You might have heard about microgreens, a popular buzzfood that is being incorporated into sandwiches, soups, smoothies, and even eaten raw. These little veggies are trending because they are easy to grow and packed with nutrition and flavor.
So, what really refers to microgreens, and what is all the hype about?
What are microgreens?
Simply put, microgreens are little seedlings of a wide variety of vegetables and herbs. They are also sometimes called ‘vegetable confetti’ because of how tiny and colorful they are.
Essentially, they are baby plants and are usually around 1-3 inches tall. They come in many different flavor profiles and textures. They can be grown using different seeds, and some of the popular varieties include cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, carrot, celery, fennel, onion, garlic, cucumber, melon, squash, and spinach.
You must not confuse microgreens with sprouts as the two are different. Microgreens can be grown in soil, whereas sprouts germinate in water. Plus, microgreens have a higher nutritional value as well.
Is there a demand for microgreens?
In recent years, the popularity of microgreens is steadily rising. According to ResearchAndMarkets, the global market for microgreens will be growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 7.5% from 2020 to 2025.
Microgreens are also becoming a part of pop culture as they are now featured in high-cuisine shows like Chopped and Masterchef. Food bloggers are also raving about them as they are a hot topic right now. They are mostly used as a flavor enhancement, colorful garnish, or even as a key ingredient in many dishes.
There is also a new trend of people growing their own microgreens in the comfort of their homes.
Why are microgreens popular?
There is a combination of factors contributing to the huge popularity of these teeny-tiny greens right now. Let us take a look at some of the main reasons why people love them.
Punch of flavor
Microgreens are often used for adding zing to meaty dishes. Any everyday meal can be enhanced with additional flavor and crunch. They can be really good as pizza toppings, an ingredient in Asian stir-fries, in rice dishes, sandwiches, burgers, salads, or when blended into sauces.
You can even munch them on their own as the stems are packed with a vibrant flavor.
The seeds are the main component that stores most of the nutrients. By harvesting them as microgreens, you can sometimes get 40 times more nutrients in comparison to fully grown plants.
They also have concentrated sources of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and enzymes.
Easy and Fun to Grow
Microgreens are usually ready to harvest within two to three weeks after planting them. You can grow them easily in limited spaces or even on your kitchens windowsill.
Microgreens are visually aesthetic and can look very pretty as decorations. They can bring life to your living space with their aroma and color.
Why Makes Microgreens Healthy?
You can safely consume microgreens in their raw form which makes them a super healthy food option. Cooking can destroy the vitamins, enzymes, and phytonutrients, so microgreens retain their nutritional value.
Homegrown microgreens are fresh and nutrient-dense as well. This is because you will harvest the vegetable a few moments before consuming it. This ensures that you get all the nutrients straight from the living plant.
What are the nutrients in Microgreens?
- Vitamins: Microgreens are usually rich in vitamin E, vitamin C, as well as carotenoids.
- Minerals: These are generally absorbed by plant matter and stored in seeds. Microgreens are packed with minerals like potassium, zinc, iron, copper, and magnesium.
- Antioxidants: Polyphenols are a category of antioxidants found in ‘brassica’ microgreens like Red Russian Kale. Carotenoids are another type of antioxidant that is found 5 times more in microgreens. (compared to adult leaves)
Are microgreens good for your skin & hair?
There are a number of microgreens that can help make the skin glow. You can consume sunflower, broccoli, radish, and nasturtium microgreens to see a visible boost in your skin’s health and appearance. These microgreens contain essential nutrients such as vitamins, zinc, vitamin A, B, D, E, plus the antioxidants in them can help fight skin inflammation.
In fact, microgreens can even improve the health and texture of your hair and reduce damage by minimizing breakage. You can get stronger tresses by consuming beetroot microgreens in particular. They contain high amounts of potassium, iron, and electrolytes that are really good for the hair.
Can microgreens help you lose weight?
According to recent research, certain microgreens can also help in weight loss. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that red cabbage microgreens play a role in lowering cholesterol levels and can help you lose weight.
What are the Most Popular Microgreens?
These are five of the most popular microgreens right now with lots of flavor and nutrition:
Mustard microgreens are a cool-season crop and very easy to grow. Plus, mustard greens are a superfood as they have lots of antioxidants like vitamin A and vitamin C. Incorporating mustard into your diet helps cleanse the liver and remove toxins from the blood. It also contains fiber and phytonutrients that lower the chances of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Mustard microgreens have a tasty, zestier flavor than regular mustard. This sweet-hot taste goes well with sandwiches and burgers.
2. Pea shoots
Pea-shoots are also full of nutrition, as are all microgreens. They contain beta-carotene that the body converts into vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate. The mild flavor of pea shoots is very enjoyable. You can have them raw or cooked, added into wraps, salads, or stirfries. They are also crispy, which makes them a treat to devour.
Beet greens have incredible health benefits as well. Loaded with vitamin A, they also have high amounts of beta-carotene and lutein.
Beet has a mild, earthy flavor. You can use purple and red-stemmed varieties to add color to salads.
Radish is one of the quickest growing microgreens. They are a good source of folic acid, vitamin B6, potassium, riboflavin, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, and calcium. Radish microgreens have a zestier, more peppery flavor than regular radish greens.
This detoxifying microgreen is another super nutritious food. It contains vitamins A, B, C,
and E. It is also a rich source of calcium, selenium, phosphorus, and potassium.
This combination of nutrients improves thyroid function and the respiratory system as well as the circulatory system. In addition, it boosts immunity which makes it even healthier.