Microgreens – They’re Colorful, Nutritious and Tasty
Microgreens are all the rage these days. In a trend that was started by chefs looking for colorful and tasty garnishes for fancy dishes, it has now gone mainstream and for good reason. Microgreens are a powerhouse of nutrients, are generally pretty easy to grow and make a great addition to fancy and simple dishes alike.
Microgreens are highly sought after for their unique flavor. They range from spicy to savory to bitter to sweet so theirs a microgreen that everyone can enjoy. They make vibrantly hued garnishes to salads, sandwiches, and soups. And whether they’re spinach, pea, beet or purple mustard, microgreens pack even more nutrients than their adult versions.
Gene Lester, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and his colleagues at the University of Maryland, College Park, have conducted the first scientific analysis of nutrients in microgreens.
The researchers looked at four groups of vitamins and other phytochemicals – including vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene — in 25 varieties of microgreens. They found that leaves from almost all of the microgreens had four to six times more nutrients than the mature leaves of the same plant. But there was variation among them – red cabbage was highest in vitamin C, for instance, while the green daikon radish microgreens had the most vitamin E.
“Microgreens aren’t going to replace a big, leafy salad that has lots of fiber and will give you a good sense of satiety,” says Lester. “But if you throw a big bunch of microgreens on anything, that’s a pretty good shot of vitamins.”
Which is why microgreens are becoming so popular. You can throw some microgreens on basically any dish to make it a tasty way to improve your health and wellness.
The one downside to microgreens is that they usually only stay fresh for about 3-5 days. The plants are still infants and very delicate. Once they get harvested they lack the plant infrastructure to last more than a couple days before they begin to wilt. This makes microgreens hard to find because most grocery stores will not carry them. Byt the time they get harvested, packaged, shipped and stocked on the grocery store shelves they are already starting to wilt.
This has led to most people grow their own at home. This is a great option for those with the will and spare time to dedicate to growing but it leaves out others who don’t have the time or space to dedicate to growing a steady supply of greens.
In that case, the best thing you can do is find a local farmer who can grow them for you. That’s why we’ve set up a microgreen room at our Sprout Food Hub in Meriden. Our WeeklyHarvest members get a variety of microgreens every week that are harvested the same day as pickup so they’ll last the week.
If you’re local in CT, we’d love to grow microgreens for you as well! You can learn more about our WeeklyHarvest program here, we’re now accepting new members for our February 2018 block. We have pickups in Glastonbury and Meriden.