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First, What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are nutritious edible plants (think broccoli, cilantro, radishes, peas, etc.) that are harvested at a very early stage in the growing process — usually within 8 to 10 days of planting. They’re packed with more nutrients and often have a different flavor profile than the full-grown plant.
You can add microgreens to salads, sandwiches, soups and smoothies to boost flavor and amp up the nutrients. There are lots of recipes online featuring microgreens — a few are linked below.
Are Microgreens the Same as Sprouts?
Nope, we’re not talking about sprouts here — which are germinated seeds grown in water and ready for eating in just a couple of days. In contrast, microgreens can be grown in soil or water and take just a little bit longer to reach the harvest stage. They typically have more fiber and nutrients than sprouts.
Advantages to Growing Microgreens from a Kit
At first, I thought I could truck down to my local grocery store and buy a bag of microgreens just like we buy lettuce. But it turns out they’re not that easy to find in my area. So I researched how to grow my own microgreens and found these great mini-kits to help me get started quickly and easily. [Be sure to scroll down for a short video on how the mini-kits work.]
Starting with a microgreens mini-kit might be right for you, too:
- They’re inexpensive — currently about $7 per kit. No need to load up on supplies from the Garden Center.
- They can be grown in a small space like on your kitchen counter or on a windowsill.
- Everything you need (except water + light) is in the kit.
- Starting small gives you a chance to taste-test microgreens to see if you like them.
- The mini-kit is an easy, almost fail-proof approach. If I can do this, you can do this!
Click Here for the Microgreen Kits I Recommend.
I had great success with the microgreen mini-kits from True Leaf Market and that’s why I’m excited to share this. The company has excellent information and instructional videos on its website.
True Leaf Market currently offers six different seed options, which produce one to two servings each — what a nice way to try this out without wasting. You can choose from arugula, mustard, pea shoots, radishes, sunflowers or a salad mix — or get them all in a variety six-pack. P.S. Sunflower microgreens are awesome! Scroll to the end for a quick summary of my growing and eating experience so far.
If you’re ready to start bigger, True Leaf Market has deluxe microgreen kits and supplies, too.
Here’s what you get in a mini-kit: seeds, a growing dish,
soil puck, mister and complete instructions.
Ways to Use Microgreens
Here’s a sampling of recipes featuring microgreens I found from a quick internet search. I haven’t tried any of these yet, but they look delicious. Going forward, I plan to share more recipes on the blog.
- Grilled Cheese with Ham, Brie, Microgreens and Apples
- Roasted Acorn Squash, Microgreens and Quinoa Salad
- Strawberry Chocolate Tart with Basil Microgreens
- Garlic and Lemon Pasta with Aurgula Microgreens
My Early Success with Microgreens
I thought it might be helpful to share my own experience growing microgreens from a mini-kit. First, True Leaf Market delivers as promised. Everything came nicely packaged with complete instructions. I started with Pea Shoots and Sunflowers — which I’ve already harvested; My radishes are still waiting to be planted.
I followed the enclosed directions exactly — hydrating the soil pucks, sowing the seeds and keeping them in a warm dark place for a couple of days. Once they were ready for light, I placed them on my kitchen island and kept the pendant lights on for about 12 hours per day.
The instructions say that overhead light is best. If you put them near a window, they will likely get side light, which can cause them to get leggy. I watered as directed — first misting the delicate seeds and then adding a few tablespoons of water each day.
The pea shoots were ready for harvesting on day seven. I’m not 100% sure how to tell when they should be harvested — but if you look at the picture above, that’s when I decided to cut them. I didn’t have a special recipe for pea shoots, but I added them to egg salad sandwiches — yum!
The sunflowers took a little bit longer for harvest; I think it was day nine before I cut them. They had a partial hard seed shell on the leaves, but this was gently and easily scraped off. [There must be a gardening term for this, but I don’t know it.]
I added some chopped sunflower microgreens to a bowl of Ramen noodles with a little low-sodium soy sauce and that made a nice little lunch. If I had to choose my favorite, I would say the sunflowers beat out the pea shoots in the taste test — but this is personal preference.
I’ve definitely been bitten by the microgreen growing bug and will be looking to expand to bigger kits or gather my own supplies. From all the videos I watched on True Leaf Market, I learned that growing them hydroponically (in water) is recommended over soil — although not all microgreen seeds can be grown this way. So that will take a little more research. Stay tuned!
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