Microgreens are easy to cultivate for those who are new to indoor gardening and want to add vibrant green life to dishes during the dreary months of the calendar year.
Microgreens are the juvenile shoots of vegetables (think red cabbage, beet, radish and more) that are intensely flavorful. Not to be confused with sprouts, microgreens require soil and sunlight to grow. These immature plants are loaded with more health benefits than fully grown vegetables according to an article published in the 2012 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Microgreens are also rich in cancer-preventing phytonutrients (a.k.a. plant nutrients).
Grow Your Own
To grow microgreens, all that is needed is a shallow container, a seed starter potting mix, a spray bottle for watering, a sunny window or a grow light, and a couple packets of seeds of leafy vegetables, salad greens and herbs.
See alsoHerb Gardening 101
Some beginner-friendly seeds are arugula, radishes, beets and basil. Larger seeds--like radishes and beets--can be soaked in a jar of water overnight to aid in germination. In the morning, pat dry with a paper towel and they are ready to be planted.
To start, punch small holes in the bottom of the container for proper drainage. Then, add about two inches of the potting mix to the tray. A deep layer isn’t necessary since these plants won’t be developing large roots. Sprinkle a healthy layer of seeds on top and gently tamp down the soil.
Next, cover the seeds with a light layer of soil--if this layer is too thick the seeds won’t sprout through. Spritz the soil with water until damp, and continue to spray twice a day as the seeds sprout.
Harvest the microgreens about two weeks after planting or when the plants begin to resemble diminutive versions of the adult plant. Simply snip the microgreens above the soil with a pair of scissors. They won’t last long after harvesting--place in a plastic bag and refrigerate to store. Or serve immediately: sprinkle over soups, garnish tacos and toss in a salad to add intense flavor, a vibrant visual and a nutritional boost to a meal.
Roasted Root Vegetable Tacos
Total Time: 45 minutes
- 1 carrot
- 1 beet
- 1 potato
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup avocado, sliced
- 1 cup turnip microgreens
- 1/2 tsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- Corn tortillas
- Heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Peel and slice veggies into thin, one-inch strips. In a mixing bowl, combine veggies, oil, lime juice, garlic and spices and mix well.
- Spread the veggies evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, until lightly browned.
- Warm tortillas, add roasted veggies and top with microgreens, avocado and other desired toppings.
Nutrients per serving (28 g): Calories: 30, total fat: 1g, sat. fat: 0g, polyunsaturated fat: 0g, carbs: 4g, fiber: 1g, sugars: 0g, protein: 7g, sodium: 7mg, cholesterol: 0mg
Samara Napolitan works by day at an arts-nonprofit in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her writing has appeared in Making Music, Relix and The Post & Courier, among other places.
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