The days the world of microgreens has come a long way. Gone are the days of limited choice when it comes to packing a nutrient punch into your diet. A whole world of sprouts and shoots are now showing up in culinary creations. And the best news? They’re incredibly easy to grow right from seed in the comfort of your own home – planting to harvest is often as little as a few days for most varieties!
Microgreens come in all sorts of flavor profiles – from spicy to nutty to lemony and more. And the list of nutrients available in these little wonders is a mile long.
If you think microgreens could be a great way to add some sustainable, hyper-locally sourced (from your kitchen countertop) nutrition into your diet, read on for the 411 on four varieties of these perfect green powerhouses.
1. Pea Shoots
The first time I had pea shoots was in a restaurant just outside of NYC. I was instantly fascinated by the use of something I’d never thought to cook when they grew in my own home garden. And when I sampled one of these delicate little shoots, it was love at first bite.
The flavor profile of pea shoots is very mild. They lend a tender crispness to any dish whether served raw or cooked. And let me tell you, they are equally delicious both ways. During warm months, toss some pea shoots in a salad or a wrap (or just grab a handful out of the fridge to munch) and when you’re in the mood for cooked food add them into a vegetable stir fry for a little brightness.
All microgreens are positively packed with vitamins, and pea shoots are no exception. Their nutrition values include beta-carotene – which our bodies convert into vitamin A, vitamin C, folate–which is an essential building block for the human body, and fiber.
Pea shoots, like most microgreens, grow quickly. You can harvest them once they reach three or four inches tall or you can leave them until they are a bit larger. Three weeks is about the limit before pea shoots start to toughen up and become less palatable.
2. Radish Sprouts
If mild isn’t your thing, consider growing some radish sprouts. These spicy little shoots mimic their larger selves in flavor profile, delivering some heat to any dish. If you like radishes, you’ll like radish sprouts, too. These delicate little greens are best eaten raw though they can be tossed into a cooked dish right before serving.
Radish sprouts list of nutrients reads like the info panel on a bottle of multivitamins. These are some seriously powerful little greens. Not only do they contain vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, they also deliver calcium iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. But that’s not all. Radish sprouts are rich in essential amino acids and chlorophyll which has all sorts of benefits from cancer-fighting properties to digestive aid. These babies also contain a whole lot of fiber and roughage which we all know is important to help keep things running smooth.
Not only are radish sprouts full of nutrition, they’re also quite beautiful. Often they are lined with pinkish streaks the color of their older selves. And boy do they grow fast. In a matter of days, radish sprouts are ready to be harvested.
3. Sunflower Shoots
Most of the time, microgreens carry a flavor reminiscent of the thing they would eventually grow up to be. Sunflower shoots are no exception. The flavor of sunflower shoots walks the line between nutty and lemony, but with a rather more green taste, if you will. Sunflower shoots, like radish shoots, are best eaten raw in salads, sandwiches, wraps, and the like.
Much like their other microgreen friends, sunflower shoots have an impressive nutrition profile. First of all, they are a complete plant protein. Sunflower shoots contain all of the essential amino acids as well as iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, copper, and phosphorous. They are particularly high in zinc which has all manner of benefits including a boost to the immune system and digestive regularity. As if all this weren’t enough to have you already soaking your seeds, sunflower shoots also deliver vitamins A, B complex, D, and E.
Sunflower shoots are ready for harvest in roughly 10-12 days. Once they are cut you can store them in the fridge for up to two weeks.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, as they say. This tried and true standard in the world of microgreens isn’t going away any time soon. Wheatgrass has been a staple in high impact health food diets for quite some time. It’s flavor profile is heavy on the green which can be a turn off to some, but not to worry. Wheatgrass is versatile and lends itself very well to being a team player in smoothies and juices where the taste can be masked by other fruits and veggies but none of the nutrition is lost.
There are reasons, very good reasons, that wheatgrass has been one of the reigning champs of microgreens for so long. Wheatgrass is rich in vitamins A, B complex, C, and E. This green machine also contains iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and selenium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and may have some cancer fighting abilities. It also aids in good thyroid function, improves blood flow, helps lower risk of heart disease, and it may even be linked to good respiratory function. Did I mention it’s also an immune-booster? What’s not to love?
Growing this detoxifying microgreen couldn’t be easier. Wheatgrass reaches harvest stage in around six to 10 days. Once it’s ready to go, you can clip it and use immediately in juices or smoothies, or if you have more than you can use in one sitting the juice can be stored in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for even longer. One trick I like to use is to make up a bunch and pour it into ice cube trays. Pop in the freezer until solid then store your juice cubes in an airtight container in the freezer so you have easy access to the power of wheatgrass whenever you want.
Incorporating microgreens into your daily diet isn’t just a smart idea, it’s also so easy that anyone can do it.
And get this–we have just launched seven new microgreen seed bundles including these fun varieties to grow right at home in your Water Garden. Check out our line of new organic microgreen seeds here!