What Are Microgreens and How to Grow Them?

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http://streaming.yayimages.com/images/photographer/rakoptonlpn/abbd48b09bcee4697e60905230f9af13/microgreens-vegetables-health-food.jpg Fine dining restaurants usually use small green confetti-like vegetables for garnishing. These are known as microgreens. They might be expensive, but they add color, aroma, and flavor to various gourmet dishes. They might be small, but they are flavorful and nutritious powerhouses that every culinary professional loves.

What Are Microgreens?

Microgreens are a variety of immature vegetables that are harvested and cut with scissors after a month of their germination. When the plants are up to 2 inches tall, it means they are edible and ready for use.

Why are they called powerhouses of nutrition?

You might be surprised to learn that these mini-plants are stuffed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

In fact, a study shows that they have a higher content in most minerals than their mature counterparts. These beneficial compounds are responsible for boosting the body’s immune system, allowing you to fight off symptoms that are usually associated with diabetes, heart problems, and mental illnesses.

How are they used in meals?

Microgreens are affectionately known as vegetable confetti because they look like pieces of green confetti that enhance a meal’s visual aesthetic and flavor. The greens add a fresh element to meaty meals and refine the palate when incorporated in a vegetable-laden plate. You might confuse them as adornments because of their delicate appearance, but they’re meant to be eaten.

Grow Your Own Microgreens

If you are a culinary professional who needs to use microgreens regularly, then why buy them at a high price when you can easily grow them on your own.

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What Type of Microgreens Should One Use?

All leafy vegetables, salad greens, herbs, and some edible flowers can be grown as Microgreens. If you are a beginner, then I suggest you use only one type of seed and then get the hang of it as you explore other types. Choose any from the following

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  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Radish
  • Cabbage
  • Mustard
  • Beet
  • Radish
  • Watercress
  • Sunflower

How to Grow Microgreens?

You will need the following:

  • A warm and sunny windowsill to start the process is important. It must be a south-facing window that has direct sunlight. Alternately, you can also use a grow light that can be mounted under the kitchen cabinets.
  • A small clean tray or container such as a plastic takeout dish or any disposable plate. You can also use a small pot if you like.
  • Organic soil to fill your tray or container.
  • Microgreen seeds of your choice (you can find them at a specialty grocery store or online easily).

Directions:

  1. Poke a few holes in the container for drainage if your container doesn’t already have it.
  2. Place the organic soil in the container— about an inch of the tray/container’s bottom. Smooth the soil out evenly, leaving no empty space.
  3. Scatter the seeds all over the soil’s surface and distribute them equally. Pro tip: soak the seeds overnight for a quicker sprouting time.
  4. Cover the scattered seeds with a thin and even layer of soil and spray it all with filtered water.
  5. If you are using a grow light, then place a warming mat beneath the tray/container.
  6. Spray the seeds a few times a day with water so that the soil remains moist and is able to germinate easily.
  7. The Microgreens are usually ready in about 3-4 weeks. Sometimes, they are ready even in 2 weeks, depending on the type of seed you are using.
  8. If you plan to grow another crop, make sure to use fresh soil and dump them in the compost. If you are growing the same type, then make sure to remove the roots.
About the Author
Dr. Chef Soundar

Dr. Chef Soundar

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Dr.Chef Soundararajan P is a culinarian & mentor , founder of Culinary Vision, founder General Secretary of Indian Federation of Culinary Associations and Chairman of the Marketing committee of WorldChefs. He writes about Culinary Techniques and shares his profound knowledge here in his blog. [Read More....]

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