Californian chefs add microgreens to create magic, and it’s all about their pungent flavor. Microgreens have high nutritional value which is why they became increasingly popular these days. In other words, you get tons of flavor and nutrients at the same time.
Microgreens are actually baby greens, so try not to confuse them with sprouts. Let’s just say that they are grownup sprouts. You can grow these at home, and add them to your home meals.
Salad greens can be cultivated as microgreens, but you can also grow carrots, broccoli and sunflowers. You need organic, untreated seeds. Grow different types in the same tray and pick them all at once.
10 nutritional microgreens:
- Beet (Beta vulgaris)
Use beets that give microgreens with reddish and purple stems. They will grow within 18 days, and will make your dish nutritional and pretty. Experts suggest that you use Bull’s Blood and Detroit Dark Red.
- Chinese celery (Apium graveolens)
Both dark and light green greens provide maximum flavor and taste. They will grow within a month, and you have to soak the seeds for three days before sowing them. This will speed up their germination.
- Coriander/Chinese Parsley (Coriandrm sativum)
You get a pair of elongated cotyledon leaves and one or two leaves with fringes. These may be tiny, but you’ll fall for their strong smell and taste. You can either love or hate coriander. Coriander microgreens grow within 18-30 days.
- Garden cress (Lepidum sativum)
We love adding these in egg and mayo sandwiches. Garden cress microgreens have a peppery taste, and work well when added to soups and salads. You can harvest them within two weeks after sowing. American cress/Upland cress (Barbarea verna) has a similar flavor
- Onion/chives (Allium sp.)
These microgreens are monocots and look like grass. The first leaf of each sprout is always tipped with an empty seed coat. They grow within a month. You can snip off the top 1-2 inches, and then enjoy a few more harvests. Wheatgrass is also a monocot microgreen that provides several harvests.
- Mustards (Brassica juncea)
You have a regular green mustard, Osaka Purple and Red Giant mustard. The latter gives greens with purple stems and red leaves. But, be careful, these pack a lot of pungency. Harvest your microgreens once they grow 1 ½ to 2 inches, which is in two weeks, right after the first true leaves appear.
- Greens (Brassica rapa)
You can grow Mibuna, Mizuna, and Tatsoi. They have a mild taste, and are often added to other microgreen mixes. Harvest them within two weeks, right after they develop 2-3 true leaves.
- Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea)
Harvest these in two weeks, and enjoy the dark green leaves with purple stems.
- Orach (Atriplex hortensis)
Fire Red Orach has an amazing red color, and it tastes like spinach.
- Radish (Raphanus sativus)
It’s one of the quickest growing microgreens, and you can harvest these in 12 days. Use Sango, Red Arrow, Japanese Daikon, and Triton. They have contrasting leaf and stem color.
Grow arugula, cress, mustard and radishes for a zestier version of the regular greens of these plants. Carrot, cabbage, broccoli, chard and spinach have milder taste, and you can use different combinations. Try planting komatsuna, mizuna, red amaranth and Tatsoi. This is the first time that some of you read about these four, right? They are so rare, and finding organic seeds can be a real challenge.
Grow microgreens in trays
You need shallow containers, and an inch or two of growing medium. Each microgreen grows within 2-3 weeks which means you will have the first harvest pretty soon. Don’t worry if the roots form a mat underneath the soil. You will only need the leaves.
Find seed stater trays as they work best. These containers provide nice air circulation and drainage, and you’ll be safe from fungi and rot. Drainage is of utmost importance, especially if the seedlings are crowded.
Microgreens grow in sunlight or indoors, but make sure they get enough sunlight.never tamp down the soil, and it should have a loose structure.
Scatter the seeds, and spray the soil lightly. Keep your tray in a warm spot, and cover with a black plastic sheet. You can also use a damp towel. This will provide dark, warm and humid conditions that are essential for seed germination.
Sprouts will grow from day 3 onwards, depending on the seeds and conditions. Remove the cover, and put the tray to a sunny location. Provide grow lights, semi shade or a well lit window. The choice is yours. Your microgreens need sun, remember this.
Opt for spraying or bottom watering. Fill a larger tray with water, and place your tray in it. Lift the tray after half a minute to lose excess water.
How to harvest microgreens
Harvest your microgreens when they reach 1-2 inches in height and get at least two true leaves. You can also taste them. Spray the microgreens two hours before harvesting them, shake off any excess and let them air dry.
You don’t have to harvest all the greens at once, but try to cut off all plants in a small area before proceeding to another art. Remember, seedlings support each other while growing. Make sure you don’t bruise smaller greens, and harvest carefully.
Wash your microgreens in a dish with cold water, drain and dry them on a paper towel. Spread them on a wet towel and cover with another damp towel to keep them fresh.
Use and store microgreens
A handful of microgreens is just enough. Add them to your salads, fish or a piece of toast. Use a few mustard greens in sandwich to get the impression of mustard sauce. Use basil microgreens on pizza for a maximum flavor. If you add microgreens to soups and stir-fries, add them before serving.
Use microgreens as soon as you harvest them.keep them in the fridge for a few days to enjoy their crispiness.