If questioned about which is better from a health and nutrition perspective, microgreens win for their varied taste and texture, a mass of nutritional value, and safer growing conditions. Due to high humidity, a contained location, and low light, sprouts develop more like a fungus. Whereas microgreens grow more like a plant, collecting nutrients from the seeds, earth, and sunshine.
Continue reading to discover the differences between sprouts and microgreens, the benefits of each, and the answer to the all-important question: which tastes better?
What’s The Difference Between Sprouts And Microgreens?
People often group sprouts and microgreens together; however, there are many differences, as illustrated in the table below.
|Harvest time||3 – 5 days||1 – 2 weeks|
|Length||2 to 3 inches||Between 4 and 7 inches|
|How are they grown?||Hydroponically||Hydroponically or in soil|
|Physical appearance||Seed leaves||True leaves|
|Light requirements||No light. Grown in darkness||Require light for at least four hours per day.|
|How are they eaten?||The entire sprout is eaten, including seed, root, and stem.||Only the plant grown above the soil is eaten, not the seed or the root.|
|Air requirements||Do not require ventilation||Require a good airflow for adequate growth.|
|Fiber content||Lower than microgreens||Greater than sprouts|
|Cost of purchase||Cheaper than microgreens||More expensive than sprouts|
Are Microgreens More Nutritious Than Sprouts?
Fibre, protein, and enzymes abound in sprouts. Sprouts can be high in carotene, niacin, and vitamins B and C, depending on the type you eat. However, the only nutrients found in sprouts are those found in the seed. The sprout does not yet have enough development to begin forming its own.
For their small size, microgreens carry a powerful nutritional punch. The vitamins you’ll acquire depend upon the type of microgreen you eat (red cabbage and daikon have massive Vitamin C and E, while cilantro is full of carotene). A typical microgreen can have 40 times the nutritional value of its mature counterpart, so even if you only consume a small quantity, you’re receiving a lot of goodies per gram.
Should I Grow Sprouts Or Microgreens?
Sprouts and microgreens are both simple to grow, requiring a little bit of your time and just a few basic supplies.
Sprouts don’t rely on the addition of nutrients to thrive. Instead, they utilize the nutrition stored in the endosperm to aid in their growth. The only other resource sprouts require is water. Due to this fact, hydroponics is the most common method of growth for sprouts, and growers utilize an array of mediums from mason jars to paper towels.
On the other hand, microgreens do require added nutrients to flourish. They often get these from a soil base but can be grown hydroponically provided that you add nutrients to their water.
Which Has More Varieties?
Producing microgreens allows you to grow a broader range of plant species than if you opt for sprouts. Microgreens come in various flavors and textures, from sunflower microgreens, with their distinct nutty flavor, to radish microgreens, which provide a fantastic zesty flavor to a meal.
Though much smaller varieties of sprouts are available to growers, there is still a range of popular favorites, including lentil sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, and mung bean sprouts.
Are Microgreens Safer To Eat Than Sprouts?
Growing sprouts is all about forcing the seed to grow quickly. You don’t supply nutrients, and you don’t get them from the earth.
Here’s the problem. To grow sprouts effectively, you’ll need a lot of humidity and a lot of shade. They’re grown in a fungus-like manner rather than as plants. It’s a bacterial hotspot with plenty of opportunities for disease to spread.
How Are Microgreen Grown Differently?
Microgreens are grown in the same way as plants because the aim is a tiny plant rather than an exploded seed. It takes weeks rather than days. They’re planted in soil, watered, and exposed to light.
They photosynthesize, convert carbohydrates to vitamins, and don’t reach harvest until their first real leaves appear.
The environment in which microgreens grow is far safer than that of sprouts. There’s more light and airflow, which means germs have a more challenging time establishing themselves.
Can Sprouts Make You Sick?
Typically, sprouts develop in a wet, poorly ventilated, low-light environment that encourages the growth of germs and mold. This is why sprouts should not be eaten uncooked.
There are fewer health risks with microgreens since the atmosphere is damp but not soggy, well ventilated, and exposed to good light. People prefer to eat them raw. Still, it’s safer to boil them before serving lightly.
Which Tastes Better?
Sprouts don’t have time to mature into plants and therefore don’t share the same taste as the vegetable they’re trying to grow into. They’re mild and commonly used in cooking for their crunch.
Sprouts lack the flavor and variety of microgreens. The latter add crunch to sandwiches, taste and variety to leafy salads, and a vitamin boost to pizza toppings. Microgreens can be blended into smoothies and soups, tossed into stir-fries, or rolled into wraps. Their versatility is far greater than that of sprouts.
What Are The Benefits Of Sprouts?
Sprouting aids in the breakdown of anti-nutrients found naturally in nuts, grains, and seeds, which make them difficult to digest. This breakdown of anti-nutrients is beneficial for people with digestive or autoimmune difficulties.
It’s believed that sprouts have up to 100 times more helpful enzymes than raw veggies. These enzymes are required by fast-growing sprouts for their own growth and cellular health, making them valuable to us as well.
And sprouts are also high in enzyme inducers, which help protect against chemical carcinogens.
Furthermore, sprouting nuts and seeds boosts their vitamin and mineral content, as well as their nutrient absorption. The concentration of B-vitamins, carotene, and vitamin C increases considerably when sprouted.
Why Are Microgreens Healthier Than Sprouts?
Microgreens provide many of the same benefits as sprouts, but they do not pose the danger of infection because they grow in soil under normal growth circumstances. You may do this indoors and outdoors, and seeds that would typically be sprouted can be cultivated as microgreens and retain the additional nutrients.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.