Microgreens: Seed to Salad in 7 days

Microgreens are fantastic for a number of reasons.  First they are super nutritious with bursts of vitamins and beta-carotene.  Second, they make you feel like you could be the next Top Chef in their ability to garnish a dish with the panache of a seasoned cook.  And third, they are easy to grow in your own home, making a great project for kids and foodies alike.


What is a microgreen?  Microgreens are young seedlings of edible plants.  These are not to be confused with sprouts (germinated seeds, where the seed is edible), shoots (larger seed sprouts eaten at an immature stage), or baby greens (young plants eaten at their true leaf stage).  These immature plants can be vegetables or herbs and can contain Vitamins (E, C, K), phytonutrients, and antioxidants.  USDA ARS Online Magazine Microgreen-eating Mice Gain Health Benefits  Some of the more popular microgreen types include broccoli, cabbage, radish, cress, arugula, mustard greens, basil, cilantro, dill, and amaranth.  Each is selected for its appearance, nutrition and flavor profile.


So, even if you couldn’t endure Thomas Keller’s 6 hour Masterclass, you can still make your boxed macaroni and cheese look Michelin starred with the use of microgreens.  To begin, know that microgreens are used raw; if cooked they will get lost in a dish due to their delicate nature.  Think of the flavor of a vegetable or herb in its mature stage, and whatever that would pair well with, is the type of microgreen you should garnish with.  For instance, broccoli goes great with mac-n-cheese, so garnish a bowl with broccoli microgreens.  Also consider color and shape contrasts.  If you have an orange and smooth butternut squash soup, then a red, round leaf amaranth microgreen would really stand out.  Consider other pairings such as cilantro microgreens on tacos, green basil microgreens on red sauce with pasta, or a colorful mix jutting out of a sandwich.  Microgreens also make a great stand-alone salad mix, or team-up with other greens. 25 Microgreens Recipes - How To Take Healthy Mircogreens Eating To The Next Level (diys.com)


Microgreens are also easy-peasy, especially with a grow-at-home kit like this one through Tilth Soil. Kits like this contain everything you need to go from seeds to salad in seven days.  Kids love to assist with filling the trays with dirt, and watching the microgreens grow in such a short time.  They also get to explore different flavors and participate in harvesting when it's time to taste-test, by clipping a few with scissors (no knife necessary!).  Foodies can also expand their palettes, and impress their friends, by trying different vegetables and herbs that are not common in most restaurants, such as sorrel and shiso.


Knowing more about microgreens is just the beginning.  Now you will start to notice them on your plate at restaurants, you’ll want to explore new varieties you see at the farmer’s market, and you may even want to grow some on your windowsill at home.  

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