Get to Know Micro-greens

Get to Know Micro-greens


What are micro-greens?  You aren’t alone if you are asking that question.  Micro-greens 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.

Micro greens are high in nutrient density.  Micro-greens can pack a lot of flavor in a small package.  They are versatile and can be added to lots of things.  They are beautiful!

red beet micros

They are quick and easy to grow if you want to grow your own.

Micro-greens are new (new enough that they aren’t in any 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.  There is a lot of misinformation and a bit of a grey area surrounding the topic of micro-greens and what to call them.  I’ve seen micro-greens also referred to as sprouts, shoots, and sprouted greens.  I’ve seen sprouts referred to as micro-greens or leafy sprouts.  Confusing, I know.

What ever you call them, I want you to know the difference between micro-greens and sprouts.  Micro-greens are not sprouts as I would define sprouts.  Sprouts are germinated seeds, usually grown without medium,  kept moist through the growing process.  Micro-greens differ from sprouts in a number of ways.  Micro-greens are grown in a medium (seed starting mix, soil, grow mat, etc). Micro-greens are usually grown a little longer than sprouts. Sprouts are usually not grown past the cotyledon (those first leaves that appear when a seed germinates) stage.  Micro-greens are often (but not always) grown to the first set of true leaves (the next set that follows the cotyledons).   Something grown even longer, I would call a shoot.

Pea shoots
Pea shoots

Unlike sprouts, the seed and root of micro-greens are not consumed.  Micro-greens are cut above the soil level to harvest and then washed or rinsed.

cutting micros

Some types of micro-greens may have a few seed hulls attached when ready to harvest.  Most of these will fall off during the rinsing.  With sprouts the entire product is kept constantly moist. With Micro-greens, the seeds are kept moist until they germinate and then only the medium is kept moist.

So now that you know what micro-greens are, you can watch for them to pop up in restaurants and farmers markets in your area.

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