MicrogreensMicrogreens are young vegetable greens that are 3 inches (7.5 cm) tall. They have a flavor and nutrient content and come in a variety of colors and textures. Microgreens are considered baby plants, falling somewhere between a sprout and baby green. Microgreens are typically used in salads. They also may be steamed or sautéed.
The history of the earliest cultivation of microgreens dates back to ancient times when Mesopotamians and Mediterranean civilizations grew these young greens for their flavor and medical properties. In the 1960s farmers in Japan started growing microgreens commercially, and they became common in Europe and the United States by the 1990s. Today, they are very popular among chefs who use them to add color, texture, and nutrients while highlighting a wide variety of dishes. The growth of the microgreen industry has been helped by these chefs and their use of microgreens in their recipes. A salad composed of five different types of microgreens was served at a gala in New York City in 2012 where a seven-course meal cost $1,000 per person to eat.
The harvest of microgreens falls into two categories: cut and come again or continuous. The first requires the harvesting of individual plants when they reach a certain height; this typically happens in about 10 days (which is faster than most other greens). After cutting, several well-established leaves remain and allow for further growth. The second method involves growing plants until they are nearly mature and harvesting the entire crop. This is often done daily or every other day. The plants can be cut at any height before they begin to flower.
Microgreens are very healthy for you because of their high nutrient content. Many people grow them simply for health benefits, not just for flavor or appearance. They can be eaten raw or cooked. The nutrients in microgreens are concentrated because they are harvested so early in their growth before the plant has begun to use its stored water and grow big. The longer a plant stays in the ground, the more diluted its nutritional content becomes as it develops larger leaves and roots. This is why you will typically find more nutrients in microgreens than in mature plants. They are also typically very low in calories and high in fiber, protein, essential amino acids, beta carotene, vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, and magnesium. The taste varies depending on the soil it is grown in.