For me, like many people, the idea of growing your own food and having home grown produce on your plate at the end of a day is a really appealing prospect. Living in an age where we have more awareness and access to the information of where our food comes from, knowing exactly what happens to that produce from seed to plate is comforting.
I was therefore very lucky when my husband and I were able to purchase our own piece of paradise in Mallorca with plenty of space to grow our own vegetables….turns out, I am not a natural gardener, but that’s ok – the motto we organically developed was “have a go day”. You can read up a mountain of information on growing your own food but until you actually get your hands dirty, you don´t know what will come of it, so simply put: “have a go!”
We had some amazing successes and some failures too, but I wouldn’t change a thing, most importantly, it started me off on the path to learning about microgreens, which I knew about but, like so many people during lockdown I had time to do some further research.
So, what exactly are microgreens?
They fall between sprouts and baby vegetables. Sprouts are harvested just as the seed begins to grow but before they develop leaves, microgreens are harvested once the cotyledon (embryonic) leaves have fully developed and the first true leaves appear.
From my research, the health benefits, (more on that later), flavour, texture and watching many videos on how to grow them, I liked what I was seeing. It seemed more my style, it appeared they were fairly easy to grow for this “have a go” farmer plus they looked super cute!
So, being another “have a go day”, I decided to do just that. The actual growing was fairly simple and it was incredible watching these tiny seeds germinate and get to harvesting point in the space of a couple of weeks – unlike my attempts on growing vegetables outside – this had slightly more instant gratification! I am not the most patient person so watching the seeds develop, change and grow each day was very rewarding.
Whilst waiting for the seeds to reach the eating stage, I began to research what was so great about these guys, in a nutshell, they are superheroes in a teeny tiny package.
Each variety of microgreen offers different nutrients but the list of goodies reads like the back of a multivitamin bottle and then some! Vitamins, A, B, C, D E, K, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, copper, folate, phosphorous, amino acids, chlorophyll, beta-carotene and many others that I feel you need to be either a medical professional, scientist, nutritionist or genius to even pronounce! (for the record, I am none of these!).
What you need to know is that they are an amazing healthy little nibble to add to your plate! More research needs to be done, but studies so far are suggesting that microgreens contain between 4 and 40 more times the nutritional value of their full grown counterparts. With all these vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, I was eager to get to the tasting! Could something so ridiculously healthy taste any good?
Harvesting time for the first batch arrived after about 10-15 days, they looked amazing and the aromas were intense – I can honestly say I was absolutely gobsmacked, the flavour of microgreens is insane! Peas, radish, broccoli, arugula – they all taste exactly as you expect them to, x100 in just the smallest bite.
I love a salad but mine can be on the dull side (I am a recipe following sort of cook and scared to stray!) and I have to add a number of other ingredients to make them remotely interesting/tasty – so being the lazy chef that I am, microgreens were a game changer. All I need is a plate of these little darlings and I’m done!! No need to add any cheese, seeds, fruits, other vegetables or salad items, the flavour is all there in these little stalks of loveliness.
Salads are not the only way to consume microgreens, although many people believe they are simply a stunning garnish (yes, I can confirm red amaranth even makes my attempts at cooking look stunning) they can be used in all meals, from breakfast; smoothies, omelettes, to lunch; soups, burgers, sandwiches, right through to dinner stir-fry, even pizza and most importantly, dessert – chocolate covered sunflowers anyone??!!!
Well, that’s my next “have a go day” sorted – kitchen, microgreens and dessert!
Written by Jacs @greenstalksbyjacs7