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Tuesday, Jan. 8th 2013

Lets try growing some Microgreens

This time if the year most of us gardeners are missing produce from our own gardens.  To fill this gap a little I am going to plant some microgreens in a sunny windowsill today.  Here is an article from the Missouri extension that will help you decide if you want to try it out too.

Microgreens pack big nutritional punch

Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2012

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. –Tiny versions of edible greens are four to six times higher in nutrient value than their mature counterparts, according to new research presented at the recent Missouri Livestock Symposium in Kirksville.

Microgreens are becoming popular at upscale restaurants because of their texture, colors and intense flavors, but it turns out they add more to meals than just visual appeal and palate-pleasing taste.

“Microgreens are super-nutritious,” said Zhenlei Xiao, a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland.

Xiao is part of a team of University of Maryland and USDA researchers who looked at levels of vitamins and carotenoid phytochemicals such as beta-carotene and lutein in 25 varieties of microgreens. They found that leaves from almost all of the microgreens had more nutrients than the mature leaves of the same plant.

There was variation among them – red cabbage was highest in vitamin C, for instance, while the green daikon radish microgreens had the most vitamin E.

The findings were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. “Some of the numbers were really, really high,” said Xiao. “It’s very impressive.”

Microgreens are not the same as sprouts, she noted. Sprouts are germinated seeds and are soaked in water. With microgreens, seeds are planted and grown in soil or a soil substitute and generally are ready to harvest in 7-14 days.

Among the most commonly grown microgreens are arugula, beets, radish, cilantro, golden pea shoots, fennel, parsley, celery, chard, kale, cress, mustard, basil, spinach and broccoli.

While nutritious microgreens may find their way to more American dinner tables, they won’t replace their fibrous mature versions. They have a short shelf life and are better eaten raw.


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University of Missouri Extension Master Gardener Program