Microgreens – nutritious and tasty

Posted: May 4, 2009 in science & technology
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microgreens2A new trend seems to be emerging in home kitchens and dining establishments alike: microgreens. Microgreens are the young plants of those vegetables crops any healthy main meal should include, like broccoli, cabbage, beets, kohlrabi or peas; they are harvested just after the first real plant leaves (not the two seedling leaves) have begun unfolding. As for recipe ideas: they can complement our standard salad greens the same way edible flowers, herbs and sprouts do: by adding colour, flavour and texture, and they are also great for raw fooders (eg green smoothies) and as toppings on sandwiches, soups, casseroles and the like.

  1. David Sasuga says:

    Nice article. As a microgreen grower, I would like to believe that they are particularly high in nutritional value. This idea originated with the sprout growers. Unfortunately, there is no factual data to substantiate this, in fact sprouts have been shown to be far lower in nutritional content compared to regular vegetables. There is no data showing that microgreens have high nutritional content, it is a myth.

  2. Dan says:

    David is quite right. I have atragic distaste for vegetables and was looking into whether I could overcome it somewhat by the consumption of sprouts or microgreens. Before I got started, I searched the web for information. Plenty of sites tell you that sprouts and microgreens are nutritious, but when you try to locate any kind of reference or scientific study, you come up empty. There is one study from 1997 on brocolli sprouts which suggest that they may possess a cancer-fighting chemical 10 to 100 times what the mature brocolli plant contains, but that is it. The sprouts by themselves are inferior to the mature brocolli plant in all other aspects aside from that one chemical. Try to find data or bar graphs proving that sprouts or microgreens contain MORE nutrition than the mature plant does. The research is not there. So, to the author of this article who makes the claim that microgreens and sprouts are so health, I say, what are your sources? Can you prove what you are saying or are you just assuming?

  3. Dan says:

    Finally located a source that say young spinach leaves are better than older leaves.
    Gene Lester, Ph.D., USDA plant physiologist. .

    Lester points to a recent study he conducted on spinach, in which he discovered that younger leaves generally have higher levels of vitamins C, B9 and K1, and the carotenoids (plant pigments with antioxidant action) lutein, violaxanthin, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene than more mature leaves (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, January 2010.)

  4. David Sasuga says:

    It appears that the study referenced by Dan was done to determine the effects of storage under supermarket lighting on nutritional value of spinach leaves. They compared older and younger leaves from the same plant after being exposed to supermarket lights for several days.

    The study showed that under the 24 hour lights of the supermarket display, photosynthesis continued. They found that the older bottom leaves of the plant had lower nutrient levels than the newer actively growing leaves from the top of the plant.

    It’s an interesting study, but they did not compare leaves from younger spinach plants to leaves from older spinach plants. Younger leaves on the same plant may be better, but there is still no comparison showing the nutrient content of younger plants vs. more mature plants.

    Like me, Dan is searching hard for any evidence to show that younger plants have more nutritional value than older plants. Lots of hype, but still no proof!

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