Food

Microgreens: The Best Middle

In this era of innovation, there are so many healthy foods. We all know sprouts, which are quite healthy, they have quite a high nutrient content. But they have their own drawbacks. They can be easily infected by bacteria, and hence can be easily lost if not preserved properly. But preserving them can be another problem, for the preservatives might not go well with the idea of natural healthy foods. This is where microgreens come in picture.

What are microgreens?

They are a middle between sprouts and baby vegetables. Sprouts are freshly germinated seeds, which can be harvested 2-7 days of germination. Microgreens on the other hand though, are grown till their first true leaves emerge and can be harvested in 7-21 days of germination. Microgreens are more similar to baby greens in that only their stems and leaves are considered edible. However, unlike baby greens, they are much smaller in size. You can also sell them before harvesting. This way you can eat them fresh and alive till you want to be eaten. As they are small, and the taste isn’t escaping the leaves, they have a really concentrated taste.

Common microgreens:

Microgreens
Microgreens

Some really common microgreens include:

1. Brassicaceae family: Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, radish and arugula

2. Asteraceae family: Lettuce, endive, chicory and radicchio

3. Apiaceae family: Dill, carrot, fennel and celery

4. Amaryllidaceae family: Garlic, onion, leek

5. Amaranthaceae family: Amaranth, quinoa swiss chard, beet and spinach

6. Cucurbitaceae family: Melon, cucumber and squash

Some cereals and legumes can also be grown as microgreens, though the above mentioned plants are the staple microgreens.

Nutritious value

They are filled to brim with nutrients. Though each plant variant has a different amount of these micronutrients, they are all rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper. Antioxidants are also present in ample amounts. As we harvest them fresh, they have a lot more nutrient content than baby greens.

Microgreens from the Brassica family, which include broccoli, contain high levels of vitamin E, a phenolic antioxidant. Asteraceae microgreens, such as chicory and lettuce, appear to be high in vitamin A, or carotenoid antioxidants.

Microgreens in your diet
Microgreens in diet

These antioxidants provide a wide range of immunity from diseases. These include heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and even some forms of cancer. This is because of a unique class of antioxidants present in microgreens named polyphenols.

Sustainability

Being a green leafy vegetable is indeed indicative of how healthy they are to us, but we also need to take into consideration the environmental aspects of growing them. They can be grown anywhere, even on your windowsill, the only requirement is some seeds and a nutritious soil bed. They just require a week or a couple of weeks to grow till they can be eaten directly and they are quite bacteria resistant. Taking all aspects into consideration, it can be safely said they are very environment friendly. 

It is very much suggested that you include these in your diet. Not only do these have amazing medicinal properties, but they also provide a tangy flavour to the food you like the most. It’s safe, easy and tasty.

Written By,

Madhav Menon

Student, NIFTEM

Wanna learn more about similar healthy foods? You can check out our article on Sea Buckthorn.

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