While it is possible to grow microgreens from a variety of seeds, the best vegetables for microgreens are pea, sunflowers, cress, radish, red cabbage, broccoli, and kale. All of these microgreens are common, easy to find, and easy to grow. They are also the fastest-growing, ready to be harvested in one to two weeks.
Let’s take a look at what makes these vegetables the best for microgreens.
How can I tell which microgreens are best for me?
Firstly, think about what you want out of your microgreens. Do you enjoy the spicy taste of cress or a radish green?
Are you looking to eat microgreens solely for the health benefits? Maybe you’re even just experimenting with growing your own food.
Think about what you want to use your microgreens for when setting out to start growing them. It’s also a great idea to try different varieties of store-bought microgreens before growing them.
They can be expensive to buy in-store, which will give you the perfect incentive to start growing them on your own at home!
Do I need special seeds for microgreens?
Microgreens are the first leafing shoots of regular vegetables. As such, they don’t require different seeds.
Just make sure that the seeds you are using have been dry stored, are organic, relatively non-GMO (all vegetables we eat today have been genetically modified in some way), and that the plants have not been exposed to pests.
For extra precaution, pre-soak your seeds before sprouting. Pea and sunflower seeds in particular should be soaked before they are planted. Also, make sure that you are using seeds whose vegetative growth is safe to eat!
What vegetables are unsafe to eat as microgreens?
While sprouts can be grown from almost any vegetable, it is not safe to eat the vegetative growth of any plant in the nightshade family. This includes:
- Bell Peppers
- Hot Peppers
- Goji Berries
Additionally, most varieties of fruit seeds are not suitable to be grown for microgreens. The leaves are either full of toxins that are unsafe for consumption or just straight up don’t taste good. If you’re ever in doubt, it’s best not to risk it.
What do microgreens taste like?
The taste of microgreens varies depending on the green. For the most part, they taste like their macro counterparts.
Spicier varieties like radishes and cress have a peppery, tangy, and zesty flavor to them.
Sunflower microgreens are slightly sweet, nutty, and malty. If they’re grown for too long they can become bitter. Since we are mostly only familiar with the taste of the seeds after they’ve been dried and roasted, sunflower microgreens have a surprising, unique flavor.
Pea greens taste like peas – delicate and sweet. There are different varieties of pea greens that can be used that have their own unique flavor profiles.
Broccoli and kale greens both have a bit of a broccoli flavor to them with a slight bitterness, just like they do when fully grown.
What are the best tasting microgreens?
Taste is subjective, but speckled pea and sunflower microgreens are the ones that have been most consistently described as “ best tasting”. Radish, kohlrabi, and cress greens are some of the most flavorful if you’re looking for your greens to pack a punch flavor-wise.
Experiment with different types of greens in order to find which ones taste the best to you. Since peas and sunflowers are so easy to grow and are ready to eat in such a short span of time, why not try those first?
How do I eat microgreens?
Microgreens can be used in a variety of ways. Try adding them to salads, sandwiches, and wraps. Sprinkle pea shoots on toast with avocado and salt for a nutrient-packed breakfast.
You can add microgreens to smoothies, where you’ll enjoy their raw benefits without much of the taste depending on the other ingredients. You can also juice microgreens.
Microgreens are also great as garnishes for other dishes. Channel your inner chef and experiment with different varieties of greens in different dishes.
What are the health benefits of microgreens?
Microgreens may be, well, micro, but they are even more nutrient-dense than the full-grown version. Why? Because they contain all of the nutrients the plant needs to continue growing, without losing any of that in the later leafing stages.
According to a study at the University of Maryland, most microgreen species out of 25 studied contained 40 times more nutrient concentration than the mature versions.
Microgreens contain essential amino acids, along with magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium, to name a few.
They also are a great source of vitamins from A – K, depending on the greens. The ones we’ve mentioned before – pea shoots, radish, and sunflower – are among the tastiest and most nutrient-dense.
Do mature vegetables grow after the microgreens have been harvested?
Unfortunately, using vegetable seeds for microgreens isn’t a two-for-one deal. While it is possible that some may regrow, there usually aren’t enough nutrients left over for the seeds to generate any new growth.
However, you can keep growing almost immediately after harvest; the old roots can be a great source of organic matter to fertilize the next round of greens. Just make sure your growing conditions are optimal and nothing is moldy. Make sure to clean your seed-growing trays as often as possible to prevent this from happening.
Which microgreens are the easiest to grow?
Some microgreens are easier to grow than others. While it depends on the growers’ setup, generally radish, broccoli, cabbage, and pea microgreens are the easiest to grow.
All of these will germinate and be ready for harvest within 2 weeks of planting. Radish greens can be ready in only 5 days!
Should I cook microgreens or eat them raw?
Nutrients in vegetables are often lost in the cooking process, and microgreens are no different. Microgreens and sprouts are generally best, nutrition-wise when eaten raw.
It is also best to eat your microgreens within one or two days after harvesting. They don’t keep for super long when stored, so plan accordingly!
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.