due to the variety of varieties.
Even though each species of microgreen is unique, they are all simple and quick to develop and can come from a wide variety of plant families.
The following plant families' seeds are used to create the most popular microgreens varieties:
The Brassicaceae Family
There are some well-known plants in the Brassicaceae family that are edible microgreens. Arugula, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, radish, turnip, and watercress are a few examples of popular variations.
One of the most widely consumed microgreens is this one.
The Asteraceae Family
The Asteraceae family, which is most known for its floral plants, also contains numerous spices and plants that would produce excellent microgreens.
This family of microgreens includes common plants including lettuce, chicory, and marigolds.
The Apiaceae Family
Many of the plants in the Apiaceae family that make up this category are used as herbs and spices. Anise, coriander, cumin, and dill are a few famous spices and herbs.
In addition to being utilized as adult counterparts, such as carrots, celery, and parsley, this family also includes several plants that are frequently used as microgreens.
The Amaryllidaceae Family
The flowers of the Amaryllidaceae plant family are more well-known. You might be shocked to hear that the Amaryllidaceae family includes chives, garlic, onions, and leeks.
Numerous species of this plant family are ideal for cultivating as microgreens.
The Amaranthaceae Family
The Amaranthaceae family of plants is dominated by the color red. Beets and chard are examples of plants of the Amaranthaceae plant family. Many members of this plant family have been grown and harvested as microgreens over the years for their nutrient content.
The Cucurbitaceae Family
Cucurbitaceae is a plant family that includes cucumbers, gourds, melons, pumpkins, and squash on the list of microgreens. The Cucurbitaceae family of plants is primarily found in tropical and subtropical areas, and they are recognized for their enormous, frequently edible fruits.
The Poaceae Family
Numerous varieties of cereal and grasses, including barley, corn, oats, rice, and wheatgrass, are members of this plant family. The Poaceae plant family includes many legumes, including beans, chickpeas, and lentils.
The Lamiaceae Family
Many common herbs including basil, mint, oregano, rosemary, and sage are members of the Lamiaceae plant family. Many delicious recipes benefit from the richer, more potent flavors that microgreens produced from these plants offer.
They are one of the typical microgreens that are available in shops or that you can easily produce at home.
How to Use Microgreens in Your Diet?
Microgreens are incredibly adaptable, with tastes ranging from carrot to wasabi and hues from green to pink. The most often used applications for microgreens are mixing in salads, layering in sandwiches, garnishing drinks, seasoning soup etc.
Generally speaking, it is not advisable to cook microgreens since the high heat depletes their tremendous nutritional value and because they are already so tender and crisp, they don't require the heat to soften them. However, there are a few exceptions, such adding mung bean sprouts at the end of your stir fry.
How to Grow Microgreens?
Growing microgreens is simple and convenient because it doesn't take much time or money. They are capable of year-round indoor or outdoor growth.
What you'll need is as follows:
- Good Quality Seeds
- A suitable growing medium, like homemade compost or potting soil in a container. An alternative is to use a single-use growth pad made especially for microgreens.
- Proper lighting, ideally lasting 12 to 16 hours every day and consisting of ultraviolet or sunlight.
- Fill your container with soil and then lightly water it. Avoid over compression.
- Spread the seed of your choice over the soil in a uniform layer.
- Spray your seeds with water sparingly, then put a plastic lid on your container.
- Every day, check on your tray and sprinkle the seeds with water as necessary to keep them moist.
- You can take off the plastic lid to expose the seeds to light after a few days of germination.
- While your microgreens are growing and changing color, water once daily.
- Your microgreens should be ready to harvest after 7–10 days.
Even for city dwellers, adding microgreens to meals may be a fun and useful way to include fresh, nutritious fruit. They may have more nutrients than their conventional counterparts and can add flavor to both sweet and savory dishes.
Children who participate in the planting, caring, and harvesting of microgreens on a window sill with their parents or other adults may develop a greater enthusiasm for eating vegetables.
Growing microgreens can be a practical and affordable approach to put fresh food on the table in terms of price and sustainability.