What Are Microgreens ?

In layman’s terms Microgreens are baby vegetables or herbs. In the seed germination stage; the seed first develops into a sprout and then the first leaves appear. This is called the cotyledon leaf or embryonic leaf. At this stage of growth the plant is called a Microgreen. This stage of a plant’s life is when it needs the most nutrition ( 5 to 40 times compared to mature counterpart mature greens ) to grow and is packed with rich nutrients.When the first leaves appear from the seed, the plant is called a Microgreen.

These Superfoods can be used as garnish or the main ingredient, and can easily fulfil your daily need of Vitamins and Minerals.

Microgreen

All you need to know about these
Superfoods

Health and Nutritional Benefits

Wheatgrass Juice

Microgreens pack a nutritional punch. Their nutrition is highly concentrated, which means they are much higher in essential nutrients than their fully grown counterparts. Studies have shown that some Microgreens contain 40% more nutrition than the mature counterparts.

They are rich in antioxidants and different minerals. Most Microgreens are rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper.Microgreens are considered 2-3 times more nutritional that sprouts and 4-5 times more nutritional than their fully grown counterparts.

The high antioxidant content helps to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Microgreens are also known to reduce the risk of Heart Disease, Alzheimers and Diabetes.Microgreens are a rich source of polyphenols; a class of antioxidants that helps to reduce bad cholesterol. Specific Microgreens also help to improve eyesight, help with dietary issues and boost the immune system.

How Do I Grow them ?

Microgreens can be grown using a Grow-mat or Organic Potting Mix. You will need Good quality seeds| Grow-mat or Organic Potting-mix | Kitchen Towel| Plastic Trays| Water Spritzer | Sunlight | (Click to enlarge view)

Growing Microgreen Using Organic Potting-Mix

  • Evenly add the potting mix on to the tray or container making a depth of approx 1.5 inches.
  • Even out the potting-mix without compressing it.
  • Pre-soak the seeds overnight for good germination.
  • Broadcast or scatter the seeds on the soil. Make sure the density of scattered seeds is high.
  • Lightly cover the seeds with a dusting of potting soil (1/8th of an inch)
  • Moisten the soil with the water spray.
  • The tray should be exposed to sunlight or fluorescent light for a minimum of 4 hours everyday.
  • Spray the seeds everyday without waterlogging or dislodging the seeds. The mix should always stay moist.
  • Your Microgreens will be ready for harvesting in 2-3 weeks.
  • Ideally the greens should have grown 1-3 inches above the soil.
  • Use kitchen scissors to cut the Microgreens as close to the soil as possible.
  • Wash them thoroughly before consuming or storing.

Growing Microgreen using grow-mat

  • Take a tray or container at least 2 inches deep.
  • To prepare the grow-mat, first cut it as per the dimensions of the container and then let it soak in water to moisten it or spray water on it 20-30 times to ensure it is moist.
  • Place the moist grow mat inside the container.
  • To prepare the water; preferably use mineral or boiled water, and cool it down to room temperature.
  • Pre-soak the seeds overnight for good germination.
  • Broadcast or scatter the seeds on the growmat. Make sure the density of scattered seeds is high.
  • Cover your seeds with a tissue.
  • Spray water twice or thrice a day to keep it moist.
  • The tray can be kept without light for the first 4-5 days till germination starts and the plants need light for photosynthesis
  • After the 5th day, start spraying the mixture more regularly.
  • The Microgreens will be ready to harvest in 10 or 12 days.
  • Ideally the greens should have grown 1-3 inches above the soil.
  • Use kitchen scissors to cut the Microgreens as close to the growmat as possible.
  • Wash them thoroughly before consuming or storing.

How To Consume Microgreens

Microgreen Salad

 

 

Microgreens are extremely versatile and can be consumed in many ways. The flavour is highly concentrated and therefore they can add a zesty punch to most meals. The taste varies depending on the variety. Radish, Mustard, Kale and Rocket Microgreens are spicy while Pea and Sunflower Microgreens are on the sweeter side. They should be consumed raw to gain the maximum nutritional benefit. Consuming between 50-100 gms of Microgreens daily, would be ideal, for an adult.

Microgreens can be added as a garnish in soups and salads or on mains like pastas and  pizzas.They can be used as a filling in sandwiches and wraps.They add a great flavour to smoothies and juices.They can even be used in baked dishes like quiches.

There are over 100 different types of Microgreens. They mainly belong to 8 different plant families. In fact legumes and cereals like barley, corn, rice etc. can also be grown as Microgreens.

Below is the list of commonly used Microgreens



Rocket/Arugula

Onion

Mustard

Fenugreek

Cilantro

Kale

Flax Seeds

Sorrel



Radish

Peas

Amarnath

Alfalfa

Sunflower

Spinach

Fennel

Dil

Difference between microgreen and sprouts

Sprouts are the first step of growth in the seed germination phase. The plant is harvested very early, before it grows any leaves. Sprouts are always grown in a hydroponic system without soil. They were once touted as the mainstay of all healthy diets; however in recent years Microgreens have overshadowed them.

The below table illustrates the difference between Microgreen and Sprouts

Sprout and Microgreen comparison
Seed Germination

Immunity Booster

Nutrition and a healthy diet with the right dose of Vitamins and other essential minerals plays an important role in determining the health of your organs and therefore your immune system. Microgreens are nature’s miracle product. Especially in today’s Covid environment, Microgreens may not have direct effect on curbing the virus but these could help indirectly by protecting major organs due to their antioxidant potential and strengthen one’s immune system and develop a first line of defence system against the virus.Microgreens are potent sources of a variety of immunity-boosting vitamins, minerals, trace elements and enzymes that will help your body ward off illness and infection. Vitamin C is a very powerful stimulant for the body’s white blood cells, while Vitamin A is already known for its antioxidative properties

How do i store microgreens

microgreens

Once harvested, it may be unlikely that you would consume the entire batch. The excess Microgreens can easily be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Another great way of preserving them for longer periods (upto 2-3 years)is by dehydrating them. The easiest way is to Solar dry them. Ovens, Air-fryers or Food Dehydrators can also be used to dehydrate Microgreens. Once dehydrated they can be stored in powder form for up to a month. Powdered Microgreens can be used in soups, salads and smoothies.

Root Hair Vs Mold

That Fuzzy White Thing – ROOT HAIR

When you first expose your microgreens to light after the black out period, you might see fuzzy white hairs growing on the stems of the microgreens (picture below). These are actually root hairs and they are part of the plant’s root system. In the early stages of a plant’s growth, the root hairs come out of the roots of plants to help with water absorption.

To identify root hairs, it is important to know what they look like. Remember, root hairs are always white and they gather around the root. They radiate out from, and are attached to, the central root.

So this is good, and is the result of a successful germination.

That Spider Web Looking Thing – MOLD / FUNGUS

Mold, on the other hand, is  bad news! 

Mold is a type of fungus that grows when certain environmental conditions are met. When you see mold growing on the medium of your microgreens, you need to address it immediately before the growth gets out of hand.

But what exactly does mold look like (because mold and root hairs can look quite similar to the untrained eye)? Unlike root hairs, mold can come in different colours like grey, black, dark green etc. The most important thing to remember is that mold will spread across your medium surface rather than on the microgreens itself. Sometimes they look like a spider web and at other times, they are dark and soggy looking. If this happens the Microgreens need to discarded. Don’t try and salvage or consume this.

Root Hair Vs Mould
Root Hair and Mold image

Tips and Pointers

Tip 1. Get your Timing Right
Whether you live in a hot, temperate or cold climate, it’s likely you can grow at least some microgreens for part of the year. Indoors or out. However, one of the key factors for growing a successful crop of healthy microgreens, is timing.

Tip 2. Protect your Microgreens
Like you, these tender little darlings need shelter! Not just for protection against the weather.

Tip 3. Avoid Mold Forming
Check soil moisture daily with a soil meter to avoid overwatering (for professional growers).

Increase air circulation by putting in a breezy area or using a fan.

Sow fewer  & bit dense only– about half what you would normally use/tray.

Tip 4. Be Gentle  Microgreens are just plant ‘toddlers’ – little ‘kids’ with delicate stems and leaves that bruise easily !

Tip 5. Observe Daily Water to keep up the moisture. Ensure your plant babies have adequate light and air circulation.
Check for signs of mold forming. Act quickly if they start leaning forward or looking weak.
Feed your microgreens & store properly

 

Microgreen Recipes shared by Clients...

The great thing about this flexible superfood is that it can be added to almost every dish for taste and garnish. 

For traditional Indian foods try mixing the Microgreen leaves with your vegetable Raita to add a delightful flavoursome punch.

While beating the eggs when you’re making an omelette, add a handful of Microgreen leaves and make a green Omelette.

Microgreens can be  added to Dals or Chicken curries.for that extra flavour

They can be used as a filling for sandwiches, wraps and rolls or can be used for creating interesting dips.

Peas Shoot & Basil Pesto:-

Ingredients :-

  • 1 cup pea shoots
  • 1 cup basil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/4 cup english walnuts
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions :-

  1. Add everything to a food processor or high-powered blender. Blitz until well combined.
  2. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Microgreens Salad :-

Ingredients :-

  • One Packet Microgreens
  • 6 radishes halved or sliced
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/8 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • coarse sea salt to taste
  • ground pepper to tast

Instruction :-

1. Place the microgreens and radishes into a serving bowl and reserve in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
2. Whisk together the remaining ingredients, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. At the last moment before serving, dress the salad lightly with dressing, sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Enjoy!
Microgreens  – EASY to use in everything :-

Add microgreens to your salads or wraps for some extra crunch. They’re great blended into smoothies and juices as well. Wheatgrass and broccoli microgreens are especially popular for juicing, and they’re a healthy way to start off your day. You can sprinkle some microgreens on a garnish in almost any dish.

Microgreens are often used in Wraps, Sushi, Stir fry’s, Soups, Tacos and in meat dishes. Microgreens are versatile and flavorful and can compliment in any dish

Cheese Sandwich Wt. Pea Shoots :-

Ingredients :-

1 freshly baked baguette

150g soft-ripened goat cheese (if goat cheese is too strong for you, replace with cream or marcarpone cheese)

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch fresh pea shoots

Heat the baguette briefly in a hot oven until crisp and slice in half lengthwise. Spread generously with the goat cheese. Chop the walnuts and mint together, add a pinch of salt and pepper and sprinkle lightly on top of the cheese. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and top with the pea shoots. Slice on the diagonal and serv

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