You might have noticed them in our online store – leafy, chia-pet–looking greens sold in small and large bunches. But what are they and what can you do with them?
What are microgreens and how do you cook with them?
Microgreens are highly nutritious and delicious vegetable seedlings. They are extremely and surprisingly versatile.
Obviously, they are great in salads and sandwiches. Not so obviously, they are killer in scrambled eggs, pastas, curries, stir-fries, hashes, ramen, and soups.
The key is to throw them on top of a finished plate or stir them in at the end so they become slightly more tender and develop a darker green color without becoming wilted.
Krista Shawley of Sable Dog Farm grows microgreens professionally in her indoor urban farm in Boise. She is passionate about the value of microgreens as a renewable, highly nourishing, space-saving food source for urban markets. You can buy her microgreens at the FarmDeliver online store or at the Boise Farmer’s Market.
Here’s what Krista has learned about microgreens over the years:
What’s the difference between microgreens and sprouts?
Microgreens and sprouts are not the same thing. Sprouts are literally just sprouted seeds. They are usually soaked and then rinsed once a day for 3-4 days. Microgreens, on the other hand, are sown over soil or some other grow medium. They grow for 10 days or sometimes longer. They are harvested above the soil so you do not eat the roots.
Microgreens have much more flavor, and perhaps even more health benefits, than sprouts due to higher levels of chlorophyll and cotyledon.
What are the health benefits of microgreens?
Sprouts and microgreens do have one thing in common: eating raw, sprouted vegetables provides research-backed health benefits. Microgreens and sprouts have significantly greater nutrient density – 60-100 times higher – than they would later on in their mature stage. Cruciferous varieties of microgreens in the Brassicaceae family, such as broccoli, bok choy, radish, arugula, and mustard, are especially nutrient dense.
Good for the Brain (Sulforaphane)
Broccoli microgreens are exceptionally powerful, and have been well researched by John's Hopkins University. A compound in microgreens known as Sulforaphane has been shown to have a profound effect on many facets of our health. There is research showing Sulforaphane ingested on a regular basis is linked with reduced risk of cancer. It was also shown to restore brain chemistry imbalance linked to schizophrenia, and had a measurable effect in reducing all-cause mortality.
Broccoli sprouts and microgreens have the absolute highest concentration of this compound that exists, other than concentrated supplements, which are usually derived from broccoli sprout powder. This means you can get a sufficient amount of Sulforaphane by eating a few grams of broccoli sprouts a week!