By Terri Paajanen
Sprouting has been around for a long time in the health food world, but there is a new version of it that is getting popular for home-growth natural food enthusiasts. These are now known as microgreens, and we’re getting into them here at home so I thought I’d share a little.
The idea is that you let your seeds sprout (like the old way) but let them grown a little longer than just a basic sprout. At a size of 2 to 3 inches, these little plants are packed with nutrients as well as leafy green taste. You can harvest them with scissors and add fresh greens to salads, sandwiches or any other place you want a tasty garnish.
Unlike traditional sprouting, you need to let your little greens grow longer and that requires some soil. A shallow seedling tray should be just fine. Good light is nice but since they will only be growing for a few days, you don’t need to worry too much about ideal light. A good sunny room should work OK, but a fluorescent bulb right above the trays would be even better. That also means you can grow your microgreens year-round. That’s our plan, which is a great option for doing some gardening in the middle of a Canadian winter.
Just plant your seeds and keep them damp until they sprout. Water like any other plant and they should be ready to harvest after they’ve put out 1 to 3 sets of leaves. You can either trim all the above-ground parts off with scissors, or actually uproot the seedlings to eat the roots too. That second choice will take more effort to clean everything off before eating.
Not all plants can be eaten this way though. Some of the best seeds for getting microgreens are:
- Red cabbage
- Swiss chard
- Dill (harder to germinate)
So next time you want some fresh and handy greens for the table, why not give microgreens a try. It will likely be shorter than 2 weeks from seed to harvest and they are filled with flavor.