Microgreens – the young seedlings of edible plants such as broccoli, kale, & cilantro – have been making their way onto people's plates for years, yet many people still have not heard of these fantastic greens & their many benefits!
If you haven't heard of microgreens before, you've found a great place to learn. Heritage Prairie Farm has been growing organic microgreens in our dedicated greenhouse in the Midwest for over ten years, and we love to share them with the community!
Read along below to learn what are microgreens and how do you use them, how do microgreens differ from sprouts, why are microgreens so healthy, and what varieties of microgreens we grow at the farm.
What are Microgreens and how do you use them?
Microgreens are essentially baby vegetables. They are the edible young seedlings of plants, harvested at 7-14 days after germination. Microgreens typically range in size from 1-3 inches tall, and are older than sprouts and much younger than petite or baby greens. Microgreens are full of unique color and flavor, making a beautiful and tasty addition to just about any dish. These tender greens typically have two of what are called cotyledon leaves, with or without the emergence of a few first "true leaves," or the leaves that we recognize on each plant once it reaches maturity. It is these young cotyledon leaves, often referred to as the “seed leaves,” that possess higher nutritional densities.
So what can you do with microgreens? Try adding them to your soups & smoothies, top a pizza or sandwich, or make an entire salad base out of microgreens! Visit our microgreens page where we have a gallery full of inspiration from our friends on social media.
How are microgreens different than sprouts?
Microgreens differ from sprouts in some distinct ways.
First, they are grown in soil rather than in water or a damp container. This makes microgreens safer to consume, given that they are not as likely to become contaminated due to bacterial growth. Microgreens at Heritage Prairie Farm are grown in a dedicated greenhouse with plenty of sun & organic soil rather than under grow lights like many conventional growers use. They are then triple washed and ready for you to enjoy!
Second, microgreens are also older than sprouts. They are given more time to mature and are harvested just above the soil line, rather than eaten whole. This gives them a stronger flavor as well that is typically similar to the mature plant.
Why are they so healthy?
Microgreens are packed with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants, so they are an easy way to add nutrition to your meals. The vitamins & nutrients contained in microgreens are concentrated and vary by type, but research has found that they can contain levels several times higher when compared to their mature counterparts. Commonly found are higher levels of zinc, potassium, iron, and magnesium. (Check the description on our products for variety-specific nutritional information.)
Eating a variety of vegetables is widely known as being a part of a healthy diet. Microgreens are a great, compact way to add healthy benefits to your diet that may reduce the risk for ailments such as cancers, diabetes, and heart disease... and they taste great! While often used as a garnish in restaurants, they can also be enjoyed as a salad base or topping on a sandwich. Just toss some on top of your next dish and experiment with the flavors!
What microgreens does Heritage Prairie Farm carry?
Microgreens have exploded in popularity in recent years. At Heritage Prairie Farm, we began growing Microgreens in the winter of 2007, and within a short time they were being sold at farmers markets and being used at area restaurants such as Marriott Chicago, The Finery, and Sovereign. By 2010, Heritage Prairie Farm Microgreens were one of the first Midwest farms to make Microgreens commercially available to consumers at retail outlets like Whole Foods Market in the Chicago-land area. These nutritious greens are now available through our online ordering, as an add-on to your Summer CSA subscription, and at the Wheaton & Elgin farmers markets while in season.
Currently, we offer several varieties including:
Arugula, Basil, Broccoli, Cilantro, Kale, Parsley, Radish, Javi's Taco Mix (Radish, Cilantro, Scallion), and our popular Healthy Mix.