microgreens, greenweed or leafy greens - call them whichever suits your fancy - are essentially young vegetables with a lot of wow-factor
microgreens are young, edible seedlings that you can grow and harvest in the comfort of your own home in just a few days. not only do they taste incredibly delicious, but in their early stages they are also packed with more vitamins and minerals than fully mature vegetables. ingarden makes it simple and intuitive to grow our superfoods successfully - no green thumb required.
a seed develops into a seedling, which develops into a sprout (or shoot) and then continues to grow until it develops what are called microgreens, which you can also call leafy greens, greenweeds, baby greens, or most commonly internationally, microgreens.
how do they grow?
microgreens grow in soil, on mats or fleece and need sufficient daylight to grow. some varieties can even do without any substrate at all. after about 7-14 days, they are harvested or cut off at a size of 2.5-7.5 cm.
what do they taste like?
microgreens come in a variety of interesting flavors, such as mild, refreshing, spicy-hot, and sweet. their flavor profile is much more intense & punchy than that of mature vegetables. put an exciting spin on your favorite dishes and add a greater variety of color by using crunchy microgreens!
how do i use them?
the use of microgreens is varied: in salads, as decoration on soups, in smoothies, on (buttered) bread, in sandwiches, as a garnish for dips & toppings, juiced in a juice shot or even as the icing on the cake in a martini glass 😉
how healthy are microgreens?
there are not many other vegetables as nutrient-dense as freshly harvested microgreens. growing just as a greenling on the windowsill, they pack a powerful nutritional punch that includes green chlorophyll and solar energy, which you won’t find in any other vegetable from the supermarket. chlorophyll is responsible for the green color of the leaves. its chemical structure is almost identical to hemin, from which hemoglobin (a component of red blood cells) is formed. chlorophyll therefore has a blood purifying effect, as the "green blood" of plants can be converted into human blood. it is a particularly potent immune booster, as it is synthesized from the energy a microgreen receives directly from sunlight. hello, energized! (you can learn more about what chlorophyll does in the body in a separate blog article dedicated to it).
in america, microgreens are one of the newest superfoods because they have many times more vitamins and good ingredients than their full-grown big vegetable brothers and sisters.
according to a study by the agricultural research service (ars), microgreens contain 5 times more nutrients than mature vegetable leaves for the same weight. high levels of vitamins such as vitamins c, e, and k and carotenoids were found in 25 commercial microgreens varieties, including red cabbage, kale, arugula and radish (daikon).
for example, a red cabbage microgreen has 260 times as much beta-carotene, 6 times as much vitamin c, and 40 times as much vitamin e per gram as the adult red cabbage (source: journal of agricultural and food chemistry)
what are the microgreens?
the young greens can be grown from the seeds of a wide variety of vegetables, herbs and other plants. a microgreen has a single stem, which is cut off just above the ground when harvested. in doing so, it can usually show its first true leaves in addition to fully developed cotyledons. most varieties can be harvested about 7-12 days after sowing.
the most famous of all microgreens is probably cress, but there are so many more varieties you probably haven't heard of (in microgreen growing form): sunflower, kale, mizuna, buckwheat, arugula, dill, mung beans, red cabbage, radish, fenugreek, chickpeas, field beans, broccoli, incarnate clover, bok choy, red lentils, mustard, chive, and so many more....
for microgreen beginners and newcomers, we recommend growing peas, cabbage varieties (e.g. broccoli, kale, red cabbage) and radishes. these varieties are very low maintenance, easy to handle, and hard to mess up. small microgreen seeds - like the cabbage varieties or radish - are especially quick and easy to grow. you don't have to soak them - except for the peas - before growing.
and if you want to get your kids involved in the wondrous leafy green growing process right away, we advise you to use varieties with a mild flavor, such as broccoli and kale. broccoli microgreens are mild and crunchy, and kale is mild and sweet. the structure of kale stems and leaves are rather strong compared to other varieties, making them a friendly choice for children to handle.
what advantages do microgreens offer you?
- extremely high nutrient content and bioavailability (= absorption capacity or amount of a nutrient that is actually absorbed by the body).
- many active enzymes (up to 100x more than fresh vegetables, source: ann wigmore institute).
- rich in chlorophyll
- high in fiber & low in calories
- environmentally friendly (year-round cultivation without long transport routes)
- easy to grow (at any place, at any time, within a very short time)
- abundance of varieties, shapes & flavors.
- awaken your creative spirit when decorating dishes
- urban gardening/ city garden (you don't even need a garden to garden!).
difference between microgreens & sprouts
if you want to easily distinguish sprouts from microgreens, here's what you can think of: sprouts are the new bornversion of a young plant and microgreens are the baby and teenage version.
picture from health benefits page where sprouts and microgreens are shown.
sprouts therefore become microgreens, depending on the germination time this takes different lengths of time.
sprouts are served whole, i.e. they are eaten "skin and hair" (i.e. including the root, seed coat and any small green leaves that may have already developed).
microgreens are usually grown in soil and cut off above the ground before harvesting. the stems and leaves then remain for the feast.
the advantage of microgreens over sprouts - apart from their ability to absorb the valuable nutrients of the soil - is that they form chlorophyll through sunlight. in the process, the seed's ingredients are enhanced and high-quality protein is formed.
with greening, the strength, energy, and sunlight-derived health benefits that microgreens harness increase. this can increase the healing power that plants harness. in plants such as radish, mustard, etc., essential oils and bitter substances are formed during growth, increasing their pharmacological effects.
and the best thing about microgreens?
you can grow them quickly, easily and simply - 365 days a year! they practically grow from your windowsill into your mouth. if you're interested in growing your own vitamins in the future, check out our microgreen starter kits: