Little Microgreens Offer Big Nutrition

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communication Intern

You’ve probably heard the phrase “The bigger, the better.” And while it may be true in many cases, it definitely isn’t’ when it comes to vegetables! Microgreens are the teeny tiny versions of many herbs and vegetables, and they actually contain more nutrients than their full-grown counterparts. Read on to learn a little more about these little plants and the “big” nutrition that they offer!

Micro-greens on flood and drain hydroponic tables in one of the UA/Campus Agriculture Center greenhouses. (Photo by Dr. Chieri Kubota)

So what exactly are microgreens? Microgreens are the seedlings of different herbs and vegetables that are harvested 1-3 weeks after planting. They are not to be confused with sprouts, however. Sprouts are newly grown seeds that are harvested before they develop the first true leaves of the plant. Microgreens on the other hand are picked later than sprouts so they have the first leaves of the plant.

According to registered dietician Kayla Kopp, microgreens offer lots of flavor and much more concentrated nutrients than full-grown plants. Depending on the variety of the plant, microgreens can have anywhere from 4-40 times more nutrients than that of mature leaves. This is because microgreens have just recently undergone photosynthesis, the process by which plants absorb nutrients from the sunlight. Combine this with the nutrients that it absorbed from the water and soil, and you have a small, but mighty little plant.

These nutritious little microgreens can be used in many ways. Depending on the variety you get, the flavor might be a little spicy, sweet, or earthy. You can toss them into a salad, blend them into juices or smoothies, add them to sandwiches, or use them as garnishes on pizza, pasta, soups, or bruschetta!

One of the best places to find locally grown microgreens is at a local farmer’s market! Check out the Fill Your Plate website for some helpful information on locating a farmer’s market near you!

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