I used to push the little green or purple “garnishes” off my meat whenever I get my meal at a restaurant and wondered why someone would want to waste food by using them in what I thought to be a purely ornamental capacity.
Well, not anymore!
These so-called garnishes happen to be known as microgreens and though they may be tiny, they pack a mean punch in terms vitamin and mineral goodness!
So, what exactly are microgreens?
Simply put, they are the seedlings of vegetables, herbs, and other plants. They are harvested when their first true leaves form – a short one to two weeks of germination. Some of the more common microgreens you may have seen on your dish are, radish, basil, broccoli, cilantro and amaranth.
Containing levels 40 times higher in vitamin and mineral concentrations and n a minimum of four to six times more nutrients than their adult counterparts, these microgreens do sound like they come with a hefty price tag at the supermarket. Fret not! For you can grow your own microgreens!
- Grab a container (do consider reusing old containers!) and fill it with an inch of nutrient-rich soil.
- Lightly wet the soil till it feels like a moist sponge.
- Spread the seeds and gently press them into the soil.
- Sprinkle a small amount of soil over the seeds.
- Mist the seeds with water twice daily till sprouts appear.
- Harvest when the first true set of leaves appear – cut the plants that are just above the soil.
The first true set of leaves should appear in about one to two weeks!
As your microgreens require about four hours of direct light a day, do keep them someplace with sufficient sunlight in the day. Once your seeds start to germinate, keep them in a humid environment to ensure optimal growth. One of the ways you can achieve that is to cover your container with a plastic bag. Poke a hole or two around the top to allow for airflow. Remove the cover once the seeds start to emerge.