If you’ve heard of microgreens but don’t know what they are, here’s everything you need to know about these little nutritional powerhouses, and why you should be adding true leaves microgreens to your diet!
What Is A Microgreen?
This is a seedling of a full-grown plant. True leaves microgreens is a term you might hear at times, because the seedling should be cut when there are two, fully-formed cotyledon leaves and a pair of small true leaves only partly developed. Of course, microgreens will vary somewhat by plant variety, but, in general, true leaves microgreens is a good term because most varieties except the most petite microgreens should have true leaves. Microgreens are not the same things as sprouts.
True leaves microgreens are packed with nutrition. They are particularly high in antioxidants and phytonutrients and have all the vitamins and minerals of the fully grown vegetables in a tiny, easy-to-eat package. Microgreens can be harvested from any vegetable, so their precise nutrient content will vary depending on what plant they come from. Red cabbage microgreens, for instance, contain a lot of vitamin C, but not much vitamin E. Microgreens from green daikon radishes have lots of vitamin E but are lacking other vitamins that cabbage or cilantro microgreens have. Variety is key with microgreens just as with fully grown vegetables.
Microgreens are rated by a 1-5 scale, with 5 being the best. Anything less than 3 is considered unmarketable, and the look of the true leaves microgreens has a lot to do with the rating. A microgreen should look attractive and should be a colorful addition to food presentation. Uses for microgreens include adding them on salad or soup, into smoothies, as garnishes to main dishes, in an omelet or on a burger, or even as pizza toppings.
Storing And Safety
The best way to preserve nutrition is to store your true leaves microgreens at about 39 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be in a closed container. Be aware that temperatures colder than 38 may ruin some varieties very quickly. Micro greens are quite safe. Sprouts have been responsible for so many bouts of E. coli in recent years that the government suggests people do not eat them, but it is important to remember that microgreens are grown and harvested in a different manner, so they are not part of this government recommendation. They are not associated with E. coli outbreaks and have far less potential for bacteria growth.
Growing Your Own
Growing microgreens is simple, and they can thrive indoors as long as there is sunlight. Put an inch of potting soil in a tray, scatter seeds, and cover with another thin soil layer. Mist with water and leave the tray in the sunlight. Be sure to keep the soil moist. The greens will be ready to cut in two or three weeks an should be cut above the soil line and well rinsed.
True leaves microgreens are a great way to get more nutrition, flavor, and even interest into your diet. They are simple store, come with very few health and bacteria risks, and can even be grown easily at home. There’s every reason to give it a try today!