Microgreens vs Regular Greens: What to buy and when
Do you believe that life was simpler before we started digging deeper and gathering more information about nutrients and vitamins? If I think back and take a quick trip down memory lane, I don’t remember my mother being too concerned about the nutritional content of anything she ate. This made me think about how consumed our minds have become with everything that goes into our bodies.
To be honest, I think it’s great that we have come this far as a society and are trying to stay informed about what is good for our bodies and what is not. The truth is that there were much less processed foods back in the day and what people consumed were for the most part, natural ingredients. They did not have to give it much thought back then, but in our day and age, I believe it is important.
Something that caught my attention recently was microgreens. Yes, I am aware that eating your greens is good for your health, but microgreens were definitely an interesting find. This then led me to start my own research program, aka, a Google search. I found it rather fascinating and had to share my thoughts with you. I really wanted to find out if there is any difference between microgreens and fully-grown greens and the answer is an astounding, yes! Do you remember when baby spinach became a thing and we all just had to try it; only to find the taste to be amazing and the nutritional content to be mind-blowing.
One of my favorite ingredients in a salad is sprouts. Microgreens are the phase that happens after a sprout is formed, but before the leaves fully matures. Some wise forum commenter said “Microgreens are just spouts with a little attitude”. I thought it was cute and strangely accurate. Isn’t it fascinating that every phase in a plants life can hold different benefits for our bodies? A food study found that microgreens have 4-6 times the nutritional content than matured green
s. I am sure as time goes on, more studies will be done on microgreens, but for now it seems to be positive.
The quality of the soil combined with the climate can have an affect on how much vitamins and nutrients are left in the greens. As with most ingredients you consume, it is important to make sure you buy your microgreens and regular greens organic. This is just an easier way to avoid any pesticides and herbicides. If you would like to try out some microgreens and incorporate these into your next meals, here is a list of great ones to kick off this journey.
- Red Russian Kale
- Frisee lettuce
- Baby spinach
- Mustard greens
- Pea shoots
- Turnip greens
- Beet greens
There are many more microgreen varieties you can find and you may have to speak to your local suppliers to find out what is available. Different areas will focus on a variety of greens based on the environmental factors, so it is always a good idea to ask around. It might even be beneficial to find a farmer who specializes in these greens to help you get the best for your buck. There are also many online suppliers who will notify you seasonally when a microgreen is at its best.
You can kind of figure out when the best season is for certain microgreens by going to the farmer’s market. I have fond memories of the delicious smell of pizza on a cold and rainy day. This is how I associate winter with basil and cilantro. You can also easily recognize if produce has been grown in season by taking note of the color and taste. Once I figured out that basil and cilantro tastes the best in the colder months, I knew it was grown in season.
If I could make a suggestion, you might find the best quality microgreens if you plant it yourself. Make it a fun experiment and watch your greens grow. Once you see a few tiny leaves coming out from the sprouts, you basically have your own microgreens. This is very economical and anyone trying to stick to a budget can greatly benefit from it. Microgreens are not the cheapest produce, but the benefits far outweigh the price. Still, it is important to be money wise, so get out those gardening tools and let’s get working.
Even though it has been proven that microgreens are more nutritional than matured greens, we can still greatly benefit from consuming regular greens. Many restaurants use regular greens as a base for their salads and top it off with a handful of microgreens. This is a great way to stretch your goods and have it over a few meals. You will still experience the intense flavor, amazing texture and increased nutritional benefits.