Helery Harend is a senior botanist at Natufia Labs. She has accepted to share with you her precious knowledge in botanics, her practical experience of what can be done and what cannot be done in hydroponics, her many 'tips' to have plants growing better, healthier and tastier and the many properties and good use of those plants that grow in the Natufia Kitchen Garden. Swell gardening and Bon Appetit!
Microgreens are the tiny versions of mature edible plants and mostly used as a fascinating garnish or addition to salads or sandwiches. However, despite their small size and the fact that these little greens are used as garnish, they are packed with an intense flavour and impressive nutritional profile. A lot comes within their small size. Let me provide an overview of this explosively tasty miniature world.
Amaranth microgreens have an extraordinary colour – fuchsia stems and diamond-shaped burgundy leaves - and a nutty or earthy mild flavour. Amaranth microgreens are intended to be eaten raw, especially as a garnish, to add a punch of red colour. This brilliant eye-catching garnish is rich in vitamins A, B, C, and E, lysine, magnesium, calcium, iron, amino acids, potassium and phosphorus. Health benefits include a boost to the immune system, to the digestion and to the fatty acid metabolism.
Despite the size, rocket microgreens offer a substantial peppery bite with a slightly earthy and a nutty finish. Micro rocket has tender leaves and for that reason best for garnish without heavy dressing. Rocket microgreens are a great source of folic acid, magnesium, calcium, essential amino acids, and vitamins A, B, C, and K. Consuming rocket microgreens boosts bone and brain health, helps to improve eyesight, lowers blood pressure and aids in maintaining a healthy skin.
Beet microgreens are usually referred to as Bull’s Blood. Their upper surface is a dusty green tinged in red while the underside is a lightly burgundy with deep magenta veining. The taste of these microgreens is distinct beet-flavour, with an earthy taste and an aroma. Another colourful garnish, which is a pleasant complement to savoury and some sweet dishes as well. Also, a good addition to salad greens. However, as other delicate microgreens, Bull’s Blood leaves will wilt if exposed to prolonged heat or covered with heavy dressing. Bull’s Blood microgreens contain an abundance of antioxidants and have detox properties.
Broccoli microgreens – small light green leaves over a white stem – are a delicate addition to your food with a coarsely flavour. They contain a wide variety of minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium etc. and vitamins C and K, folate, and are easy to digest.
Basil’s distinct flavour is an important part of Italian cuisine. Micro basil has the same recognizable flavour, however, in more subtle form. It is used as a tender garnish on pizzas, pastas and salads. Micro basil has bright green leaves that sprout from pale lime green stem. It is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and amino acids.
Cress microgreens are very nutritious with a peppery taste like mustard. Cress microgreens are suggested to be eaten fresh or in juices to preserve their beneficial properties - an excellent source of vitamin B and E, manganese, copper, iron, and calcium. Cress Microgreens act as antioxidants, improve memory and mental health, contribute to blood pressure regulation, promote digestion, and are beneficial for maintaining healthy skin.
Red kale microgreens have small green leaves on a contrasting purple stem. Micro red kale has a mild and a bit sweet flavour like other members of the Brassica genus. Red kale microgreens contain vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, amino acids, also calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and phosphorus.
There are different types of radish microgreens, however the signature peppery taste goes hand in hand with all the varieties. Radish microgreens contain folate, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C and B6. They act as a natural diuretic and are known as a detoxifying food, which also contribute to purifying the blood and soothing the digestive system.
Red cabbage microgreens have a deep vibrant purple and dark green leaves on a pinkish stem. Red cabbage microgreens are an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C plays an important role in our immunity and helps the body to fight against different diseases. It is also important in collagen synthesis, which is an important protein needed for healthy tendons, ligaments and skin, also for strong teeth and bones. Red cabbage microgreens have a milder taste than mature cabbage and are best freshly harvested and used as a garnish, in salads or in sandwiches.
A study conducted in The University of Maryland demonstrated that certain microgreens possessed higher nutritional densities than the fully-grown vegetables. Another important aspect of growing microgreens is that the effect on environment is smaller. They grow faster, as they are harvested within the 14-28 days, the need for fertilizers is small or non-existent, also no pesticides are needed. Microgreens require less water than it does to grow nutritionally equivalent amount of mature vegetables. Adding microgreens to your diet is an environmentally friendly way of taking care of your health.
HELERY HAREND, MSc
Xiao Z, Lester GE, Luo Y and Wang Q (2012). Assessment of vitamin and carotenoid concentrations of emerging food products: edible microgreens. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 60:7644-7651.
Comments will be approved before showing up.