Beginner’s Guide to Microgreens

Beginner’s Guide to Microgreens

What the heck are microgreens??

The word “micro” here says it all. Microgreens are young seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs. Unlike larger herbs and vegetables that take weeks or months to grow, microgreens can be harvested and eaten a week to 10 days after the cotyledon — a part of the embryo within the seed — leaves have developed.

These tiny versions only grow to a few inches and can come in 50 to 60 different varieties. Microgreens were originally limited to fancy dinner plates and boutique grocery stores due to their higher cost. 

The use of microgreens has expanded now that they can be grown at home. You can add them to a salad, put them on a sandwich or top a steak or fish with them to provide a floral contrast.

Don’t confuse microgreens with sprouts. Sprouts are germinated in water, not soil, for one or two days to produce underdeveloped leaves. Microgreens grow in soil and sunlight and take at least a week to produce leaves.

Microgreens benefits

Despite their small stature, microgreens actually boast a more intense flavor than larger vegetables and herbs. One study even found they have more health benefits and can be up to 40 times more potent in phytochemicals.

1.  They help reduce your risk of heart disease.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, and the good news is that plant-based foods like microgreens have positive effects on blood pressure. “Any plant-based food with fiber and vitamin K has the potential to lower blood pressure,” says Auslander Moreno—along with the other blood pressure treatments recommended by your doc, of course.

2.  They might help fight cancer.

Auslander Moreno says plants, including microgreens, can have anti-cancer properties. In fact, research from the journal Future of Oncology found that sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli microgreens, has the potential to target cancer stem cells.

3.  They help boost your immune system.

If you feel the sniffles coming on, do yourself a favor and make a salad. “Any vegetable has the potential to be anti-inflammatory and potentially affect immunity in a positive way,” says Auslander Moreno. And microgreens pack a ton of these nutrients into an easy-to-eat package.

4.  They help improve eyesight.

Squinting at your screen? Increase your leafy green intake—which should include microgreens. According to Auslander Moreno, they contain lutein, a phytochemical implicated in vision health.

Research from Frontiers in Plant Science confirms the lutein content in microgreens can help your eyes absorb excess light intensity—which many office workers agree can lead to headaches and migraines.

5.  They reduce constipation.

As part of an overall healthy diet, microgreens might help speed things up in the bathroom. “Any fiber can help reduce constipation,” says Auslander Moreno.

6.  They help ward off digestive ailments.

According to Auslander Moreno, the high prebiotic fiber content in microgreens can help nourish the friendly probiotic organisms in your gut. The journal Gut Microbes backs that up: These prebiotic fibers stimulate the growth of intestinal bacteria associated with overall health and wellbeing.

7.  They might help lower cholesterol.

Researchers found that red cabbage microgreens can lower cholesterol and assist in weight loss when consuming an otherwise fatty diet, according to a small study published by The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Just more proof that microgreens are a great addition to an already healthy diet.

How to grow microgreens

As expensive as some microgreens are in grocery stores, you can easily grow them in your own kitchen with our range of microgreen grow kits.  All you need is light and water, the rest of the essentials are included in the grow kit.  

When to harvest and how to store

Moisten the soil as necessary and avoid overwatering. The microgreens should be ready to harvest in 10 days to two weeks once the true leaves (not the seed leaves) begin to sprout. Unfortunately, the microgreens won’t regrow after an initial harvest. To grow more, you will need new seed and soil.

There are at least three factors that affect the shelf life of microgreens:

  • storage temperature (humidity and light)
  • harvesting (cutting, washing, drying)
  • packaging and air mix.

Snip, Snip

A pair of sharp scissors is the best and easiest tool to harvest your greens. Hold a section of the microgreens loosely with one hand and with your other hand, place your scissors about 1 cm above the potting mix, and snip your greens. Some microgreens grow taller then others so make sure you adjust where you snip accordingly. The idea is to not snip close to your soil but to not waste the harvest by cutting your green too close to the leaves.

Growing your own microgreens allows you to harvest your greens whenever you need to and eat them within minutes. This gives you the freshest, tastiest, and most nutritious salad available right from your own home. 

Washing Your Greens

There are many schools of thought on this. Some say watering or rinsing is necessary, some say to do it if you want and others say to skip this step. Personally, I do give my microgreens a quick rinse just before eating them.

Keep It Fresh

I find it most effective to store my harvested microgreens in an airtight container or ziplock bag in the fridge and only to rinse the greens just before use. It is as simple as that…

What to make?

How do I eat my microgreens?  Best answer is, JUST THE WAY YOU WANT!!

Here are some ideas to help you to incorporate your homegrown greens into every meal.