Micro Greens Are In My Salad!

microgreensMicrogreens…what the heck is that?  Well…it is just basically sprouts grown in dirt.  Today for my lunch salad I used some baby kale and the first of my micro greens which I started a couple weeks ago.  As well as some burpless cucumber and cauliflower.  I poured some homemade olive oil vinaigrette over it.  It was awesome!

kale and micro greens 024

This post is a revised version of one I posted last May. Being as it is still too cold to even plant my peas I am very glad for my microgreen crop which is growing in a tin can that once held bamboo shoots! Just poke a few holes in the bottom and you have the perfect shallow container to grow them.

I got my seed mix from superseeds.com a/k/a Pinetree Seeds of Maine, a family business which has been around since 1979.  I have found it to be a great place for inexpensive, good quality seeds and plants.  I get most of my seeds there. They happen to have a book on sale there about microgreens; see picture in this post.

Anyhow, last winter I bought a packet of these microgreens from Pinetree. I chose the kitchen sink variety; a mixture of many greens and veggies.  I planted them 1/3-1/2 inch deep in seed starter medium.  Watered them well, and waited. In just 7-8 days the first shoots appeared.  I made one for my neighbor Grace who’s house is warmer than mine and hers sprouted in only 4-5 days! I was thrilled with the more than 95% germination rate.  That meant that my pot was packed solidly with tiny shoots.  Maybe a tad too tightly……. I put them in the kitchen window sill.  Watered them almost daily and turned them around every other day. Some grew extra fast; pea shoots that were nearly 2 inches taller than the rest of the plants.

Grace’s plants grow much faster in her warm kitchen and were soon ready to snip but I had a bit of a time getting her to see that they were for eating now! Grace, a retired florist is elderly and must not have heard my initial directions fully as she thought they were for planting out in the garden.  Eventually she took my advice and snipped off the pea shoots which were like 6 inches tall and enjoyed them in salads. micro greens, orchids, lemon coolers 009

In less than three weeks I was getting out my kitchen scissors and snipping off a section of my shoots to toss on a just made salad. This boosted the nutritional value of my salad considerably.  Not to mention the interesting flavor of all those tangy sprouts!

Sprinkled on my salad they added lots of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.  They are a great flavor booster for your side or main salad.

Phytonutrients are what you say?  Well, one definition, courtesy of Wiki links is this:

The term is generally used to refer to those chemicals that may have biological significance, for example antioxidants, but are not established as essential nutrients.[1] Scientists estimate[citation needed] that there may be as many as 10,000 different phytochemicals having the potential to affect diseases such as cancerstroke or metabolic syndrome.   From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytonutrients.  FYI: Wiki Links uses phytochemicals as a synonym of phytonutrients.

According to medterms.com:

Currently, the terms “phytonutrient” and “phytochemical” are being used interchangeably to describe those plant compounds which are thought to have health-protecting qualities.

Anyhow, definitions aside, microgreens are chock full of those healthy phytonutrients as well as crunch and flavor.  A small handful would be perfect in a spring salad or on top of a burger.

So, if you are not much of a gardener but want fresh salad stuff that is cheaper, fresher and healthier for your body than you can buy just about anywhere, get some packets of microgreens and start planting!

If you don’t have any pots lying around most any container with drainage will do.  I used a shallow empty tin can from oriental veggies. Last winter I used a half and half container scrubbed clean and laid on its side with the uppermost side cut off and a few holes punched in the bottom.  I filled it with potting soil.  Do avoid soil mixtures with Miracle Grow in them.  In a few short weeks you will be able to cut and enjoy your own super sprouted greens. Go forth and sprout!

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