Microgreens - A Nutrition Powerhouse

Microgreens are a nutrition powerhouse that are super easy to grow. They can be easily grown on a window sill or under a hydroponic growing light all year round. Microgreens provide a source of awesome nutrients to fuel your body


Devi Puspita Amartha Yahya- Unsplashed

By Wendy Behenna May 18, 2022


Microgreens are seedlings of edible vegetables, herbs and legumes. They have gained more popularity recently but microgreens have really been used by chefs since the 80's. What has changed though is the different varieties and blends that are now available. In the past, popular greens like arugula, basil, beets, kale and cilantro were the microgreens of choice. Now there are so many types and blends, they are too numerous to list.


The benefits of incorporating microgreens in your diet are:

  • Microgreens are loaded with nutrients such as Vitamin C, E, and K

  • Levels of nutrients in microgreens much higher than mature plant

  • Packed with intense flavour

  • Contain a wider variety of antioxidants than mature plants

  • Eating vegetables is known to promote good health - microgreens are really micro vegetables


Give Microgreens a Try Microgreens are a source of fresh produce that can be grown in any climate any time of the year. They fall between a sprout and baby greens. They are very economical and easy to grow with minimal equipment, take very little room and are ready in 7-10 Devi Puspita Amartha Yahya - Unsplash days. You don't have to worry about chemical sprays either. Buying microgreens at the store is very expensive, so growing your own will save you lots of money. See the links under equipment for suggested companies to get your supplies from.



How To Grow

Equipment:


-Growing medium - soil, coconut coir or hemp growing mat

- Fresh non-chlorinated water - best source possible

- Fresh seeds preferably organic - buy seeds from a reputable source

- 2 trays of the same size


Soaking:

The seeds will germinate faster if they are soaked in water for a few hours before using. Different seeds require different times so check the instructions on the seeds you have purchased.


Planting:

I like using a hemp growing mat from a Canadian company called Terrafibre. These mats can be cut to a smaller size, if you don't want to make a large tray all at one time. Before spreading the seeds on the mat, I soak the mat in water and then wring it out to remove excess water. Spread the mat in the bottom of the container you are going to use for growing. After the seeds have soaked, strain off the water and spread evenly on the mat. Place a second tray down on top of the seeds, and place some weight on it. This process causes the roots to grow strong and down into the mat. After 3 days, remove the weights and turn over the second tray to sit on the other to still keep the microgreens in the dark. I leave them this way for another 2-3 days before exposing the microgreens to light. They will be yellow looking at this stage, but after exposure to sunlight they start to turn green and fill out. There are different ways to grow your microgreens but I find this way works best for me.

For more growing instructions from Terrafibre - Click here for link. There are lots of other tips and helpers found in their growing manual.


Harvesting:

Microgreens can take between 7-10 days depending on the variety you are growing. When you grow them on a hemp mat, you simply use your scissors and cut them near the surface of the mat. I prefer this method over soil because I find it cleaner but either method will work. They don't grow back so you need to have your next tray started so you never run out!




Favorite and Popular Microgreens to Grow


Broccoli microgreens or blends with broccoli in them, are my most favorite to grow because of all the health benefits broccoli possess. The key component in the cruciferous vegetable family - broccoli, broccoli microgreens, brussel sprouts etc. is a compound called sulforaphanes. These compounds reduce inflammation, help remove toxins from the body, decrease the risk for cardiac disease, and may protect our DNA from disease. Broccoli microgreens contain a much higher amount of sulforaphanes over mature broccoli. Other popular microgreens are Arugula, Beets, Collards, Kale, Peas, Radish, Red Cabbage, Sunflower and Wheatgrass. You can also buy bags of blended seeds for more variety on your mat. It's always best to buy seeds that are fresh and organic. Mumm's Sprouting Seeds in Saskatchewan is where I get all my seeds from. They have a great variety of blends and single varieties of seeds to pick from.



Difference Between Microgreens, Sprouts & Baby Greens


Microgreens and sprouts use the same seeds, its the way they are grown and the stage that they are eaten which is different. Microgreens and Milada Vigerova - Unsplash baby greens are similar because only the stems and leaves are eaten. It's the size in which they are eaten that is different.

Sprouts:

  • germinated seeds started in water

  • 3-5 days till ready

  • eaten entirely

  • do not form true leaves

Microgreens:

  • grown in soil or on other medium. I like using a hemp mat. Cleaner than soil

  • 7-10 days till ready

  • only part above soil eaten - not the seed or root

  • form true leaves

Baby Greens:

  • eaten after a few weeks of growth

  • can grow back after being cut due to a more established root system

  • enjoyed for their bite size tender leaves


Steps To Grow Microgreens



Wendy Behenna is a retired Medical Laboratory Technologist who now uses the kitchen as a "lab" to create healthy, real food dishes. As a graduate of the Culinary Nutrition Program, she wants to share the knowledge she acquired to help people with meal planning and cooking skills, especially those transitioning to a gluten-free and dairy-free lifestyle. She is also a Certified Tea Sommelier and loves incorporating tea in her recipes when possible.





























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