They’re easy. They’re delicious. They’re nutritious. You’ve probably seen them at upscale restaurants—those delicate little greens sitting delicately on a beautifully presented plate of food. Microgreens may look fancy, but you can grow them at home.
What Are Microgreens
Microgreens are, as their name implies, miniature versions of plants you’re already familiar with, like lettuce, radish, and mustard. They are packed with vitamins and enzymes and are more nutrient dense than their mature counterparts. Plus, they’re delicious! Depending on what kind you grow, microgreens may have a more delicate or more intense flavor compared to the full-grown green.
Rich in Nutrients
Study results on the nutritional benefits of microgreens have been published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Red cabbage microgreens contain 40 times more vitamin E than mature cabbage. Comparing cilantro microgreens to mature cilantro, levels of beta-carotene are three times higher.
“All of these nutrients are extremely important for skin, eyes, and fighting cancer and have all sorts of benefits associated with them,” says researcher Gene Lester, PhD, of the USDA.
Some people mistake growing microgreens as the same process as growing sprouts, but that’s not the case. Microgreens are grown in soil and are usually ready to eat within a few weeks of planting.
You can grow them in the garden but just as easily indoors where there’s good light.
If you go the indoor route, you’ll need a shallow tray, organic soil, and seeds. If you don’t have adequate natural light, you may consider purchasing a grow light.
To grow them:
- Clear a space in your garden for the microgreens seeds or place an inch of potting soil in your shallow tray.
- Sprinkle your seeds over the top of the soil. You’ll need to be generous with the amount of seeds. Since we are not letting them grow out fully, we’ll want to get as many microgreens as we can out of one tray or area of the garden.
- Press the seeds down lightly then cover with a thin layer of soil.
- Spritz the surface with filtered water. Make sure to do this twice a day until the seeds germinate.
- Depending on which variety you choose to grow, your microgreens should be ready to harvest within a few weeks.
- To harvest, simply snip the stems of the microgreens right above the soil.
If you decide to grow microgreens in the garden, note that they cannot survive winter.
There are plenty of options out there, but some of my favorite microgreens are: