Updated: Mar 13, 2020
Have you ever been curious as to whether Microgreens pack a punch of nutrients? The answer: yes. Microgreens, have been around for a while. They were mostly used for garnishing and ingredients but we are now starting to realize that they might be a lot more nutritious than normally grown vegetables. We’ll be going into detail on the benefits of Microgreens.
What Are Microgreens
Microgreens is the universal name for almost any green vegetable or herb that has edible leaves and is harvested at the cotyledon growth stage, the stage when the first set of true leaves sprout. The cotyledon growth stage comes after the germination and sprouting stages but before a plant fully develops its root and leaf structures. The first set of true leaves develops after the cotyledon or the first two visible leaves of a plant appear. When the next set of leaves, anywhere between two to four, are produced, the plant actually enters the cotyledon stage. If the plant is allowed to grow, it becomes a seedling.
Microgreens Are Nutritious
According to Gene Lester in an interview with NPR, “He was knocked over,” at the fact that microgreens had a lot more nutrients than expected. Lester then continued, “The researchers looked at four groups of vitamins and other phytochemicals – including vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene — in 25 varieties of microgreens.” They went on to discover that these microgreens were loaded with nutritious value.
Studies, have presented that microgreens are loaded with nutrients, such vitamins, C, E, and K, lutein, and beta-carotene, 40 fold than the mature leaves of the same plants.
Like the full-grown counterparts, the levels of these nutrients vary across the wide array of microgreens.
A US study looked at nutrient levels of 25 different microgreens and compared them to published information on full-sized leafy vegetables and herbs.
Nutrient levels in different microgreens varied. But they typically had higher levels per gram of vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids (plant compounds, some used to make vitamin A and others help maintain eye health) than mature crops.
Microgreens are most commonly harvested from leafy greens such as kale, arugula, beet greens, onions, radish greens, watercress, chard and pak choi and herbs such as cilantro, basil, chervil, parsley and chives. The taste of microgreens depends on the original vegetable. Microgreens have a very strong and concentrated taste of the original vegetable. This means that cilantro microgreens will still taste of cilantro but in a stronger, more vegetable and condensed format.
Microgreens aren’t going to replace mature vegetables anytime soon but they will make their name known because they’re just as great! They add nutritional value and they also add complex flavors to dishes or salads.
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