Micro greens are the seedlings of vegetables and herbs. Once the seed of an herb or vegetable begins to grow, it is considered a sprout. Once the sprout begins to grow, the baby plant is considered a micro green. Sprouts and micro greens are not one and the same. Sprouts are usually grown in water and harvested within 2-3 days while micro greens are grown in soil, require sunlight, and harvested after 1-3 weeks, when they are about 2 inches tall. Baby greens are grown for longer periods and are usually around 34 inches tall when they are harvested.
The flavour of micro greens depends on the plant they come from. It can range from mild to tangy, spicy, or peppery.
Studies suggest that micro greens contain high concentrations of nutrients compared with mature vegetables and herbs. Due to their high antioxidant content, micro greens are considered a functional food, a food that promotes health and prevents disease.
Consuming plant-based foods of all kinds has been linked to a reduced risk of many health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Plant-based foods also support a healthy complexion, increased energy, lower weight, and longer life expectancy.
Many people are not getting the recommended amount of vegetables and fruits per day for various reasons including access, cost, convenience, and individual preference for taste. But the saving factor is micro greens can easily be grown at home in a small space with little cost and provide a huge return in terms of nutrients.
How to grow micro greens:
Micro greens are relatively easy to grow on a small scale and can even thrive indoors if sunlight is available. People wishing to grow their own micro greens can follow these steps to do so.
- Scatter seeds over an inch of potting soil in a planter dish or tray and cover with another thin layer ofsoil.
- Mist the soil with water and place near a source of sunlight or a grow light.
- Continue to mist the seeds daily to keep the soil moist.
The micro greens will be ready to harvest in 23 weeks. People should make sure to cut their greens above the soil line and rinse well before using.
What varieties can be grown as micro greens?
Well, everything! Salad greens, leafy vegetables, regular vegetables, root vegetables, herbs and even edible flowers can be grown and harvested as micro greens.
The most commonly grown varieties are -Radish, spinach, basil, carrot, celery, chives, cabbage, mustard, cilantro, fennel, mint, dill, beets, kale, red Amaranth, lettuce and alfa-alfa.
But literally any edible vegetable or herb can be eaten as a micro green. Start with the seeds already in your pantry and refrigerator, and make your way up with store bought seeds tomato, pepper and chilli seeds can be saved every time you cook with them. Mustard, fenugreek, coriander and lentils can be soaked and sprouted – and these are readily available in your pantry.
Tips to incorporate more micro greens into a diet:
Micro greens can boost colour, enhance flavour, and add texture to any dish, while delivering a nutritional boost as well. Some tips for adding micro greens into meals include:
- using them as a topping for salads and soups
- tossing a small handful into a smoothie or juice before blending
- using them as a garnish alongside any main dish
- placing micro greens on top ofa flatbread or pizza after cooking
- replacing lettuce with micro greens on a burger, sandwich, or tacos.