microgreens - the seedlings of vegetable and herb plants - are the new trend in the kitchen. learn how to grow and use them.
what are microgreens?
microgreens are a new fad in the kitchen. microgreens are the seedlings of vegetable and herb plants. however, the plants are only considered “micro” because of their size - when it comes to their nutritional composition, they are incredibly dense and are therefore considered the new superfood. in terms of taste, too, microgreens are quite a bit ahead of their adult counterparts - whether sweeter or spicier, their flavor is more intense, which is why they have already broken their way into the scene of cuisines worldwide.
what varieties of microgreens can be grown?
a variety of seeds can be used as microgreens. organic quality seeds are recommended, but not a must. just make sure that your seeds are not subject to too much temperature fluctuation during storage. so put them on the shelf rather than storing them in the refrigerator.
among the most popular microgreens are broccoli, kale, red cabbage, amaranth, buckwheat, arugula, cress, mustard, peas, carrots, brussels sprouts, wheatgrass and chard. but broccoli, beans, red cabbage, pak choi, quinoa, radishes or cilantro also do very well. as a rule of thumb, hard and large seeds should be soaked overnight in a glass of water, so that they germinate better.
how to grow microgreens?
to grow microgreens, you don't need a bed in the garden or a raised bed on the balcony; a sunny spot on the windowsill and a bowl will do. you can buy ready-made kits for this purpose, which usually contain a bowl, a coconut mat and seeds. you can also use things you already have at home for your growing tray of microgreens. for this you can either use a casserole dish, an old plant coaster or, if you have, a growing tray. the only important thing is that the tray is flat and impermeable to water.
- once you have found the right container, take growing soil and put a layer about 2 cm high in the tray. on top of the soil, place the seeds very densely. if you don't have soil, you can simply spread the seeds on a piece of paper towel.
- press them down a bit and moisten the seeds and soil with a spray bottle.
- if you are growing microgreens that sprout in the dark - so-called dark sprouts - cover the tray now. another tray or some soil is suitable for this.
- take cling film and cover the seeds with it. this creates a favorable microclimate for your microgreens. (note: once the seedlings have sufficiently sprouted, you can permanently remove the cover) place the tray with your seeds in a warm, bright place. the windowsill is a good place for this. in winter, the windowsill can be too cool and the seeds will get "cold feet". therefore, place the tray on a saucer or a small pedestal.
- the microgreens should now be aerated two to three times a day and sprayed with water to keep them moist. use only room-warm, fresh tap water for watering, as stale water carries the risk of germ contamination.
- microgreens are fully grown after about 7 to 14 days. at this point the sprouts have become seedlings. the visible sign is that they have formed a pair of leaves. cut the microgreens with a sharp knife or scissors directly above the soil.
harvest and prepare microgreens
with the pair of leaves formed, your microgreens are ready to be harvested. once you have cut them with a sharp knife, you can use them in a variety of ways in the kitchen! they can be used classically as part of a salad or as a highlight on your sandwiches and breads, as a perfect topping for your next burger, as a garnish on your favorite cocktail, and so much more. microgreens are also suitable as an ingredient in green smoothies and juices. there are no limits to your creativity in the kitchen when using your homegrown microgreens.