What are microgreens?
Microgreens are the seedlings of vegetables and herbs. Once the seed of an herb or vegetable begins to grow, it is considered a sprout. Once the sprout begins to grow, the baby plant is considered a microgreen.
Sprouts and microgreens are not one and the same. Sprouts are usually grown in water and harvested within 2-3 days while microgreens are grown in soil, require sunlight, and are harvested after 1-3 weeks of growing time, when they are about 2 inches tall. Baby greens are grown for longer periods and are usually around 3-4 inches tall when they are harvested.
The flavor of microgreens depends on the plant they comes from. It can range from mild to tangy, spicy, or peppery.
Microgreens can be grown from any herb or vegetable. Some of the most popularly consumed microgreens include:
Scientific data on the nutritional content of microgreens is limited, but research has shown that microgreens do contain a higher concentration of many nutrients when compared with the mature, fully grown vegetables or herbs.
The micronutrients contained in microgreens differ widely depending on type. Researchers at the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Maryland studied a total of 25 microgreens. The following microgreens had the highest concentrations of four different vitamins and carotenoids:
green daikon radish
For example, red cabbage microgreens are rich in vitamin C, but low in vitamin E. Green daikon radish microgreens were rich in vitamin E but low in lutein when compared to the cabbage, cilantro, and amaranth.
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