Microgreens are very young seedlings of vegetables and herbs that are harvested in a little less than two weeks after planting. Usually reaching 1 to 3 inches high and comes in a variety of vibrant colors. Not to be confused with sprouts, microgreens offer an amount of nutrition that will surprise you.
First, let’s find out the difference between microgreens and sprouts. Microgreens are seeds that are grown in soil and are harvested once the true leaves has emerged. Sprouts on the other hand, are seeds grown in water and when fully germinated, are eaten whole – seed, stem and root. Microgreens increases their nutritional content by absorbing mineral from the soil and through the photosynthesis they undergo. They also have a slightly higher fiber content than sprouts.
These tiny superfood are incredibly packed with phytonutrients, digestible vitamins and minerals to deliver excellent nutritional health benefits. Research was conducted on 25 assorted and commercially grown microgreens to evaluate the level of vital nutrients they contain and found out that green daikon radish, garnet amaranth and red cabbage were high in vitamin C, K and E. In lutein and beta carotene content, cilantro is the richest. These nutrients are extremely important in fighting cancer. Many microgreens are loaded with beta-carotene, which are thought to reduce the risk of various diseases.
Not only are they 4 to 6 times more nutritious than the leaves of their matured counterparts, but their flavor is more intense too. Bursting with tastes ranging from spicy to mild and subtle. No wonder that most chefs of well-known fine restaurants use them as garnish and flavor accents to main dishes, salads and soups. They are also great when blended into dips, pesto, salad dressings and sauces. Some of the best microgreens are arugula, cilantro, amaranth, beets, celery, kale, lettuce, spinach, mustard, radish, parsley and peas. They are delicious and healthy when eaten raw. Cooking them destroy the enzymes they contain to fight certain cancer.
If you are an urban gardener, microgreens are the quickest and easiest food crop you can grow even with less gardening skill and with a limited space and time. A fun and enriching project for children too. Microgreens may not be found in most grocery stores just yet, but you may grow them in your kitchen and will come out cheaper than buying them. Being able to harvest microgreens just before serving eliminates the loss of nutrients that usually happen to mature vegetables when transported from great distances from the farm to the supermarket, not to mention the preservatives they use to make them look “fresh”.
Now, I’m sure you will agree that microgreens are truly a healthy “fast food”!
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