What are microgreens?

Since their introduction to the Californian restaurant scene in the 1980s, microgreens have steadily gained popularity.

Microgreens are vegetables or herbs harvested as juvenile greens. The harvest is usually after a week or two, or once they reach three inches tall and produce their first “true leaves.” In addition, microgreens contain highly concentrated vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Microgreens are an excellent way for chefs and home cooks alike to incorporate healthy yet visually appealing elements into their dishes. After digging into the complete overview of what microgreens are, you won’t be able to resist welcoming a vibrant splash of micro herb confetti to your homecooked dishes.

Microgreens are young vegetable greens that are approximately 2.5–7.5 cm tall. They have an aromatic flavor and concentrated nutrient content and come in a variety of colors and textures.

Microgreens fall in a category lying somewhere between a sprout and baby green, so you cannot categorize them as sprouts. They range closer to baby greens.

Despite their petite structure, microgreens pack a nutritional punch and contain higher nutrient levels than their mature counterparts, making them a sterling addition to any diet.

Microgreens Are Nutritious

According to a study conducted on 30 different microgreens, the nutrient contents vary slightly, but most varieties tend to be rich in:

  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Copper

The researchers concluded that most of the microgreen species tested were excellent providers of vitamins and carotenoids, much more even than their mature counterparts. High variations exist between the species, so it’s almost as if each microgreen has its own speciality: in taste but also in nutrients! For example, red cabbage is extremely high in vitamin C and green daikon has an incredible amount of antioxidants. In any case, just a few grams of microgreens can already be enough to get your daily amount of nutrients.

More superpower

Another one of their super-powers is their wealth in minerals, mainly calcium (for cell physiology, bone and tooth growth) and potassium (crucial for neurons and muscles). [2] These concentrations are highly linked to the nutrient solution that is used for the growing of microgreens. Having such an impact on the concentrations can be quite useful for people suffering from certain diseases such as impaired kidney function [3] and cardiovascular disease.

So, even though the studies on microgreens are still relatively new and not very extensive yet, it was already revealed that they have a lot of potential in terms of nutrients supply and dietetic impact! That way, microgreens can be then seen as a “super-food” with numerous virtues on human health.

How can we explain these differences in concentrations?

Microgreens are harvested at a very early stage compared to mature vegetables. The seeds, and the cotyledons which are coming from them, are really dense packages of nutrients. The cotyledons may contain the stored food reserves of the seed. These recently germinated seeds have all the nutrients that the small plants need to grow bigger, so you could say that microgreens actually are little nutrient explosions.

Good to know:  it’s better to eat your microgreens when freshly cut. They begin to lose their nutritional value after being harvested.

Also good to know: you can boost the availability of nutrients by using some extra-virgin oil with your microgreens

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