An introduction to microgreens: characteristics and distinction 0
An introduction to microgreens: characteristics and distinction

An introduction to microgreens: characteristics and distinction

Microgreens are becoming increasingly popular in more and more countries for good reason. These nutritious and tasty greens are packed with flavor and nutrition and can be used in a variety of dishes. In this article, we will define microgreens and explore the types of microgreens, why they are becoming popular, and other frequently asked questions. We will also discuss the distinction between microgreens' taste, their different colors, and the levels of growers who can attempt to grow microgreens. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of microgreens and how to include them in your diet.


Outline of the article:

1. Characteristics of Microgreens 

A. Definition of microgreens

B. Structure of microgreens

C. Substrates used for microgreens

D. Nutritional properties and usage 

2. Types of Microgreens 

A. Distinction by colors

B. Distington by taste

C. Distinction level of advancement 

3. FAQ 

A. Who buys microgreens? 

B. Are microgreens the same as sprouts?

C. Who can grow microgreens?

D. Can I grow microgreens at home?

4. Conclusion


1. Characteristics of microgreens 

Characteristics of microgreens may consist of many things. We decided that the most important are their definition, structure, substrates used for growth, and nutritional properties. We will discuss each of these topics in greater or lesser detail.

A. Definition of Microgreens 

Microgreens called as well microleaves are young seedlings of popular vegetables harvested at the stage of leaf development, often before the formation of the first pair of leaves (after sprouting, before the baby leaves phase). Harvesting typically takes place up to 2-3 weeks after germination, above the ground level, so - unlike sprouts - the seed and root are not eaten, which reduces the potential transfer of pathogens. They are used as a food product with a high content of minerals and for decoration (so-called garnishing) of dishes.

B. Structure of microgreens

The microleaves are always sheared above the ground level and the seed and root are not delivered in the edible part. They are made up of:

  • root,
  • stem,
  • cotyledons
  • and true leaves.

C. Substrates used for microgreens

Microleaves can grow in organic substrates or hydroponically in sterile substrates on special trays with indoor natural light or with artificial light in vertical cultivation. The most popular substrates for microgreens are:

Red Cabbage microgreens photo ⬇️

D. Nutritional properties and usage

These greens, although small in size, provide an intense flavor and concentrated nutrition profile, adding a unique twist to:

  • salads,
  • sandwiches,
  • coctails,
  • pesto,
  • juices,
  • soups,
  • and other culinary creations.

Many scientific studies have found that micro greens can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Microleaves are rich in phytonutrients and have a health-promoting effect, making them a functional food to be used in daily diet or targeted food therapy. They are especially beneficial due to their high content of:

  • vitamins (like A, C, E, K),
  • minerals (like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium, or zinc)
  • ascorbic acid,
  • tocopherols,
  • polyphenols,
  • flavonoids,
  • and many more.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)** in 100 grams of mixed microleaves has arround 30 calories. Of course, amount of calories in each green depends of its variety, and as some tests shows from the cultivating temperature, light and time. For example:

  • 100 grams of broccoli microgreens = 35 calories,
  • 100 grams of sunflower microgreens = 20 calories.

For those looking to deliver more micronutrients to their body without adding too much calories or fat planning incorporating some fresh microgreen varieties into meals could be an effective way to do so!

E. History and market importance

Although the genesis of microgreens by themselves dates back to ancient times, the history of popularity of this super food is quite fresh.

Most sources say that microgreens first appeared in the late years of XX century as an additive used to garnish food and beverages in luxury restaurants on the US West Coast, and transferred slowly by slowly to the rest of the world later on.

The microleaf market is booming - worth over USD 1.2 billion in 2019, it's predicted to reach a massive USD 2 billion by 2028*! Research centers are seeing more and more interest in cultivating small veggies due to potential advantages like achieving independence from unpredictable weather patterns as well as faster responses during emergencies such as wars or natural disasters.


2. Types of Microgreens 

A. Distinction of microgreens by colors

We use various microgreens to add color and flavor to dishes. The colors of these microgreens vary depending on the type of cultivation, as well as the variety. For example, more light results in greener shades while cooler temperatures tend to produce red and yellow hues.

Different types of microgreens can be divided into three main color categories:

Red Pak Choi microgreens photo ⬇️

These distinct colors can create interesting contrasts and add texture for a truly unique culinary experience. Moreover, their delicate flavor adds an extra dimension to your dish that is sure to tantalize the taste buds!

B. Distington microgreens by taste

Microgreens offer an exciting range of flavors, allowing you to craft a perfectly balanced dish. Those looking for an extra kick can opt for the spicy varieties such as radishes, mustards and nasturtiums. For the milder palette, there is the option of peas, beets, carrots, cabbage and parsley. It is important to note that the temperature and length of time spent growing play a role in spiciness - as such it may be beneficial to adjust these variables to get your desired taste.

Pea microgreens photo ⬇️

C. Distinction of microgreens by the level of advancement

Gardening is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature, but it can be especially enjoyable if you put your skills to the test.

Microgreens for beginners

For novice gardeners looking for an easy start in microgreens:

  • mustard seeds,
  • radishes,
  • broccoli,
  • cress,
  • kohlrabi,
  • mizuna
  • and arugula are all delicious options that can be grown easily from home!

Microgreens for patient/advanced gardeners

On the other hand more advanced growers who have time on their hands may wish to try:

  • coriander,
  • parsley,
  • basil,
  • dill,
  • nasturtium,
  • or fennel.

Whatever microgreens you choose will bring flavor into any dish - just make sure you read product descriptions carefully before sowing those seeds!


3. FAQ 

Who buys microgreens? 

Microgreens are typically purchased by restaurants, grocery stores, health food stores, home-gardeners but also by subscription programs/home deliveries.


Are microgreens the same as sprouts?

Not exactly! Sprouts and microgreens might look similar, but they are two distinct forms of immature plants. Despite their differences - like harvesting time, shelf life, shape/form and mold susceptibility – they both provide essential minerals and vitamins that make them key components of a healthy diet!


Who can grow microgreens?

Anyone with a little patience and a lot of enthusiasm can grow their own microgreens! All you need is some soil, pots or trays, and the right seeds for your microgreen variety.


Can I grow microgreens at home?

Absolutely! Growing microgreens at home is a fun and rewarding experience. All you need is some soil, pots or trays, and the right seeds for the variety of microgreens you want to grow.



4. Conclusion

In conclusion, microgreens are small edible plants that have a delicate flavor and provide numerous nutritional benefits. They come in an array of colors and tastes and can be distinguished based on their growth level. Microgreens are increasingly popular amongst chefs, home cooks, and health-conscious eaters looking for fresh ways to enhance meals. Anyone with the right materials and a little patience can easily grow microgreens at home.


Keep growing,



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*Allied Market Research, Global Microgreens Market to Garner $2.04 Billion by 2028: Allied Market Research,



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