Microgreens- benefits, nutrition and how to grow them

Updated: Apr 2

I have been sprouting seeds for a while now, especially during spring, where our bodies need more boost of that new energy. But 10 days ago I took on a challenge, where I wasn't sure I would succeed. It did look too simple by the guidelines. I had failed sprouting certain seeds in the past when I tried- specifically watercress. Little did I know or thought of actually doing my research, that you can't sprout certain seeds like watercress, linseeds and chia seeds the same way as you would sprout broccoli, alfalfa, radish, fenugreek etc. You shouldn't soak watercress, linseeds and chia seeds, when you want to sprout them or turn them into microgreens as they simply turn into jelly-like mixture and you can't rinse them 'dry' after that. Feel now, I had a blond moment, when I thought I could rinse the slime out of watercress when I first tried sprouting the seeds.


For my challenge, I took the watercress, chia seeds and linseeds. I took a big plate, two pieces of kitchen paper and a water spray bottle. I put the two pieces of paper on the plate, sprinkled seeds on the paper, so that they were not laying on top of each other and then started just spraying the seeds three times a day for 10 days. Watercress showed the sprouts after just 2 days, which was exciting. But it took linseeds 4 days to show first signs of sprouts and chia seeds 5 days. I did have feelings of failure during the beginning days of this challenge, but all what was needed was patience. One of my virtuous that I clearly tried to cultivate with this experiment. But after 10 days I can say my efforts have bared fruit- I have a plate full of beautiful microgreens from watercress, linseeds and chia seeds that I am going to enjoy now in next coming days. I should have maybe timed it better to have this beautiful green plate to enjoy for Easter.




What are microgreens?

Microgreens are made from seeds that are harvested before maturation, 7 to 14 days after germination. They have intense flavour and high concentration of nutrients which easily help to boost the nutritional value of your meal. They can be grown anywhere a sunny windowsill is found. They can be added as a garnish on top of the food or form as a base ingredient in a salad. Microgreens can come from just about any herb, vegetable, making them great and versatile addition to your diet.


There are many different microgreens available that you can grow year-around, below are just a few:


  • Chia

  • Linseed

  • Watercress

  • Sunflower

  • Fennel

  • Parsley

  • Radish

  • Mint

  • Cilantro

  • Basil

  • Arugula (ruccola)

  • Cabbage

  • Carrots

  • Mustard greens

  • Beets

  • Broccoli

  • Chives


What are the health benefits of microgreens?


Microgreens are much more nutrient-dense than their fully grown counterparts. It's because they are able to have all the nutrients a fully grown plant has, but in a much smaller package. They provide a vast list of nutrients, vitamins and minerals and anything to 4 to 40 times more nutrients by weight than their fully crown counterparts.


Microgreens:

  • contain polyphenols (powerful antioxidants to reduce free radicals in the body)

  • reduce chronic illness risk as they reduce inflammation in the body

  • improve heart health, as they help to control your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides


You can sprinkle microgreens on salad, soups, on sandwiches, wraps- they truly have a versatile use.


How to grow microgreens?


For my own experiment, to get microgreens from linseeds, chia seeds, watercress- all you need is a plate, kitchen paper and water spray bottle. See my guidelines above.


Below are guidelines how to grow microgreens indoors.


1. Spread about 2.5cm of potting soil in a shallow tray

2. Sprinkle seeds evenly over the soil. You can sprinkle more of the seeds than you would when you grow full plants as you will harvest them when they are small.

3. Sprinkle a little bit of soil on top of the seeds.

4. Use a water spray bottle to mist the top soil with water.

5. Put the tray close to the window with a natural light.

6. Mist the soil with clean water couple of times per day.

7. Once microgreens reach around 7cm, you can start harvesting them. The process takes anything from 7-14 days.


I hope you are taking on a challenge for yourself to add more green to your life and start your mini microgreens growing and harvesting project at home.

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