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What Are Microgreens? A Brief Introduction

What are microgreens

You find microgreens and now asking yourself, what are they?

How did our story begin? I remember six years ago when we started thinking of building a business on our own and when we ran into microgreens. Young plants that conquered the public and our world. We (Saša and my partner Boštjan) wanted to learn everything and know every detail about microgreens. We researched the Internet and read through every possible page on the topic we found. And we simply fell in love with these little green, healthy buddies.

We also printed out all the material we considered necessary and created a folder about different types of microgreens. We could not help ourselves we quickly got sucked deep into the microgreen world. In all these years of growing microgreens indoors, we gained so much knowledge and experience and now, we feel it’s time to share our love with likeminded people and everyone looking for a healthy addition to their diet. You can learn more in depth if you enter into our online course here.

So, what exactly are microgreens?

Microgreens are exceptionally tender young greens, also called »vegetable confetti«. They are harvested when the embryonic first leaves (cotyledon leaves) and young plant stems reach the length of five to seven cm (two or three inches, depends on variety), or when the first true leaves start popping up.

Microgreens are always cut with stems. I remember when I was selling them on a farmers market, people didn’t realize stems are also edible. Indeed, they are and very tasty, too.

Size-wise, microgreens usually grow to somewhere between sprouts and baby salad leaves. They can be grown in various colors and leaf forms, and are a quick and rewarding crop. Since they are harvested at such an immature stage, seeds are sown at a high density to maximize yields from each crop and to allow greens to grow tall.

Though tiny in size, they are mighty in taste, brilliant in color and loaded with nutrients. That is why they are increasing in popularity and add a unique flair to every meal of the day. Microgreens are quickly grown, and the fastest ones can grow tall enough in just one week.


what are microgreens

Microgreens of mustard.

Ideal for home growing – easy and fun

Microgreens are perfect for home chefs, both parents and kids, and for those with a limited indoor growing space. They need as little as a few square centimeters and can grow fine under indirect light or on a sunny windowsill. A crop of microgreens is packed in a small, highly nutritious package, but with a distinct flavor of a mature plant.

They are perfect for growing at home since they provide fresh, mini salad greens year-round. Kids will love them as a little project to take care of that brings fast and rewarding results.

Microgreens are becoming more and more popular, not only with high-end restaurants and foodies but with anyone wanting to add an explosion of nutrition and taste to their meals.

They originated in California in the 1980s, where innovative chefs started using them in new dishes to add color, flavor, and texture. From there, they rapidly spread across the U.S. and worldwide. Nowadays, packs of microgreens are finding their way not only into farmers’ markets but also into local grocery stores.

what are microgreens

Vegan salad with microgreens.

Where to use microgreens and what is their nutritional pack?

The usage of microgreens is extensive. There are no limits to quantity or foods that love their company. You can sprinkle them as toppings, add them as garnishes, use them as a flavoring in salads, soups, pizzas, join them with wraps, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, and mix them with all kind of dips.

In regards to phytonutrients and chlorophyll, microgreens are real superstars. A mouthful of microgreens provides more nutrition than the same amount of mature leaves of the same plant. This is thanks to a powerful enzyme factory, activated when a seed sprouts, that jump-starts a chain of chemical reactions that produce an amazing increase in vitamins (C, B, and E, in particular), essential fatty acids, fiber, chlorophyll, antioxidants, and enriched minerals.

Their nutritional values are also backed by science. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports microgreen cotyledon leaves can possess higher nutritional densities than mature plants. Some microgreens hold 30 to 40 times more vitamins and minerals by weight than their mature vegetables.

The nutritional benefits of microgreens are even more significant in combinations of various greens in one dish. Few people would have three of four types of steamed vegetables served in the same meal. But with microgreens, you can use smaller amounts of multiple greens varieties that combined provide you with a more nutritious meal, and an increased number of vitamins and minerals.

Besides the outstanding nutritional benefits, microgreens also add unique flavors to foods. And if that wasn’t enough, we can’t forget how visually appealing microgreens are as garnishes on prepared plates of food.

what are microgreens

Soup with basil microgreens.

Want to learn more?

If you have any questions about the information cited in this post or about microgreens in general, please leave a comment below or reach out to us via email hello@reactgreens.com.

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