Microgreens are the edible seedling form of many vegetables that are about 1 to 3 inches tall, with the first set of true leaves. They fall somewhere between sprouts and baby vegetable plants. Sprouts are harvested as soon as the radicals (roots) appear in 2 to 3 days, whereas microgreens are allowed to grow for a few more days under controlled environment till they are about 1 to 3 inches tall and the first true leaves appear.
Microgreens have an aromatic flavour and concentrated nutrient content and come in a variety of colours and textures. Their taste varies from neutral to spicy, slightly sour or even bitter, depending on the variety.
What are the different types of microgreens?
Microgreens can be grown from a variety of seeds such as radish, sunflower, coriander, mustard, peas, beet and amaranths.
What are the nutrients present in microgreens?
While the nutrient content vary slightly among different varieties of microgreens, most varieties tend to be rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper. Since their nutrient content is concentrated, microgreens often contain higher vitamin, mineral and antioxidant levels compared to the same quantity of mature greens. In fact, one study carried out in the US on 25 varieties of microgreens found that levels of vitamins and antioxidants in microgreens were up to 40 times higher than those found in more mature leaves.
What are the health benefits of microgreens?
It is a well established fact that consuming vegetables is associated with lower risk of contracting many diseases. Most likely, this is due to the presence of vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds in them. Since microgreens contain concentrated levels of these nutrients, they can be beneficial for reducing the risk of heart diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
Microgreens are a rich source of polyphenols, a class of antioxidants that helps reduce bad cholesterol. Specific microgreens also help to improve eyesight, help with dietary issues and boost the immune system.
How are microgreens stored?
Microgreens are best stored in a refrigerator at 4-6 Celcius.
How to include microgreens in your diet?
Both the stem and the leaves of microgreens are edible. They should be consumed raw to gain the maximum nutritional benefit. It is recommended that an adult consume 25-30 gms of microgreens daily.
Microgreens can be incorporated into a variety of dishes, including sandwiches, wraps and salads. They may also be blended into smoothies or juiced. Wheatgrass juice is a popular example of a juiced microgreen.
Another option is to use them as garnishes on pizzas, soups, omelettes and curries. They can also be mixed with flour and made into parathas.