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The Rise of Microgreens in America

Crystallized viola

Microgreens, a tiny vegetable that is frequently used in fine dining restaurants to add flavor and visual appeal to dishes, has been growing in popularity and use over the past 30 years. Early accounts show microgreens being used in San Fransisco, California, in the 1980s, although there were fewer micro green varieties at the time.

As the use of microgreens in fine dining restaurants spread eastward, the amount of micro green varieties grew. There are many reasons for this. An important appeal to the use of micro greens involves presentation. Children tend to prefer six food colors and seven different food components on a plate, while adults prefer three colors and three components. Micro greens add to the presentation of meals and make them more appealing.

Another appeal lies in the nutrient value of different micro green varieties. The U.S. Department of Agricultural has published several studies analyzing the nutrients in different micro green varieties. High concentrations included Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.

However, it may be difficult to find microgreens in the restaurant industry outside of the upscale segment. While visits to fine-dining restaurants were up 3% in the past year, which translates to at a minimum thousands of more Americans dining there, the average fine dining cost per person is $28.55. This may be out of the price range of many.

In mainstream culture, microgreens are often seen as synonymous with sprouts, when in fact there are key differences. A microgreen are generally between one inch long and one and a half inch long. They consist of a a stem, cotlyedon leaves, and a pair of true leaves. They can be considered as micro herbs, petite microgreens, and even organic micro greens.

Microgreens are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent. When it comes to visual quality, a score of 3 or up qualifies the microgreens as marketable. If the microgreens come in at a score of less than 3, they are considered not marketable.

There are other areas related to microgreens as well, such as crystallized flowers and edible flowers, which can be very visually appealing as well.

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