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An Overview of True Leaves Microgreens

The art of crystallized flowers

There is a saying, “As goes California, so goes the nation.” When it comes to fashion, lifestyle and food, this is often true. If you look at the growth in popularity of true leaves microgreens, you have more proof of that.

What are true leaves microgreens?

It is important to point out what they are not. Sprouts are not microgreens. True leaves microgreens are the leaves that are picked during a certain part of the lifecycle of the plant. Micro basil, for instance, is not a different plant than traditional basil but the harvest time is different. The leaves are as young as 14 days old. You can get microgreens in a number of tasty varieties.

What is their history?

Chefs in San Francisco began adding them to their dishes in the mid-1980s. They did this to add color, flavor and a fun texture to their dishes. They were not really talked about officially until the 1990s. The first use of the word “microgeeen” was documented in 1998. That is when the tasty treats began making their way east. Today, they are grown all over the country. They have even popped up in several other countries.

Early on, there were only a few varieties of true leaves microgreens. The first kinds were arugula, beets, kale, basil, cilantro, and a medley called Rainbow Mix. Since the 1980s, the list of available microgreens has exploded. You can still get all of the original true leaves microgreens but you can also find a huge number of others including broccoli, radishes, pak choi, mustard and too many more to list.

Why use true leaves microgreens?

These tiny versions of the plants we already love to eat are colorful and flavorful. There is a reason chefs started using them back in the 1980s. They add something special to a meal. If you have kids, you know how hard it is to get them to eat sometimes. Children respond to color on a plate. Studies show that children want to see at least six food colors and at least seven different food components on their plates. By contrast, adults only need three food colors and three food components.

If you want to get your kids more interested in eating try adding true leaves microgreens. While we are on that subject, another way to go with kids is edible flowers. There are over 100 types of edible flowers.

How do I use true leaves microgreens?

There has been a big push in the last few year for people to grown their own microgreens but it is not as easy as people like to make it look. Unless that is how you want to spend all of your free time, you really can get wonderfully fresh and great quality microgreens at your local market. You can also indulge in a much larger variety if you buy them at the store than you could ever get if you grew them at home.

There are some things you should consider when you buy them. They do not have the shelf life that other produce has. You should buy them the same day or within a few days of when you plan to use them. These are not items you buy and then keep in your fridge for a week. They should be kept at 4 degrees Celsius or 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

There is a quality rating system for microgeens. It does from one to five. One is the worst quality and five is the best. it is rare to find true leaves microgreens with a quality rating under three but if you do find it, do not buy it.

If you are looking to add these to the dishes you know your family likes, you should try the different varieties before you add them to anything. The flavors of true leaves microgreens come in run the gamut from sweet to savory and you can even find bitter ones. Sample before you add to your meals. That way you can make sure the microgreen you have selected works with and not against your dishes.

In terms of what you can put them on, you are limited only by your imagination. Adding microgreens to salads is always a great idea but they work well on pizza, soup, anything!

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