What are microgreens?
What are microgreens? Microgreens are baby plants. Baby plants from green vegetables or herbs that have grown just above the ground, about 2 to 5 inches. As soon as the first leaves emerge, they are harvested and eaten. Because they have to get leaves, they grow in the light.
You can eat them raw or use them in dishes. In restaurants, the chef often uses them to add extra flavor, texture, or color to a dish. But you can also do this at home!
But they are most special because of the nutrients. Despite their size, the small plants are full of vitamins and other nutrients. They contain all the substances contained in the adult plant. But without calories. A kind of natural vitamin pills.
Microgreens; what are those?
Eat your vegetables! You know that advice. So what do you do with microgreens? With something that is ‘micro’ you cannot quickly reach the minimum of 250 grams of vegetables, do you? In this article, we explain the use of microgreens. And also how you can grow and eat them yourself.
Types of microgreens
Microgreens are not separate types of plants. In principle, you can grow microgreens from almost all seeds. There are also no separate types, but you can categorize them. The following vegetables and herbs are most commonly grown as microgreens.
- Finials family: broccoli, watercress, radish, cauliflower, and arugula
- Daisy family: lettuce, endive, and chicory
- Lace-cap family: dill, carrot, celery, and fennel
- Daffodil family: garlic, onion, and leek
- Amarant family: quinoa, amaranth, beet, and spinach
- Cucumber family: melon, cucumber, and zucchini
Small vitamin bombs
The small plants, therefore, contain a lot of healthy substances. According to research, the plants contain many vitamins, including vitamins A, C, E, and K. And because the plants are so small, they contain 25 to 40 times as many vitamins per 100 grams compared to the adult plant.
They also contain a high concentration of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are ‘bioactive substances’. Nutrients that are only found in plant foods. Such as fruit and vegetables, but also in grains, nuts, and spices. They are good for us, but unlike vitamins, they have no prescribed needs.
In addition, many varieties are rich in potassium, zinc, magnesium, and copper.
The difference with sprouts
Microgreens are not the same as sprouts. They are grown, harvested, and eaten in different ways. Grow microgreens in you in the vegetables and in the light. Sprouts on natural fibers, for example.
You harvest sprouts as soon as the first leaves are there. So they are still very small. You can leave microgreens a little longer. Not much longer, but 1 to 3 weeks. The plants are then between 2 and 5 centimeters in size.
You eat sprouts completely. With the seed still on the plant. Take a good look at a stalk of bean sprouts. You eat microgreens without seeds. You cut the leaves off the plant. The plant then continues to grow.
Grow your own microgreens
Growing microgreens is very easy. You just need a shallow tray and some soil. About 5 centimeters of green is sufficient. It does not have to be a special container. Any container without compartments and without a lid is good.
However, a propagator can be very useful. Most watering cans produce a large jet of water. This radius is too big for the small plants. A propagator has holes in the bottom that allow water to pass through. This way, the soil can be moistened from below.
You can of course also buy a watering can with a special head that atomizes the water.
Do you have the container with moist potting soil ready? Then rinse the seeds under the tap and spread them over the tray. You don’t have to take distance into account. The plants can grow close together.
You don’t cover the seeds. Not even with a little soil. The seeds need light. And you want clean leaves in the end. When the plants are about 5cm tall, cut the plant down to the root.
How do you eat microgreens?
Have you decided that you can use some extra vitamins? Or do you like to grow them? Then you probably also want to know how you eat them. You can eat them raw, for example in a salad or as a garnish on a dish.
You can add them to your sandwich or wrap. But they can also go very well through your smoothie. That way you give your smoothie a real vitamin boost, without making your smoothie taste very ‘green’. Microgreens also make it easier for your children to eat a lot of vitamins.