Frequently Asked Questions
What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are tiny, nutritious, and delicious vegetables that add beauty and flavorful to just about any meal. They are harvested just before or as the first true leaves emerge, so they pack all that color, taste, and nutrition into their miniature version. They are extremely versatile. Home cooks, smoothie-lovers, and Michelin star chefs all use microgreens for their gorgeous colors, delicate textures, distinctive flavors, and power-packed nutrition.
Sprouts vs Microgreens
Although you use the same seeds for both sprouts and microgreens, the germination and growing methods are different. However, not all varieties of vegetables and herbs are grown as sprouts or microgreens. Sprouts are not planted in soil or water but instead can easily be grown using jars or similar containers. The sprouts are ready for consumption in 3-5 days. Microgreens are grown in soil or hydroponically and require a light source to supplement their growth.
When you harvest sprouts and microgreens, different parts of the plant are harvested and eaten. Sprouts generally include the entire body of the plant - that is, the baby root along with the stem and first seed leaves (codyltons). Microgreens by contrast are harvested at the stem. The roots are left in the growing medium and are discarded. You eat only the stem, the seed leaves, and sometimes, the first true leaves. Microgreens require more time before they're ready to harvest, between 7 to 30 days depending on the variety. As a side note, baby greens are eaten as young to maturing true leaves (leaves that emerge after the codyltons).
To sum it up, sprouts and microgreens are the same seed at different stages of development. They look different, taste different, and are grown differently. Both are super nutritious but microgreens hold the edge.
Are microgreens good for you?
Microgreens, especially, have been shown to offer health benefits. Gene Lester, a plant physiologist for the Agricultural Research Service, recently led a study analyzing the key nutrients in 25 varieties of vegetable microgreens. It found that “Specialty Greens Pack a Nutritional Punch.”(1)
WebMD highlighted a study that found that some microgreens contain up to 40 times higher levels of vital nutrients than their mature counterparts. The findings were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2). One of the study’s researchers was Qin Wang, a PhD and assistant professor at the University of Maryland at the time. “We were really surprised,” Wang said of the findings. “Some of the numbers were really, really high. We thought it might have been a mistake, but we double-checked so many times and there we no mistakes.”(3) Some studies have also suggested that eating microgreens can lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and reduce your risk of heart disease. They may also lower the risk of cancer due to their high content of antioxidants. Also, they may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
How do store bought vegetables and fruits compare?
Soil is vital for human survival, yet modern farming and agricultural practices are quickly destroying it. Worldwide, one-third of the Earth’s soil is at least moderately degraded, and over half of the land used for agriculture has some level of degradation.(4) As a result of declining soil fertility and selective breeding, the nutritional contents of some fruits, vegetables, and grains have also been compromised. The protein content in corn declined 30 percent to 50 percent from 1920 to 2001, while the starch content increased.(5) The magnesium content of vegetables and wheat has declined by up to 25 percent.(6) Trace minerals in vegetable crops, including manganese, zinc, copper, and nickel, have decreased over the last several decades, while toxic minerals like aluminum, lead, and cadmium have increased.(7) Not to mention that the use of herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides has profound negative effects on our health and our environement.
In short, you are paying more money every year at the grocery store for a product that has decreasing nutrition and increasing toxic elements.
What do you use to grow your microgreens?
We produce our microgreens in the most sustainable manner possible. They grow in a dedicated growroom where temperature, lightning, humidity and airflow are controlled. We use the best 100% coconut or hemp fibre, premium and non-GMO seeds from the most reputable providers, low energy LED lighting, and just the amount of fresh water that our plants need. There are no fertilizers or additives in our process. We focus on growing the most flavorful, crisp, and nutritious microgreens.
What is the best way to eat microgreens?
Microgreens are best consumed raw to gain nutritional benefits. It can be consumed as a salad or in wraps, soups, sandwiches, smoothies, or desserts. As per the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) cooking these same microgreens for 5 minutes in 140-180°F soup pot will still yield you at least 80-85% of the nutrient value.(8) The good news? Minerals are unaffected by cooking and only vitamin C, folate, and folic acid are lost the most.
So, how do you make sure your microgreens keep the highest amount of nutrients when you cook them? The three keys are water, temperature, and time. Try also cooking at lower temperatures where possible – sauté or bake. Use a higher temperature for a shorter time – stir fry. Try steaming rather than boiling. Or if you do boil try and reuse the water (broth) in the dish.
What is the shelflife of microgreens?
Don't be fooled by store bought microgreens that have been transported and still have a 'sell by' date of a week or more out. Shipped microgreens must be at least 2 or 3 days old already. When you cut a plant it begins to degrade. This process decreases the nutrients, flavor, and texture of the plant over time. They may last, but will they truly be fresh? Of course, any locally grown crop will be fresher than those that are shipped. But since microgreens are so delicate and last only about a week, buying locally is the only way to ensure they are fresh. At ambient temperature, the shelf life of packaged and cut microgreens ranges between 3 and 5 days. Microgreens need to be kept dry and cold once harvested. Most will only stay fresh between 7 and 10 days this way. Our goal at Parvis Plantis is to bring you the freshest microgreens. As such we sell all of our microgreens live and uncut which have a shelf life average of 1 to 3 weeks.
1.Agricultural Research Service
2.Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
3.University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
4. Journal of the American College of Nutrition
5. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis
6. Environment International (Volume 132)
7. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis (Volume 20, Issue 6)
8. USDA Table of Nutrient Retention Factors (Release 6)