In recent years, the term “microgreens” has been making waves in the world of nutrition and health. These tiny, vibrant greens have gained popularity among food enthusiasts, chefs, and health-conscious individuals alike. Packed with a concentrated dose of nutrients, microgreens offer a variety of health benefits and are a fantastic addition to any diet. In this blog post, we will explore the many reasons why you should consider incorporating microgreens into your daily meals.
What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are young vegetable greens that are harvested just a few weeks after germination when the plant’s first leaves, called cotyledons, have fully developed. There are many different ways to grow microgreens, but at AeroFarms we use proprietary aeroponic technology in our indoor vertical farms that allows us to create the perfect conditions for microgreens to thrive. Each plant is given a special growing algorithm of lights, nutrients, temperature, and other unique stressors allowing us to grow for flavor first, so we can deliver the highest quality produce to our customers.
What is the Difference between Sprouts and Microgreens?
Sprouts and microgreens are both young and nutrient-dense plant forms, but there are distinct differences between them in terms of growth, cultivation, and food safety.
• Sprouts are germinated seeds that are typically grown in water or a moist environment.
• They are harvested just as the seed begins to develop shoots and roots, within 2-7 days.
• Sprouts are usually consumed whole, including the seed, root, and shoot.
• Microgreens are young vegetable or herb greens that are harvested after the first true leaves have developed.
• They are grown in soil or a growing medium, receiving natural or artificial light.
• Microgreens are harvested when they are about 1-3 inches tall, within 7-21 days.
• Usually only the stems and leaves of microgreens are consumed.
Generally speaking, microgreens are considered to be safer to eat compared to sprouts due to the differences in their growing methods. Sprouts have been associated with a higher risk of foodborne illnesses, such as salmonella and E. coli, because they are typically grown in a warm and humid environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. Sprouts are usually consumed raw, including the seed, which can carry potential contaminants. If proper hygiene and sanitation practices are not followed during sprout cultivation, there is an increased risk of bacterial contamination.
Why Should You Eat Microgreens?
1. Bursting With Flavor: Microgreens are bursting with flavor, making them a delightful addition to any dish. Despite their small size, these young greens pack a punch when it comes to taste. Each variety of microgreen offers its distinct flavor profile, ranging from mild and sweet to bold and spicy. For example, our Micro Arugula bring a peppery and bright taste, while our Micro Broccoli offer a balanced earthy flavor. The concentrated essence of the mature plant is encapsulated in these tiny greens, resulting in an explosion of flavors that can elevate the simplest of dishes. Their intense flavor not only enhances the overall taste of a dish but also adds a unique and gourmet touch that elevates the culinary experience. At AeroFarms, our FlavorSpectrum™ was designed to represent the breadth of flavors and varieties grown inside our indoor vertical farms. We paired each color with a specific tasting note to bring our FlavorSpectrum™ philosophy to life. Across our leafy greens packaging line, you’ll find that the cool blue colors represent the sweet and mellow notes, while the intense reds represent bold and zesty flavors.
2. Nutrient-Rich Powerhouses1: Despite their small size, microgreens are densely packed with essential nutrients. In fact, studies2 have shown that microgreens can contain up to 40 times more vital nutrients than their fully mature counterparts. These nutrient powerhouses are abundant in vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and beta-carotene, as well as minerals like iron, potassium, and zinc. Including microgreens, especially broccoli microgreens3, in your diet can help boost your overall nutrient intake and support your body’s optimal functioning.
3. Antioxidant Abundance4: Microgreens are abundant in antioxidants, which are compounds that help protect the body from harmful free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage and contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants neutralize these free radicals, reducing the risk of oxidative stress. Microgreens such as broccoli, red cabbage, and radish have been found to have high levels of antioxidants, making them an excellent choice for promoting a healthy immune system and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
4. Versatility in Culinary Delights: Microgreens are not only healthy but also add a burst of flavor, texture, and vibrancy to any dish. From salads and sandwiches to smoothies and soups, microgreens can elevate the visual appeal and taste of your meals. They provide a fresh and crisp element that complements a wide range of cuisines. Experimenting with different microgreen varieties can open a world of culinary possibilities and make healthy eating an enjoyable experience. Microgreens are incredibly versatile, so here are some ideas on how you can incorporate microgreens into your daily diet:
• Salads: Add a handful of microgreens to any salad or use our microgreens as a salad base. AeroFarms Micro Super Mix is a classic yet balanced blend that is perfect for salads. They will provide a fresh and vibrant touch while adding a delightful crunch.
• Sandwiches and Wraps: Upgrade your sandwiches and wraps by adding a layer of microgreens. They can replace traditional lettuce, bringing a more intense flavor to your favorite combinations.’
• Smoothies: Blend a small handful of mild-flavored microgreens, such as AeroFarms Micro Kale or Micro Broccoli, into your smoothies. They will enrich the nutritional value without overpowering the taste.
• Soups: Just before serving your favorite soup, garnish it with a handful of microgreens. This will not only add a pop of color but also provide an extra layer of freshness.
• Stir-Fries and Sauteed Dishes: Toss some microgreens, like AeroFarms Micro Rainbow Mix or Micro Spicy Mix, into your stir-fries or sautéed vegetables towards the end of cooking. They will add a burst of flavor and a delicate crunch.
• Pizza or Taco Toppings: After cooking your pizza or tacos, sprinkle some microgreens, such as our Micro Arugula, on top. They will bring a unique twist and a fresh element to every bite.
• Omelets and Scrambled Eggs: Just before serving, sprinkle a handful of microgreens over your omelets or scrambled eggs. They will provide a pleasant visual appeal and a burst of freshness.
• Garnish for Meat, Fish, and Vegetarian Dishes: Use microgreens as a beautiful garnish for various dishes, such as grilled meats, roasted fish, or vegetarian dishes. They will add a touch of elegance and a subtle taste enhancement.
• Homemade Sushi Rolls or Poke Bowls: Include microgreens, such as our Micro Wasabi Mustard, in your sushi rolls or poke bowls to add a unique flavor and a vibrant visual element.
• Top your Takeout: Add a burst of freshness and health to any type of takeout from Chinese to Mexican to Italian by topping your meals with microgreens.
Additionally, consider experimenting with different microgreen varieties to explore their unique flavors and textures. AeroFarms offers 7 different varieties of microgreens including Micro Arugula, Micro Broccoli, Micro Kale, Micro Wasabi Mustard, Micro Spicy Mix, Micro Super Mix, and Micro Rainbow Mix. The possibilities are endless when it comes to using microgreens in your culinary creations, so let your imagination run wild! Microgreens are undoubtedly a nutrient powerhouse that deserves a place in your daily diet. With their exceptional nutritional profile, high antioxidant content, and potential health benefits, they offer a simple and effective way to enhance your overall well-being. Embrace the mighty microgreens and give your body the nourishment it deserves. Your taste buds and health will thank you for it!