The world's tiniest veggies with the biggest benefits
Understanding the underestimated value of microgreens
While microgreens may not be considered a mainstream super food, like kale or coconut oil, they have some serious health benefits. Most commonly desired by chefs for their colorful stems and sprouts, microgreens have been used for years as garnish to finish off a high-class dish. Don't get me wrong, microgreens are quite delicious but they have spent far too long as a duet when they should be starring solo.
Before we get too carried away with what these tiny greens have to offer, let's first learn a little more about what exactly microgreens are. Microgreens--to be put simply--are precisely what their name implies: seedlings. Typically under two weeks old when harvested, their young age allows for their leaves and stems to be packed with nutrients. Microgreens did not even come into the spotlight until the 1980's, becoming more popular throughout the 90s and finally earning their name in 1998. Having began in the Golden State of California, now mircrogreens are more widely spread throughout the states as well as international countries such as Canada, India, and Israel.
Microgreens contain a high amount of antioxidants which can help your body fight off diseases and stay healthy. They also provide an enormous amount of Vitamin K which promotes healthy bones. You can count on them for a good source of Vitamin C that helps your body produce skin tissue, healing wounds and scars. Microgreens also contain a fair amount of Vitamin E which can help your body produce red blood cells. Lastly, these tiny greens contain an abundance of carotenoids which give certain vegetables, like carrots and tomatoes, their intense color. These pigments found in microgreens help your body fight diseases related to the eyes.
In addition, since these young greens spend so little time in the ground, there is little-to-no risk of consuming chemicals like fertilizers or pesticides. Long term, eating plant-based foods in general can reduce your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. They can also promote a longer life expectancy, increased energy and a clearer complexion.
Some of the more commonly grown microgreens include: arugula, beets, broccoli, cilantro, kale, radish, and red cabbage but there are over 40 different kinds of commercial microgreen seeds out there available to grow. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) researched 25 types of microgreens to conclusively compare their health benefits. Of those 25 tested,
red cabbage seedlings contained the highest quantity of Vitamin C while microgreens in general contained up to five times more nutrients than their mature versions.
Red cabbage mircrogreens Mature red cabbage
By far microgreens are young to the world of produce but thanks to social media websites like Pinterest and Twitter, they are quickly becoming the main act. No longer are they solely used as a topper to an already amazing dish but are becoming a leading ingredient in unique salads, sandwiches and so many other recipes.
Stay up-to-date in the near future to read more articles on growing, sampling, and cooking with microgreens; as well as farms nearest to you in Southeast Iowa. In the mean time, check out our other posts and recipes for how you can eat local and live a healthy lifestyle.