Once seen as a fancy add-on at expensive restaurants, micro-greens have gained popularity as a superfood that can be grown cost-effectively, with minimum supplies at home. Often confused with sprouts which are eaten once the seeds germinate, microgreens are the next step in plant growth. These are harvested after the germinated seeds develop tiny leaves and roots.
Don’t fret if you live in a small flat with no garden. Microgreens need little space to grow and if you have a windowsill or balcony that catches a couple of hours of daily sunshine, you are good to go. Though some taste better than others, seeds of almost all edible plants can be grown as microgreens. It’s a good idea to start with familiar and easy-to-grow seeds.
Choosing and preparing the seeds: Take about half a cup of larger seeds like green beans or dry peas. If using smaller seeds like mustard or fenugreek, two tablespoon’s are enough. Rinse gently and soak. Keep covered in a dark place for at least 24 hours, changing the water once in between.
Three different mediums for growing
Green beans in a kettle: Green beans or moong is the most popular, the fastest and easiest to grow. Soak in a kettle to start with. After 24 hours, rinse and allow all the water to drain out of the spout. Cover and keep on the kitchen counter. Moong doesn’t require much sunshine. Rinse at least two or three times a day. Your microgreens will be ready within 3-4 days. They will be white and plump. Alternately if you grow these in soil or expose these to sunlight, these will be green but will take longer to mature.
Mustard seeds on cloth: Mustard greens are small and delicate but have a distinctive wasabi flavour that adds a zing to your palate. Spread a cotton cloth in a sieve and gently transfer the soaked seeds onto the cloth. Spray with water to keep the cloth moist at all times. These seeds love partial sunlight and take five to seven days to grow. Harvest by gently pulling out plants to separate them from the cloth.
Dried peas in a plastic tray: Use a fruit tray which has holes (for excess water to drain out) and half fill with potting mix. Spread the soaked peas in a single layer. Spray with water and press down with another plastic tray. Cover with a cloth to keep the light out and moisture in. Once sprouts emerge, keep the container in a sunny spot and continue watering at least twice a day. Harvest the shoots in about two weeks, by cutting just above the soil line.
Microgreens taste best when fresh but can be safely refrigerated in a plastic bag for a couple of days. Use the tender and edible greens as a nutritious side dish, delicious and anti-oxidant addition to smoothies or a colourful topping to salads.
Enjoy this fresh produce grown organically in your kitchen.
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