Microgreen - what is it and what does it eat with?
The word "microgreen" in the vocabulary of adherents of a healthy lifestyle and lovers of summer experiments appeared relatively recently, therefore, not everyone understands what this is about. What is it - another fashionable hobby or a new garden format? Who came up with eating tiny sprouts, what are their benefits, how to grow microgreens and how to use them later? Let's get it right.
What is a microgreen?
Microgreens are called sprouts of vegetable and green crops used in food in the phase 1-2 of this leaf (usually at the age of no more than 10-14 days, for ripening crops - for example, watercress - 4-6 days are enough). The maximum height of such plants is 4 cm; peas and sunflowers may be higher.
It is easy to grow microgreens: you do not need large areas and special conditions, you do not need to wait a long time for the harvest and take care of its storage. Establish your own "green conveyor" for the forces of even a very busy city dweller; all that is required is a little space on the windowsill, seeds and containers with a suitable substrate.
If there are children in the family, be sure to attract them to the “micro-town-keeping” - young naturalists will like it!
Where did this hobby come from?
At the end of the last century, California restaurants began to use microgreens as a decoration for ready-made dishes. Gradually, this fashion spread, crossed the ocean, but only in recent years, interest in microgreens began to grow rapidly.
Who was the first to discover its useful properties - history is silent, but now no one doubts their existence, and scientists are finding more and more evidence of the undeniable value of such food for our body.
Today, growing micro-greens is becoming a popular type of business; farmers deliver it to restaurants and shops, where anyone can buy this useful product. But why not try to grow it yourself?
What plants can be grown as microgreens?
A variety of cultures will suit: watercress, coriander, basil, radish, daikon, all kinds of cabbage (broccoli, kohlrabi, red cabbage and others), arugula, beets, amaranth, sunflowers, peas, cereals ... Because each of them has its own characteristics and your nuances of taste, it is worth experimenting and choosing what turns out to be the best for you. Only beans are recommended to be avoided - its sprouts contain substances toxic to the human body.
What exactly is the benefit of microgreen?
Is this product as useful as they say? And what are the differences between microgreens and the usual vegetables or fashionable seedlings - another type of plant-based dietary products? Faced with something new, of course, you begin to doubt. But in the case of microgreens, the benefits are clear and easy to explain.
Young plants contain a high concentration of biologically active substances, which is much higher than in ripe vegetables, fruits or herbs and even more than in seedlings. In addition, when storing any plant food, part of its beneficial properties are always lost, and microgreens are always used fresh, while preserving the maximum of valuable elements.
Most types of microgreens have a pronounced antioxidant effect and have a beneficial effect on digestion. Those who adhere to a diet will be pleased with the low calorie content of this product.
Features and useful properties of certain types of microgreens:
- Swede very rich in vitamins (A, C, E, K, group B), minerals and trace elements, organic compounds and fiber. The constant consumption of this microgreen will help the body resist premature aging, strengthen the immune system, and also serve as a preventive measure in preventing osteoporosis.
- Radish has a piquant island flavor; stimulates digestion, has a weak choleretic effect; contains essential oils, as well as a complex of vitamins and mineral elements;
- Daikon rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, C, PP and minerals. The use of daikon microgreens enhances the body's defenses, stimulates the secretion of gastric juice, and improves digestion.
- Beet useful for maintaining immunity; It is characterized by a high content of iron, iodine, magnesium, vitamins A, C, E, folic acid;
- Mustard Sarepta Mustard sprouts contain vitamins (A, C, K, rutin, B vitamins), micro and macro elements, Omega-3, Omega-6 fatty acids, pantothenic acid, essential oils, dietary fiber in abundance and are an excellent antioxidant, improve digestion have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. A large amount of ascorbic acid and rutin slows down the aging process and strengthens the walls of blood vessels.
What conditions are needed for growing microgreens?
Heat, humidity and light - that’s probably all that is needed for a “microcity”. Moreover, unlike ordinary vegetable crops, which need additional illumination, the microgreen can grow under ordinary lighting (although in the north window, for example, an additional lamp is still useful).
Good to know: with insufficient lighting, the plants will be paler; to obtain sprouts of saturated color, provide them with additional illumination (10-12 hours per day) from the moment of formation of true leaves to consumption.
A humid environment is necessary for seed germination and subsequent development of greenery. But it is very important that mold does not appear, the development of which is facilitated by high humidity. At the first signs of the appearance of mold, the product is destroyed - it is unsuitable for eating.
There is no need to purchase any special equipment (germinators, etc.) - you can successfully grow microgreens in any suitable container using a variety of substrates: prepared soil mixtures for seedlings, coconut fiber, sawdust, vermiculite, perlite, hydrogel and so on - even regular gauze, cotton cloth or cotton pads will do.
Why buy special seeds for growing micro-greens?
The fact is that the usual seeds of vegetable and green crops that are sold in stores, as a rule, undergo pre-sowing preparation, during which they are treated with various chemical preparations to protect against diseases, improve germination, etc. Such seeds are not suitable for obtaining microgreens, because the substances used for their processing can enter the body along with young sprouts.
What is the best substrate for growing microgreens?
There are different opinions on this, and you can choose the option that you like best and seems most convenient. Since the microgreen lifespan is calculated not even for weeks, but for days, the plants have enough reserves of nutrients contained in the seeds, so that they can grow even without any soil substrate - on wet tissue, for example.
Whatever you choose, the main thing is to comply with the technology. It is necessary to sow very densely, and until seedlings appear, keep containers with crops in heat under the film (lid, glass). Watch out for mold!
When the shoots appear, the film is removed, the containers are exposed on a window or in another bright place. The optimum temperature regime depends on the requirements of the culture, but in fact, any microgreen is successfully grown at room temperature.
That's all, it remains to wait for the harvest.
They grew microgreens - and what to do next?
The easiest way to eat is to use microgreens to decorate familiar dishes: salads, sandwiches, omelettes and so on. You can prepare the sauce by mixing crushed microgreens with sour cream or olive oil, or you can simply add it to salads like regular green crops.
Muesli with microgreens and nuts
Steamer 3 tablespoons of oatmeal (or any other) flakes, mix them with 0.5 cups of finely chopped micro-greens and 1 tablespoon of chopped nuts (pine nuts, almonds or walnuts are best). Add finely chopped apple or dried fruit to taste.
Microgarden curd paste
Thoroughly mix 100 g of fat-free cottage cheese, 1 tablespoon of sour cream and 0.5 cups of chopped microgreen. It can be salted to taste. It’s good to spread this paste on crispbread or crackers.
The regular use of various types of microgreens as a food has a beneficial effect on all organs and systems of the body, improves well-being and strengthens the immune system. It can be eaten not only by adults, but also by children. Grow microgreens - and be healthy!
green crop breeder
Candidate of agricultural science.
You can buy seeds for microgreen in the online store of Agroholding "SEARCH".