How To Grow Microgreens
Microgreens, are almost exactly what they sound like – they are recently sprouted seedlings that you can add to a salad, finished dish, sandwich, and more to get a fresh and nutrient-dense boost to your meal.
These days, microgreens can be found at almost every farmer’s market and specialty food store, and have made it to the menus of many high-end restaurants. There’s been a lot of hype about them in the foodie world, and we’re here to see if they live up to it.
To sprout is to put forth shoots. This is a seed that has germinated enough to form a root or develop a first set of leaves. A slightly larger plant is a microgreen. Sprouts can be grown in a dark little corner of the kitchen and the chosen seeds might only need to be rinsed once or twice a day. Technically, the sprout is just the first shoots off the seed.
A sprout requires no soil, no fertilizer and no light. The sprout can shoot forth using just the energy provided within the seed. This is why a potato can sprout in a dark closet. Sprouts provide a collection of phytochemicals and nutrients that would otherwise be locked up in a dry seed.
It is necessary to eat sprouts quickly once they form to capture the nutrition. Packaged sprouts often include the seed, the shoot sand stems along with occasional tiny roots. Generally, you can and should eat all of it – seeds, shoots, roots, and stems.
According to some studies from the University of Pennsylvania, some microgreens and sprouts were found to have an increase in Vitamin C content within 72 hours of sprouting. At the beginning of a plant’s life cycle, it’s absorbing as many nutrients as it can to stimulate growth – making these tiny greens nutritional powerhouses when eaten.
Read More: Vitamin C & Immune Function
Some studies have found that microgreens and sprouts may even be more nutrient-dense than their full-grown counterparts: a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that microgreens may even contain up to 5 times the amount of vitamins and carotenoids (which have cancer-protective properties) as their fully mature stage.
Growing microgreens at home is easy and can save you a lot of money. Keep in mind – while you can grow any seed and eat it as a microgreen if they have edible stems and leaves, it’s best to get seeds that are labelled as microgreens as they are easier to sprout. Microgreens are different from sprouts in that they are generally larger than sprouts. Sprouts can be eaten whole (shoots, leaves, stems, roots, and seeds,) and do not require soil. Microgreens are larger plants, and only the leaves and stems are eaten.
Grow your microgreens indoors with bright light – so place them near a south-facing window. You can find microgreen-growing kits online or in many garden nurseries, but really all you need is a shallow container where you can spread soil, scatter seeds, and sprinkle soil on top of them. You can even use an old baking tray. There are commercial devices available too; one such is the Urbancultivator.
Let them grow for a week, and harvest by snipping the tops off the plant. Many types of microgreens will resprout after being snipped, giving you several harvests.
To fortify your overall health, we recommend curating a healthy diet and supplementing when necessary. It is very difficult to eat a diet with enough of the nutrients required for optimal health and wellness.
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