Eat your microgreens

 

Packed full of vitamins and nutrients, and with an abundance of flavour, microgreens are a simple and delicious way of getting more of the good stuff into your diet.

Microgreens, though fancy sounding, are nothing more than the seedlings of vegetables, herbs and even edible flowers, harvested after two to three weeks of growing. Think of the cress you grew in an egg shell at school, and you’ve got it.

These tender sprigs can be added to soups, salads, sandwiches and smoothies, and more! In fact, there’s few dishes that these flavourful little seedlings can’t improve.

With over 40 times the nutrient content than their mature counterparts, according to researchers at the University of Maryland, that right there is 40 reasons why you should be incorporating microgreens into your daily diet.

Easy to grow at home on a windowsill all year round, microgreens can be cultivated in soil or using a paper towel, though expect better results if grown in soil as these seeds absorb extra nutrients from within the soil. Some seeds also need to be soaked in water for 1-24 hours before planting. Have a quick search online to check if the seeds you pick need this.

How to grow microgreens at home

In soil

Fill a tray, an old jar, or whatever ‘pot’ you have, with soil. Lightly water the soil and very generously sprinkle your seeds on top. Cover the seeds with a further thin layer of soil and lightly water again (making sure the soil is moist but not water logged). Then place the tray on a bright windowsill and lightly water when needed.

On a paper towel

Place a damp paper towel inside a tray, jar, or your ‘pot’ of choice, very generously sprinkle your seeds on top. Keep the towel damp but not too wet as this may encourage bacteria to grow. Place the tray on a bright windowsill and lightly water when needed.

When to harvest your microgreens

After a few days, the seeds will begin to grow shoots and soon the first set of leaves will appear. You can harvest these now but most people wait until the second leaves grow through (around the two-week mark). Experiment to find which stage of growth you prefer. Using scissors, cut the stems at soil level (only harvest your microgreens just before you need to use them) and rinse well before eating.

What seeds to try

Edible flower seeds such as marigold, dandelion, pansy, geranium, lavender, nasturtium, hibiscus, primrose, sunflower and sweet violet seeds can all be used as microgreens.

Vegetable seeds such as sweetcorn, broccoli, brussel sprout, cauliflower, cucumber, lettuce, carrot, pea, beetroot, squash and more make great microgreens.

Herbs such as basil, mint, oregano, rosemary, mustard, chives, fennel, rocket, chia and the rest all work as microgreen-flavour-enhancers.

Microgreens are easy to grow, chockfull full of goodness and best of all – a versatile ingredient. Take basil microgreens, they’re great whether made into a pesto or sprinkled over a strawberry and chocolate tart. Mustard microgreens are fantastic used in place of lettuce in a burger bun or added to a cheese toastie. Whizz up any microgreens you like with avocado, apple, orange juice and a dash of honey for a refreshing smoothie.

The world is your oyster when it comes to microgreens. Experiment with harvest times and try adding them to as many dishes to find the flavour combinations you love.

Photo by Deviyahya on Unsplash