Microgreens – what are they?

Microgreens are not the same thing as sprouts (or shoots), even though a lot of people refer to them as sprouts. The main difference is that microgreens are grown on a medium – like soil – whereas sprouts are grown in water in a jar. In the dark. The lack of light, being grown in water and for a shorter period of time gives sprouts their look. Sprouts are germinated or partially germinated seeds. A sprout consists of the seed, root, stem. Microgreens are grown under lights until the first two sets of leaves ( cotyledon ) have appeared – it takes 7 to 14 days (or longer) depending on the variety. Some are grown even longer – until the first true set of leaves comes out, like basil and amaranth.

The biggest difference is taste! Where sprouts are mild and mostly crunchy microgreens are packed with great flavour.

And they are good for you!

Even though it seems like they are the new hip thing – they have actually been around since the 1980s. They started to appear on chefs plates in San Fransico. In California, they have been growing microgreens since the mid-90s. Micro arugula, basil, kale, beet and cilantro and “the rainbow mix” (a colourful mix of the previously mentioned ones) was the first ones but today you can get almost any type of vegetable or herb as a microgreen variety,

More and more studies are showing that microgreens are more concentrated in nutritional value than their mature counterparts. This in part because of where they are in the growth cycle but also because they tend to be grown locally so they are not transported and stored for weeks, they are freshly harvested for you to enjoy.

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