Donât let anyone tell you that size doesnât matter, especially when it comes to eating your greens.
You're probably familiar with sprouts (like alfalfaÂ sprouts) as well asÂ baby greens (such as baby kale or baby spinach).Â In between thoseÂ are microgreens: itty-bitty edible flowers, herbs, lettuces, and other small greens that make aÂ beautiful garnish on salads, soups, pasta, or sandwiches.
True to their name, microgreens areÂ seriously tinyâthey're usually aboutÂ one to two weeks old when harvested and only a few inches tall. Some varietiesÂ mayÂ look a lot like sprouts, but they arenât quite the same. Unlike sprouts, which are grown in water, microgreens grow in soil or onÂ aÂ special growing mat. You can alsoÂ eat sprouts wholeâthe seed, root, and stemâwhereas microgreens are snipped above the root.
But theseÂ sweet little greens arenât just prettyâtheyâre also super-flavorful and loaded with nutrients. According to a 2012 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, microgreens can contain anywhere from fourÂ to six times more nutrients than mature greens (including vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene). TheÂ study mentions red cabbage, cilantro, garnet amaranth, and green daikon as particularly nutritious varieties, but other popular ones to look for areÂ basil microgreens, broccoli microgreens, kale microgreens, andÂ sunflower microgreens.
So, why not eat microgreens all the time? Unfortunately, they're not cheap. For example, arugula costs around $4 per pound, butÂ arugula microgreens can cost upwards of $32 per pound (yikes!). The good news is that you can skip the heftyÂ price tag by growingÂ your own at home (you can buy a starter pack of microgreen seeds on Amazon). It's a fun, healthy way to get your hands dirty!