QUESTION: What exactly are microgreens? I keep reading about them, but they look like sprouts to me. Are they a certain plant or what’s the deal? – Jeffrey F
ANSWER: Microgreens are NOT the same as sprouts, but they’re a little bit similar. Both are immature versions of a full grown plant that are grown from seed. What’s the difference between microgreens and sprouts? Microgreens are harvested and eaten after the first set of true leaves appears, while sprouts are harvested and eaten before the first set of true leaves appears.
With sprouts, it is the very beginning stages of when the seeds sprout and you don’t require any significantly sunlight. But microgreens are what happens when the plant keeps growing. At this point, you need to carefully keep them moist without overwatering and you need to give them significant amounts of sunlight — either by growing them in a bright window, or by growing them under grow lights.
Some people eat them plain, and others use them as a garnish on a salad. They have more flavor than sprouts, and also a wide variety of tastes and flavors depending on which green you choose to grow. As you can see from the photo above, they even look very different from each other.
But taste isn’t the only reason to eat microgreens. It turns out that the young version of these plants contains much higher levels of phytonutrients than the full grown vegetable itself — up to 40 times higher.
If you’re buying microgreens at the store, they can be quite expensive. But growing them yourself brings the price down significantly, and it’s very satisfying to see how quickly they grow. You can harvest microgreens a couple of weeks after starting them in most cases.