Try Me! Microgreens...The New Super Veggie

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

These aromatic greens, also known as micro herbs or vegetable confetti, are rich in flavor and add a welcome splash of color to a variety of dishes.

Despite their small size, they pack a nutritional punch, often containing higher nutrient levels than more mature vegetable greens. This makes them a good addition to any diet.

What Are Microgreens?

Microgreens are young vegetable greens that are approximately 1–3 inches (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 are considered baby plants, falling somewhere between a sprout and baby green.

That said, they shouldn’t be confused with sprouts, which do not have leaves. Sprouts also have a much shorter growing cycle of 2–7 days, whereas microgreens are usually harvested 7–21 days after germination, once the plant’s first true leaves have emerged.

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 and can be sold before being harvested.

This means that the plants can be bought whole and cut at home, keeping them alive until they are consumed.

Microgreens are very convenient to grow, as they can be grown in a variety of locations, including outdoors, in greenhouses and even on your windowsill.

Different Types of Microgreens

Microgreens can be grown from many different types of seeds.

The most popular varieties are produced using seeds from the following plant families:

  • Brassicaceae family: Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, radish and arugula

  • Asteraceae family: Lettuce, endive, chicory and radicchio

  • Apiaceae family: Dill, carrot, fennel and celery

  • Amaryllidaceae family: Garlic, onion, leek

  • Amaranthaceae family: Amaranth, quinoa swiss chard, beet and spinach

  • Cucurbitaceae family: Melon, cucumber and squash

Cereals such as rice, oats, wheat, corn and barley, as well as legumes like chickpeas, beans and lentils, are also sometimes grown into microgreens.

Microgreens vary in taste, which can range from neutral to spicy, slightly sour or even bitter, depending on the variety. Generally speaking, their flavor is considered strong and concentrated.

Microgreens Are Nutritious

Microgreens are packed with nutrients.

While their nutrient contents vary slightly, most varieties tend to be rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper.

Microgreens are also a great source of beneficial plant compounds like antioxidants.

What’s more, their nutrient content is concentrated, which means that they often contain higher vitamin, mineral and antioxidant levels than the same quantity of mature greens.

In fact, research comparing microgreens to more mature greens reports that nutrient levels in microgreens can be up to nine times higher than those found in mature greens.

Research also shows that they contain a wider variety of polyphenols and other antioxidants than their mature counterparts.

The Bottom Line

Microgreens are flavorful and can easily be incorporated into your diet in a variety of ways.

They're also generally very nutritious and may even reduce your risk of certain diseases.

Given that they're easy to grow at home, they're an especially cost-effective way to boost nutrient intake without having to purchase large quantities of vegetables.

As such, they’re a worthwhile addition to your diet.

***We are currently stocking a variety of Coastal Microgreens from New Smyrna Beach, FL., and they taste delicious!

Peggy Van Cleef