Microgreens: Features Of Cultivation, Benefits And Recipes

The word “micro-green” in the lexicon of adherents of a healthy lifestyle and lovers of dacha experiments appeared relatively recently, so it is not yet clear to everyone what it is about. What is it — another fashion craze or a new garden format? Who came up with the idea of eating tiny sprouts, what are their benefits, how to grow microgreens correctly and how to use it later? Let’s figure it out.

What is a micro-green?

Microgreens are the sprouts of vegetable and green crops that are used for food in the 1-2 phase of the present leaf (usually at the age of no more than 10-14 days, for precocious crops — for example, watercress-4-6 days are enough). The maximum height of such plants is 4 cm, only peas and sunflowers can be higher.

It is easy to grow microgreens: you do not need large areas and special conditions, you do not need to wait long for the harvest and take care of its storage. Even a very busy citizen can set up their own “green conveyor”; all that is required is a little space on the windowsill, seeds and containers with a suitable substrate. If there are children in the family, be sure to involve them in “micro — urbanism” – young naturalists will like it!

Microgreens: Features Of Cultivation, Benefits And Recipes

Where did this hobby come from?

Micro-greens as decoration of ready meals at the end of the last century began to use California restaurants. Gradually, this fashion spread, crossed the ocean, but only in recent years, interest in micro-greenery began to grow rapidly. Who first discovered its useful properties — history is silent, but now no one doubts their existence, and scientists are finding more and more evidence of the indisputable value of such food for our body.

Today, the cultivation of microgreens is becoming a popular business; farmers supply it to restaurants and shops where people can buy this useful product. But why not try to grow it yourself?

What plants can be grown as microgreens?

A variety of crops are suitable: watercress, coriander, Basil, radish, daikon, all kinds of cabbage (broccoli, kohlrabi, red cabbage and others), arugula, beetroot, amaranth, sunflower, peas, cereals… Since each of them has its own characteristics and nuances of taste, it is worth experimenting and choosing what is best for you. It is recommended to avoid only beans — its sprouts contain substances that are toxic to the human body.

What exactly is the benefit of micro-greenery?

Is this product really as useful as it is said to be? And what is the difference between microgreens and the usual vegetables or fashionable sprouts — another type of plant-based dietary products? When faced with something new, you naturally start to doubt. But in the case of micro-greenery, the benefits are clear and easy to explain.

Young plants have a very high concentration of biologically active substances — much higher than in Mature vegetables, fruits or greens, more than in sprouts. In addition, when storing any plant food, some of its useful properties are lost, and microgreens are always consumed fresh, preserving the maximum of valuable elements.

Most types of microgreens have a pronounced antioxidant effect and have a beneficial effect on digestion. Those who follow a diet will be pleased with the low calorie content of this product.

Microgreens: Features Of Cultivation, Benefits And Recipes

Features and useful properties of certain types of microgreens:

  • watercress activates digestion and has a tonic effect; when used regularly, it can help reduce blood pressure; it has a high content of iodine, magnesium and calcium, as well as retinol, ascorbic acid and B vitamins;
  • radish has a piquant island taste; stimulates digestion, has a weak choleretic effect; contains essential oils, as well as a complex of vitamins and mineral elements;
  • red cabbage tones, strengthens the immune system and improves digestion; it has a high content of carotene and ascorbic acid;
  • beetroot is useful for the immune system; it has a high content of iron, iodine, magnesium, vitamins A, C, E, folic acid;
  • Basil has a beneficial effect on blood vessels, improves digestion and metabolism; contains essential oils and vitamins A, C, B2, PP.

What conditions are needed for growing microgreens?

Heat, humidity and light — that’s probably all you need for a “micro-city”. Moreover, in contrast to conventional vegetable crops that need additional illumination, microgreens can grow under normal lighting (although on the North window, for example, an additional lamp is still useful).

It is useful to know: if there is insufficient light, the plants will be paler; to get sprouts of rich color, provide them with additional illumination (10-12 hours a day) from the moment of formation of real leaves to consumption.

A moist environment is necessary for seed germination and subsequent development of greenery. But it is very important that mold does not appear, the development of which is facilitated by high humidity. At the first sign of the appearance of a mold fungus, the product is destroyed — it is unsuitable for eating.

There is no need to purchase any special equipment (sprouters, etc.)-you can successfully grow microgreens in any suitable container, using a variety of types of substrate: ready — made soil mixtures for seedlings, coconut fiber, sawdust, vermiculite, perlite, hydrogel, and so on — even ordinary gauze, cotton cloth, or cotton pads will do.

Why buy special seeds for growing microgreens?

The fact is that ordinary seeds of vegetable and green crops that are sold in stores, as a rule, undergo pre-sowing preparation, during which they are treated with various chemicals to protect against pathogens, improve germination, etc. Such seeds are not suitable for obtaining microgreens, because the substances used for their processing can enter the body together with young sprouts.

Microgreens: Features Of Cultivation, Benefits And Recipes

The new product of this season is a series of seeds for Micrograin. These seeds are specially designed for growing microgreens at home and you can safely buy them to get a healthy harvest.

Which substrate is best suited for growing microgreens?

There are different opinions on this, and you can choose the option that you like best and seems the most convenient. Since the life span of microgreens is calculated not even in weeks, but in days, plants have enough reserves of nutrients contained in seeds, so they can grow even without a soil substrate at all — on a wet cloth, for example.

Whatever you choose, the main thing is to follow the technology. You need to sow very thickly and keep containers with crops warm under a film (lid, glass) until seedlings appear. Make sure that no mold appears! When the shoots appear, the film is removed, the containers are placed on the window or in another bright place. The optimal temperature regime depends on the requirements of the crop, but in General, any microgreens are successfully grown at room temperature.

That’s all, it remains to wait for the harvest.

We have grown a microgrowth — and what to do with it next?

The easiest way to use it is to use microgreens to decorate familiar dishes: salads, sandwiches, omelets, and so on. You can prepare the sauce by mixing crushed micro-greens with sour cream or olive oil, or you can simply add it to salads like regular green crops.

Microgreens: Features Of Cultivation, Benefits And Recipes

Muesli with microgreens and nuts

Steam 3 tablespoons of oatmeal (or any other) flakes, mix them with 0.5 cups of finely chopped microgreens and 1 tablespoon of chopped nuts (best of all — pine, almonds or walnuts). Add finely chopped Apple or dried fruit to taste.

Cottage cheese paste with microgreens

Carefully mix 100 g of low-fat cottage cheese, 1 tablespoon of sour cream and 0.5 cups of crushed micro-greens. You can add salt to taste. This paste is good to spread on crusty bread or crackers.

Regular consumption of various types of microgreens has a beneficial effect on all organs and systems of the body, improves well-being and strengthens the immune system. You can eat it not only for adults, but also for children. Grow microgreens — and be healthy!

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