Microgreens are the first true leaves produced from the seedling of a vegetable or herb. These tiny leaves are imitations of their mature counterparts and are packed with intense flavour and nutrition.
“Simply put, microgreens are one of the initial stages of the plant’s growth, and are more nutritious than fully-grown vegetables,” says Swati Jain, founder of the Delhi-based startup, The First Leaf which sells live and organic microgreens. She has also conducted workshops to help other urban gardeners start their microgreen garden.
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When consumed regularly, microgreens help detoxify your body. They are highly nutritious and even in small quantities, a powerbomb of energy. The only possible drawback is that they are expensive when purchased from the market, and not every variety is easily available.
But the good news is that they can be grown easily at home, in a tiny space, with readily-available supplies.
Using this simple, readily-available ingredient, you can grow microgreens that are rich in Vitamins A, C, K, and E.
The leaves of this plant are packed with phytonutrients such as glucosinolates and phenols which are known to strengthen the immunity system. Furthermore, Dr Ekta S, a Bangalore-based dietician, says that the leaves can prevent the growth of cancerous cells. “This leafy vegetable is rich in antioxidants which helps to fight against malignant cells. It is also rich in protein, fibre, calcium, and iron,” she says.
Here’s what you will need:
- Small Container (Pot, tray or plastic box)
- Mustard Seeds
- Potting mix
Step 1: Grab a handful of mustard seeds and pre-soak them in a bowl of water for 6 hours.
Step 2: Take the desired container and create two or three holes at the base. This facilitates the drainage of excess water and watering of the microgreens once they grow taller.
Step 2: Fill the box with any organic potting mix, or homemade compost.
Step 3: Scatter all the soaked seeds, and spread it evenly using the back of a spoon.
Step 4: Sprinkle or spray water to ensure both the seeds and the soil is moist.
Step 5: Cover the pot with another container with a few holes for air circulation. Or, you can use an aluminium foil or cardboard to cover the container. Punch a few holes on the surface to allow the plant to breathe.
Place the container in a well-ventilated area of your house that does not receive direct sunlight. Remember to water the seedlings every 8 hours, by spraying or sprinkling. Continue doing this for the next three days until the seeds begin to germinate. The small leaves will start sprouting by Day 5.
Step 6: Now, remove the lid, and place the container in a well-ventilated area of your house that receives indirect sunlight.
Step 7: Since the seedlings are taller, it is time to water your microgreens differently. Place the container on a dish/tray, filled with water, for one minute. Do this twice a day for one minute only.
Once the seedling reaches a height of 1 inch, it is ready for harvest.
How To Consume Microgreens?
Always ensure that the microgreens are grown organically, and consumed as living foods.
“Never cook your microgreens, always eat them raw. They’re too delicate in nature, and the moment you expose them to heat, they start losing their vitality and nutrition,” says Swati.
She suggests adding them to everyday meals as a garnish, tossing them along with salads, squeezing them in between sandwiches, or blending them along with chutneys, dips, raita, or juice.
Photographs and GIFs courtesy: Swati Jain
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)