Lettuce Chat 4/13/2020. Microgreens
Updated: May 13
Hi there Friends and Fans of ESH! Lettuce chat today about microgreens. Have you had them? Do you know what they are? For those unfamiliar with "micros", they are itty-bitty, super tasty, oft overlooked greens. Uses include both garnishes and main ingredients of dishes, but most likely you've only seen them in the role of garnish. Microgreens are power packed little nutrition bombs.
Microgreens are technically little seedlings—starter plants. They are harvested between seven and 14 days after germination, depending on variety. Micros are packed with flavor and concentrated nutrition. For instance, an ounce of our microgreens kale is equivalent to six cups of raw mature kale. This means that you can very quickly boost your mineral and nutrient intake by adding small amounts of microgreens to your balanced diet. Microgreens are a great addition to all regional cuisines. (They are also fantastic, right out of the bag. Several friends report that their kids will eat them like they would eat chips as a snack. How's that for healthy!!)
Lettuce give you the short version of nutrition available in microgreens. Vitamins E, K, and C, plus Beta-Carotene, and antioxidants are aplenty in micros. Each variety carries a different amount or ratio of nutrients and minerals, but what is clear is that these tiny powerhouses carry more nutrition in each tiny plant than their mature counterparts. It is no wonder they have become one of our most popular items.
*Micro-sized disclaimer: Don't confuse microgreenss with sprouts, though. They are two very different things. Sprouts are also newly germinated plants. But because of the way they are grown (which we won't get into here), sprouts have the possibility to be laden with pathogens- bacteria. The methods of growing sprouts contribute to the danger of these pathogens, and you should take caution with them, as you wouldn't want to be made ill by a food-born bacteria.*
Microgreens have true leaves (a growing step past sprouts). Microgreens are suitable to eat raw. And because they are not cooked, they retain their nutritional content. Our microgreens are grown hydroponically, as all of our offerings are. They are not subjected to any chemical treatments, and are cut fresh each week. Also, our microgreens growing environment does not lend to pathogens or anything that might make you think twice about eating them.
Like their mature counterparts, microgreens have a true-to-variety taste. Do you remember the scene from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", where they are licking the wall paper, amazed and tasting the true flavors of fruits? "...The blueberries taste like blueberries! The snozberries taste like snozberries!" In the same way, micros taste just like their variety! Ask yourself, "what vegetables do I like?", and try those microgreens. We will profile several of our microgreens in this post, but there are so many more varieties out there in the world.
Celery might just be mom's favorite (don't tell carrot!). Celery microgreens have a delicate, lovely profile. Celery lovers will find this dainty micro quite delightful and light, as it tastes exactly like a stalk of celery, minus only the crunch. It's the perfect companion to any salad.
Carrot is a happy flavor. Freshly pulled carrots are really just so happy, as is this microgreen. Carrots are true to veg flavor, and also the perfect salad ingredient. Carrot microgreens are also delicate and quite flavorful.
Cucumber Hark cuke lovers! Cucumber micros are juicy, crunchy bites, a lot like their grown-up fruit. Not for pickling, oh no. The cucumber micro is also in the salad line-up of top salad ingredients. Imagine cucumber microgreen bites in your Mediterranean pasta salad...yes...just yes.
Kale is well, kale. Taste like kale, just teeny tiny. It has a dark bite, perfect for adding savory substance to any dish, even for ones you wouldn't use large kale. Maybe sneak a little nutrition nugget into a dish?
Cabbage is quite content. It boasts a mellow, subtle flavor, but slightly stronger than its namesake. Add this microgreen to your favorite dish for a nutrition punch.
Broccoli is very presidential in nature. Bold, with a bite, minus the tie. It's quite flavorful, and if you close your eyes and savor this micro, you can picture that floret, in raw form, in all its glory. No need to smother this micro with cheese to love it.
Asian is a mix of radish, mustard, and brassicas, creating the perfect spicy, earthy blend of potent green flavors. And so nutritionally dense, it makes mommas smile!
Wasabi micros are akin to a slightly hot mustard, however not too spicy. It's a pleasant heat with a large mustard-ish flavor, and maybe a dark tone. Don't relegate wasabi microgreens to sushi only. It deserves a shot in all your go-to's.
Pea shoots are complicated. Not like your last 'ship complicated... Better. They are tall and lanky, somewhat confusing. They are called micro, but are anything but. Cut them smaller, into your dish, or leave them long and stately. (My personal favorite use for pea shoots is on a baked potato with all the fixings. You'd never think a pea would belong on a baked potato, but you must try it!)
Scallion. Onion. Straight up onion. We may or may not get tears in our eyes on scallion cutting days. It is very giving in the flavor department. A little scallion goes a looooong way for these potent little whisps. Favorite uses are topping your tuna fish salad, on baked potatoes, with cream cheese on a bagel, and in any dish you would include the oniony flavor. (Maybe not on the first date, though.)
"Radish is randy", says the Lettuce Lady! Our crisp, colorful radish microgreens are bright and have that not-too-hot radish flavor. The texture addition is a wonderful compliment to many dishes. Very vibrant and ready to please, our radish will be that pop of flavor that you have been missing.
Cilantro is our "Little Latin Lady". Not quite as polarizing as grown-up cilantro. No, the micro version is a bit more mild in flavor, but just as tasty. The perfect addition to any of your usual cilantro-using dishes.
Fennel has a winning personality. Just a tad on the licorice side, but not too much! Those who are not really a fan of a bulb of fennel will be pleasantly surprised in this mild flavor. Those who love fennel in their dishes will also be pleasantly surprised in the flavor of fennel microgreens.
Sunflower. Do you like sunflower seeds? You will love our playful sunflower microgreens. Even the pickiest eater who loves the seeds will love the micro. I have two at home who willingly eat our sunflower micros. A bag at a time, sometimes. Don't tell them I told you (wink wink). These are also tall and lanky, with a dense, crunchy bite.
Friends and Fans, that's microgreens in a cracked-open nutshell. Microgreens not-so-micro flavor is something you simply must try. Ounce for ounce, our micros are the most nutritious items we grow. Lettuce comment below with your favorite uses for microgreens. We'd love to see how you micro! Lettuce Chat again soon!