You aren’t alone if you are asking that question. Microgreens are really small versions of plants you already know and love (well even if you don’t love some of their grown up counterparts, you may still love micros). They are somewhere between a sprout and a “baby” green. Microgreens are high in nutrient density. Microgreens are new (new enough that they aren’t in most local grocery stores), growing in popularity and some would call them a super food because they contain higher nutrient levels than their grown up counterparts.
Microgreens can pack a lot of flavor in a small package. Most varieties are just a milder version of the mature vegetable or herb. Some microgreens, like radish, cilantro and basil can have as much or more flavor as the mature plant.
They are versatile and can be added to lots of things. Cooking with microgreens is more about ideas than exact recipes. They can be added to just about any dish. They are beautiful! Find more ideas about how to use them here.
There is a lot of misinformation and a bit of a grey area surrounding the topic of microgreens and what to call them. I’ve seen sprouts referred to as microgreens or leafy sprouts and vice versa. Confusing, I know. Whatever you call them, I want you to know the difference between microgreens and sprouts. Microgreens differ from sprouts in a number of ways. Sprouts are germinated seeds, usually grown without medium, kept moist through the growing process. Microgreens are grown in a medium (seed starting mix, soil, grow mat, etc). Microgreens are usually grown a little longer than sprouts. Sprouts are usually harvested in 3-5 days. Microgreens are usually harvested in 7-14 days and grown to the cotyledon (that first tiny leaf) stage or to the first set of true leaves (the next set that follows the cotyledons). . With sprouts the entire product is kept constantly moist. With Microgreens, the seeds are kept moist until they germinate and then only the medium is kept moist. Unlike sprouts, the seed and root of microgreens are not consumed. Microgreens are cut above the soil level to harvest and then washed or rinsed. Some types of microgreens may have a few seed hulls attached Most of these will fall off during the rinsing. So now that you know what microgreens are, you can watch for them to pop up in restaurants and farmers markets in your area.
Some popular microgreens are brassicas (broccoli, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, arugula) and mixes that might also have chard and mustards. Herbs like cilantro, basil, dill make great microgreens. Pea shoots and radishes are also popular.