MIGHTY MUNCHYMUNCH MICROGREENS
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My brother has a funny story about flying home from America with his wife and their two toddlers. At the end of a very long day, following numerous delays, including sitting in a stationary plane on the runway for two hours, the exhausted family were finally de-planed and put up in a swanky hotel.
It should have gone well, but the frazzled parents, tied up at the reception desk, momentarily forgot their offspring. They turned around to find them pretending to be dinosaurs and munching happily on the house plants in the lobby.
Parents with ‘nibbly’ children might be pleased to know that growing microgreens is a quick, rewarding activity for kids and parents: all you need is seed, media, and recycled containers.
Microgreens are tiny vegetable or herb greens grown for their visual appearance and complex flavours and textures. They are larger than sprouts but smaller than baby salad greens, typically a central stem, cotyledon or seed leaves and the first young two true leaves.
Unlike sprouts, microgreens are grown in the light in a soil or soil substitute, and the root is not harvested. When they are ready, the stem is cut, leaving the root behind. Because they are grown in the light, both the flavour and the nutritional content is greater than sprouts.
Why grow microgreens?
When your salad greens are covered in winter frost (or worse), microgreens add home-grown colour, texture, flavour, crunch and class to salads, soups, sandwiches, stir-fries, pizzas, pies and dips. They are also very healthy, containing on average five times the level of vitamins and carotenoids than their mature plant counterparts.
The bonus: microgreens are cheap and easy to grow, take little space, and are usually ready in 1-2 weeks from sowing.
You might be wondering why not just buy them pre-packaged from the supermarket? The answer is you can’t: microgreens have a short shelf life - they wilt within minutes once cut - and their nutritional value starts to deteriorate from the moment they are picked. Homegrown microgreens can be harvested just before serving, so they keep their superior nutritional and medicinal value.
3Brassicas in particular (broccoli, cabbage, mustard, rocket and kale) were linked to cancer prevention. Highest ranking were radish, daikon (Japanese white radish) and broccoli.
4The more intensely-coloured the green, the more nutritious it is.