So, you heard about microgreens, and now you’re left wondering, what are they?
Or maybe you came across radish microgreens and you’re curious about growing your own microgreens.
But how do you go about growing microgreens? Can you do it without soil??
And how do you know which type of greens are best to eat?
Besides, how do you harvest them, how long do they keep, and how do you actually eat them?
No need to look any further.
This article will tell you all of that, so, keep reading to find out more!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What Are Microgreens?
Microgreens are the little seedlings that grow from seeds about 1-2 weeks after sprouting.
As plants grow, they move through a few stages before turning into adults:
|STAGES OF GREENS||AVERAGE TIME TO REACH STAGES|
|Seeds to Sprouts||3-5 Days|
|Sprouts to Microgreens||1-2 Weeks|
|Microgreens to Baby Greens||2 Weeks|
|Baby Greens to Adult Greens||Weeks to Months|
Coincidentally, you can buy radish sprouts, microgreens, shoots, baby greens, and of course adult radishes in the grocery store.
They’re the same plant at different stages with cute names for marketing purposes.
For instance, radish microgreens are the baby version of the full-grown radish bulb.
Also, pea shoots are just the stems growing upwards with or without the green leaves and flowers of adult peas.
In recent years, microgreen veggies have become quite popular because they’re beautiful, packed with nutrients, and have a unique taste.
They’re low in calories and rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
All and all, they have some pretty amazing health benefits, sometimes more so than adult plants.
You can even grow microgreens indoors!
How to Grow Microgreens Without Soil
To grow microgreens without soil, you need a nutritious solution and a growing medium or mat.
You can do this at home without any extravagant gardening skills.
Hydroponic microgreens are relatively easy to grow even in urban areas as they:
- Grow fast, require few resources.
- Can grow indoors in a small dark space as long as you use a growing light.
Radish microgreens How to Grow Them Hydroponically
To grow radish microgreens hydroponically, or without organic potting soil, you’ll need:
- Packets of radish seeds or other seeds from a reputable grower such as True Leaf Market
- Two trays, a microgreens growing tray (with holes in the bottom) and a watering tray
- A single-use mat such as Biostrate or coconut coir or a medium like vermiculite for the seeds to grow into
- Hydroponic nutrient solution
- Spray bottle with water
- Blackout dome and a growing light
- pH strips or test kit
Step-by-step tips for growing radish microgreens hydroponically:
- Start by pre-soaking the radish microgreen seeds if needed.
- Balance the water. Aim for pH around 6 (follow kit instructions).
- Clean the mat if needed, then soak it in water.
- Stack the trays (the one with holes on top), and place the mat on top.
- Spread the radish microgreens seeds evenly on the mat.
- Mist and cover with the dome for 3-5 days. This mimics covering the radish seed with soil and allows for sprouting.
- Continue to mist the radish microgreens seed every 12 hours.
- Uncover and set in direct sunlight or use a growing light for another week or two.
- Continue misting and soaking the growing pad twice daily. Once you have the roots in view, water the tray from below and add the hydroponic solution.
- Continue bottom-watering twice a day with the water/hydroponic nutrition solution.
Best Microgreens to Eat
Some of the most nutritious microgreens are outlined below.
However, the nutrient content can vary based on the different types of microgreens.
Furthermore, how they’re grown, stored, and handled, and when they’re harvested can also affect their nutritional value.
Thus, direct comparisons are a bit tricky.
However, microgreens with great nutrient values are described below.
Why Are They Superfoods?
Microgreens are sometimes called superfoods because of their low calorie and high nutrient content.
They contain vitamins C and E, carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols which are considered powerful antioxidants.
That is, they reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress in the body, and have both anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
Carotenoids in particular may protect against liver, colon, lung, pancreas, and prostate cancers and cardiovascular diseases.
They’re also high in a plant compound called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a green pigment needed for energy production.
Although more research is needed, it may prevent cancer.
Top 9 Healthiest Microgreens to Eat
Alfalfa Microgreens Nutrition
Alfalfa is in the legume family and its seeds are commonly used to grow microgreens.
While alfalfa is high in plant compounds such as flavonoids, it only has some vitamin K, copper, C, folate, and manganese.
Flavonoids are important for the immune system while vitamin K and copper play roles in blood clotting and bone.
Amaranth Microgreens Nutrition
Amaranth is an ancient grain with a slightly nutty flavor.
It’s especially rich in manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, selenium, copper, and vitamin K.
The former is important for brain function, the latter helps muscles, bone, and the immune system.
Furthermore, amaranth microgreens are high in vitamin C, beta-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin, polyphenols, and chlorophyll.
They all help to protect against cancer.
Basil Microgreens Nutrition
Basil is a fragrant green herb in the mint family whose micros have a fresh, zesty, and slightly sweet flavor.
It’s high in lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, which are powerful antioxidants.
But it also has vitamin K, manganese, and calcium, important for blood clotting and bone.
Fun fact, basil microgreens have as much beta-carotene as carrots and sweet potatoes!
Beet Microgreens Nutrition
Beets or beetroots are in the amaranth family of plants and are bright red.
They contain manganese, copper, potassium, magnesium, and a little vitamin C and iron, important for bone, brain, and energy production.
Its micros have an earthy flavor and aroma and are high in folate, chlorophylls, and carotenoids.
Folate is important for growth and DNA, while the latter are antioxidants that help fight cancer.
Cilantro Microgreens Nutrition
Cilantro is actually the leaves and stems of the coriander plant.
It looks like parsley and its micros have a crisp, citrusy flavor with peppery and grassy notes.
Although not quite as peppery as arugula microgreens.
Cilantro contains folate, vitamins A, C, K, potassium, and manganese, needed to make DNA, bone, and energy.
Its microgreens are exceptionally high in the antioxidants carotenoids, specifically lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene.
Together they help fight cancer.
Mustard Microgreens Nutrition
Mustard is part of the cabbage family together with broccoli microgreens.
Its micros have a mildly sweet yet spicy flavor.
Mustard greens are high in vitamin K, and C, and have some copper, vitamins A and E, and pyridoxine.
Thus, they’re important for blood clotting, the immune system, and red blood cells.
Pea Microgreens Nutrition
Peas are part of the legume family and its microgreens taste a bit like a sweet pea.
Adult peas are high in vitamin A, K, C, thiamine, folate, manganese, iron, phosphorus, and polyphenol antioxidants.
They protect against cancer and are important for eyesight, blood clotting, DNA, and red blood cells.
Pea micros, on the other hand, are high in vitamin C, beta-carotene, chlorophyll, and polyphenols.
Together they all protect against cancer.
Red Cabbage Microgreens Nutrition
Red cabbage belongs to the cabbage family and its microgreens are milder than mature cabbage, with an earthy, peppery flavor.
Adult red cabbage is high in C, K, A, and B vitamins, and has small amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc.
In addition, it’s high in antioxidants and plant compounds such as carotenoids, flavonoids (anthocyanins and kaempferol), and sulforaphane.
They help protect against cellular damage and have powerful cancer-fighting properties.
Red cabbage microgreens in particular are high in beta-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin, and are very high in vitamin C.
These are all different types of antioxidants and compounds that help fight cancer.
Radish Microgreens – Another Star!
Radish is an edible root in the cabbage family alongside broccoli.
The radish bulbs are usually round or oval and red, white, purple, or black. Lighter varieties are usually milder, while some are sweet and peppery.
Radish microgreens taste somewhat like a peppery radish bulb!
Purple radish microgreens, also called Rambo microgreens are particularly pretty as a garnish because of their purplish hue.
The many radish microgreens benefits are outlined below.
Radish Microgreens Nutrition
Radish bulbs have vitamin C, and some B vitamins, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, and manganese.
But micro radish greens on the other hand are high in vitamin C and E, chlorophyll, and carotenoids. And they all fight cancer.
Specifically, Green Daikon Radish Microgreens are very high in vitamin E, while China Rose Radish Microgreens are very high in vitamin C.
Although not a protein food, radish microgreens are also high in the amino acids asparagine and glycine.
The former is needed to make new proteins and the latter is important for the synthesis of antioxidants that help fight cancer.
So, radish microgreen nutrition benefits include protecting cells and fighting cancer.
How to Harvest Radish Microgreens
Harvesting microgreens is quite simple using a pair of scissors by cutting as close to the pad as possible.
You can harvest the whole thing at once or little by little for about a week.
When to Harvest Radish Microgreens
Once the greens are about a week or two old, or at the desired size, you can start to harvest them.
Check the instructions for your specific seeds to see how much time they need to grow before harvesting them.
To harvest radish microgreens, allow for 6-10 days of growing.
Microgreens can regrow after cutting, especially if you harvest bit by bit.
Just remember to keep the tray under the light, and continue watering twice daily.
How to Store Radish Microgreens
Microgreens are fragile and prone to mold and store longest unwashed. If you want to wash them, do it right before you are going to eat them.
They will keep in the fridge for about a week in a plastic bag or airtight microgreens container.
If you add a paper towel inside the bag or container it can help absorb moisture and prevent mold.
It’s also important to use clean materials when storing microgreens to prevent bacteria and mold from growing.
How to Eat Radish Microgreens
If you’re wondering how to eat microgreens or what to do with radish microgreens, keep reading.
The best way to eat microgreens may be to use them as garnishes if you need a splash of color on top of a dish.
Furthermore, they do very well in salads, omelets, soups, stews, sandwiches, tacos, and burgers.
The best microgreens for salad might be cilantro or radish for a bit of flavor and color.
You could also add mint, lemon balm, or beet greens to smoothies or drinks for a fresh note and a lovely color.
Can You Eat Radish Microgreens Raw?
Microgreens are best eaten raw. Most nutrients are preserved if they’re not heated or cut into smaller pieces.
However, if you are undergoing cancer treatment and it’s affecting your immune system, it’s best to be careful with raw microgreens.
How Much Microgreens to Eat per Day
It’s recommended that we eat at least 2.5 and maybe up to 5.5 cups of vegetables per day to lower the risk of cancer.
Thus, it may be smart to include microgreens daily and choose the most nutritious ones.
Microgreens are beautiful, packed with nutrients, have a unique taste, and are easy to grow yourself.
They’re low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
That is, they have both anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
Carotenoids in particular may protect against cardiovascular disease and liver, colon, lung, pancreas, and prostate cancer.
All and all, they have amazing health benefits, sometimes more so than their adult counterparts.
And they make tasty additions to salads, omelets, soups, stews, sandwiches, tacos, burgers, smoothies, and drinks.