We really enjoy our times at the farmers markets, meeting and getting to know people, fellowship with other producers, getting healthy products to you, and also educating about our foods. One of the most common questions I get from people is “what are the funny looking little green plants?” Well they are microgreens, and they may just be one of the best things you ever put in your mouth. To be clear, microgreens are different than sprouts, and here is how…
Whats the difference between Microgreens and sprouts?
Microgreens are basically the young seedlings of edible vegetables, harvested 10-14 days after germination (that’s the time after they emerge from the seed). Microgreens don’t come up through water or soil, sprouts do. Sprouts are also the very first growth of a plant (early growth), Microgreens are the second phase, (later growth, about two weeks old) this means they have a little more substance to them when you snack on them, or add them to a meal.
How Do We Grow And Harvest?
Here at The Farm On Fishmarket, we use a special medium of peat, vermiculite, and perlite, that is recommended for optimal microgreen growth and health. They set on top of this medium like a chia pet. They like moist environments, so the humid summers in Oklahoma are great for them, except they don’t really like the high temperatures. They need ample amounts of sunlight, and water, cause remember, they are the infantile plant, and they are doing a lot of growing at this stage in life. When the leaves just emerge, they are ready for use. Simply take some shears and cut the amount you need, and that’s it, begin to enjoy your microgreens.
What are the benefits of Microgreens?
According to a USDA study and some universities, such as the University of Maryland, microgreens can have up to 40% more phytonutrients than fully grown plants. Phytonutrients are simply plant based nutrients. There is a wide range of phytonutrients in microgreens and they vary in amounts depending on microgreen. A good rule of thumb is that if the grown plant is known for a specific vitamin, the micro version of it has way more! ” That’s right broteinshake, more”! Which means you don’t have to eat as much to get part of your daily input of vitamins.
Why do they have so much nutrients?
To put it simply, the little baby plant needs that nutrient to grow into a big plant, and since we harvest them at about two weeks they have all that nutrients stored in their cells, and we get to use them. “It’s the circle of life.” As a matter of fact if you are a vegetarian, or vegan, microgreens could be very important to replace levels of certain vitamins that are primarily obtained through meat such as the B-complexes.
What kind of nutrients do they have?
Microgreens are big on vitamin c, k, a, e, b, zinc, digestive enzymes, folate, and other antioxidants. Here are just a few nutrients and some of what they do.
- C – good for skin (collagen, helps with elasticity = decreased wrinkles), bones, vascular health, neurological health, and metabolizing proteins (cellular building blocks). Beta carotenes.
- K – regulation of blood calcium levels, clotting.
- A – good for eyes (carotene)
- E – antioxidant(s), vascular health, immune system
- B – bone health, immune system
- Zinc – reproductive health, viral/bacterial immunity, DNA & other cellular health, including cell growth, and body development in fetal growth. This is an extremely important vitamin for pregnant women! Also this is a good one for our senses of taste and smell.
- Folate – part of the b vitamin complex, is an extremely important vitamin for pregnant women as it is primary vitamin for fetal DNA, cell development and activation, and fetal nervous system development.
- Additional antioxidants, proteins, and digestive enzymes.
And, since they are vegetables, they are extremely low in calories, so they are not a meal replacement.
So, what do they taste like?
Don’t let the size fool you, these little guys are tiny, but they pack a big punch. I would describe it as a full, robust and clean flavor of the plant they are, anything from sweet to savory to spicy. What does that mean, broccoli tastes more like super fresh broccoli, and the funny thing is the kids absolutely love it! They ask for it every week, and their parents say they eat it all. Sunflower tastes like eating a hand full of fresh roasted sunflower seeds…you get the idea, the taste is amazing, and the consistency is full, and crisp, tender, delicate, and not overly bulky.
So, how do I use them?
Microgreens have a very vibrant color pallet in reds, blacks, purples, and greens, mostly greens, but much like their flavors the colors are bold and loud. Having such a brilliant array of colors the first way to use microgreens is the way they have been used for decades.
- as a garnish. Chefs have been using them on the sides of plates, in soups, and on top of meats for years in fancy restaurants, now you can too, so get some and take your favorite dish the next level.
- the best way to get the most nutritional value, is to eat these babies raw, but you can cook with them and they lend a great flavor to your foods(as well as some nutritional value)
- stir fry
- as a snack watching a ball game, reading a book, or just relaxing. I personally like the sweet pea and sunflower microgreens for this one.
- roasted as crisps. like kale crisps.
- in a smoothie
- in place of(or with) lettuce in a salad or on a sandwich/wrap/burger
- thrown in your juicer with other delicious produce
- in creamy salads(coleslaw, potato salads, ham salads, egg salads, guacamole)
- on top of deviled eggs
- in the cavity of that bird you are roasting
- homemade (baby) food. Article coming soon!
- eggs in any form, especially our creamy free range eggs <awink, wink>
- Table decoration
How do you use them? Leave us a comment and let us know how you use your fresh microgreens from The Farm On Fishmarket.
This all sounds awesome, how do I get some from The Farm On Fishmarket?
After reading this I know you are hungry for some of this goodness in your diet. We sell them in either growing flats you can cut when you need, or in pre-cut bags. Order on the Oklahoma Food Coop, see us at Moore or Norman Farmers market during market season, or if you’d like to, set up a time to come grab some micros at the farm, call us, email us, send a message! We might even be heading your way and can meet you somewhere!