Eating plenty of produce, especially leafy greens, is essential to any healthy diet. Often, people can struggle to eat enough greens and vegetables, and another challenge can be the availability of fresh produce. A new way of eating enough produce is becoming more popular, especially in areas where fresh and local produce isn’t readily available. Let’s look at how microgreens can fill an important role in your diet!
What are microgreens?
Microgreens are the seedlings of different types of plants, perfect for adding color, flavor, and high levels of nutrition to any meal. Many of your favorite plants can be eaten as microgreens, with unique flavors that can often be more subtle and distinct than full-grown greens. Microgreens often have hints of the same flavors as their full-grown counterparts, such as a slightly peppery flavor for radish, or a subtle nutty flavor for sunflower. In addition to the great flavor and texture of microgreens, many types of microgreens have a higher concentration of nutrition levels per cup than full-grown leafy greens!
Why are microgreens important?
For those living in food deserts, microgreens can fill an important role in a great diet, besides being a delicious addition to meals! Food deserts are considered areas where food products, fresh produce, and a variety of food items are simply not available. Where the climate isn’t ideal for growing produce, it often has to be brought in from far away, making essential fresh produce expensive, and often it doesn’t taste as good as locally grown produce.
Microgreens can help fill this gap in areas where fresh produce can’t be grown, or where it is too expensive. They are inexpensive, grow quickly, and do not require outdoor growing spaces in the proper climate. Microgreens can be grown year-round, indoors, and in any climate.
Locally sourced food is important even when the local climate isn’t exactly ideal for growing in the traditional way because you support local businesses and reap the benefits of better quality produce and higher nutrition. Locally grown produce will always be better tasting and because it doesn’t have far to travel, can be harvested at the optimal times. In addition to the benefits to your own health by eating fresh local microgreens, you support a local business at the same time, which improves availability for others in the local community.
Nutrition content in microgreens
Microgreens can impact your diet in a lot of ways, and one of the main ways is to introduce large quantities of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to your diet. In order to get the same level of vitamins and nutrition as the full-grown counterparts, you don’t have to eat as large a quantity of microgreens. That’s because microgreens are jam-packed with nutrition, especially when compared to their leafy green counterparts. Per cup, most microgreens contain much more vitamins, phytochemicals, and other nutrients than the full-grown versions of the microgreens.
This high level of nutrition in microgreens means you will need to eat smaller quantities to get the same amount of nutrients as you would in eating large quantities of full-grown greens. Radish microgreens, for example, have forty times the nutrients that the full-grown radishes have, as well as a peppery but milder flavor. Benefits from regularly eating radish microgreens can potentially include weight management, skin benefits, heart health benefits, and potentially even cancer prevention properties. Vitamin C can help to burn excess fat, and high levels of glucosinolate in radish microgreens can help to prevent cancer when eaten regularly.
Are microgreens the same as sprouts?
Microgreens are grown in soil, unlike sprouts which are often sprouted in a jar or wet bag. Sprouts are also eaten before leaves develop, with the seed still attached. Microgreens are not ready to harvest until the first leaves have opened, and the roots can be snipped off before eating.
Sprouts do come with a risk of foodborne illness, due to the “wet” nature of how they’re sprouted, and they can often harbor bacteria. Because of this, some areas have extra regulations in place for the growing and sale of sprouts in order to ensure a safe product. Sprouts also require a bit of extra care before eating, as they need to be thoroughly rinsed before eating to make sure there is no bacteria present. Microgreens should be lightly rinsed of any dirt, but don’t require any other special care before eating.
Which microgreens should I try first?
Broccoli microgreens are one of the fastest-growing types, and the microgreens are much milder in flavor than mature broccoli, making them a popular choice. These microgreens can add a bright and fresh flavor to salads, burgers, sandwiches, or even egg dishes. Broccoli microgreens have all the nutrition of mature broccoli without the strong taste, making it an excellent choice to try first. They’re high in Vitamin A, C, K, folate, and magnesium, as well as many minerals that are essential to a healthy diet.
Create unique meals with microgreens!
Many people think of microgreens as a simple garnish to a dish, which you can certainly do, but they can be used for many more recipes! Try replacing lettuce in tacos with microgreens such as bok choy or broccoli. Microgreens can also be added to smoothies to pack a high nutrition punch without adding bitter flavors! Top off a freshly baked pizza with crunchy radish microgreens for a bright twist. Add a handful of microgreens next time you make pesto for a new level of flavor and nutrition.
Experiment and find new ways to add a ton of nutrition to your daily diet by adding microgreens in a variety of ways. Different types of microgreens have unique flavors, usually a milder version of their full-grown counterpart, and you can use them in a wide variety of ways. Start by adding microgreens a few times a week to your diet, and soon you’ll find ways to incorporate them into your meals daily for maximum health and nutrition benefits.
Microgreens can greatly improve your diet and are delicious!
Introduce more fresh food into your diet, even in areas where fresh produce can’t be easily grown or accessed! Microgreens are an exciting and delicious way to get more vitamins, minerals, and more into your diet, and since they can be grown anywhere year-round, microgreens are available when fresh produce simply can’t be bought or grown. Try adding microgreens to your diet and daily routine! Find our weekly subscriptions at greenfarmnl.ca/subscriptions