What are Microgreens?

Microgreens are gaining popularity. I’ve never heard of microgreens until I noticed the term “microgreens” on the menu at my favorite local restaurant. Then again this past weekend! This time microgreens had their own booth at Cleveland VegFest over the weekend! The microgreens vendor gave me a sample of sunflower micro greens to taste and they were fabulous! I was thinking to myself…Where have microgreens been my whole life? I did some personal research about microgreens and I learned that microgreens offer much more than just a pretty plate; they deserve their own blog post! Here’s the scoop.

What are Microgreens?

Microgreens are actually defined as a “marketing term” described by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Microgreens may be small in size, but their flavor is more profound than a bean sprout and fully grown greens. Microgreens are typically harvested when they are seven and fourteen days old and are one to three inches in height.

How do Microgreens Taste?

The taste of microgreens vary in taste depending on the type of plant. Here is my own opinion on mouthfeel, taste, and texture.

  • Sunflower Microgreens-expect somewhat of a “crunch” on the first bite due to the thickness of the microgreens. The more you chew, the buttery-sweet flavors hit your tongue as it rejoices. These would accompany a panini sandwich quite nicely. Or provide an refreshing flavor on top a leafy green salad with sunflower seed kernels or raw shelled hemp seeds.
  • Radish Microgreens-the spiciness wasn’t immediately detected for me. I was not disappointed though! I have grown partial to spicy food lately and this was perfectly balanced!

Other common types of microgreens include blends of red and green mustard, horseradish, broccoli, and pea. Unfortunately, I have not tried these yet! When I do, I’ll be sure to update this blog post.

Nutrition Perks

A study from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) found that, at equal weights, almost all of the microgreens contained about five times more nutrients than found in the mature leaves of the same plants*.  However, one must consider where the microgreens are grown, when they are harvested, and the type of soil used. All of these factors have an impact on the nutritional value of the microgreens. However, USDA’s ARS did find that red cabbage microgreens were highest in Vitamin C and green daikon radish microgreens contained the most Vitamin E*.

How to Use Microgreens

Microgreens honestly pair wonderfully with any dish. If you have guests over for dinner, impress them by adding microgreens as a garnish on top of the main entree. Be creative with microgreens. However, microgreens are not meant to be cooked nor or they meant to be stored in a plastic container because they need to breathe! If you find them in a grocery store or farmer’s market; they need to be used up as soon as possible. It’s always recommended to wash microgreens before eating alike other produce items. If you have a green thumb, try growing microgreens at home. They look quite quaint on a kitchen windowsill with proper sunlight and water.

*Reference: Specialty Greens Pack a Nutritional Punch

 

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