The name says it all, right? Tiny greens. But, why would I want a small veggie when I can get a big veggie? Well, I guess it all depends on whether you like veggies or not….
Humans have been cultivating a wide variety of plants for centuries. Of course, we normally grow them to maturity. Full size veggies are healthy – just not as healthy as 50 years ago. Because of poor planting practices and a drive to create more pest resistant and bigger vegetables, our soils and veggies have less nutrients. Of course, a carrot is still better than a slice of cake, so keep crunching.
As a kid, my mother used to pack her pita pockets with sprouts along with chicken or tuna. Back then in the 80’s I just saw my mama as being a different kind of eater than many others. I always associated her different “eating style” with her time living in California. Sprouts and artichokes were not something my friends families ate growing up in NJ. Just one more reason why my mom is so cool. But, I wonder if she knew how healthy her sprouts were back then?
The truth is, those tiny greens pack more punch than any full grown vegetable. In fact, sprouts and microgreens are 30-40 times more nutrient dense then their full size versions. That’s pretty significant and something we all need today.
The best part of this discovery is that growing sprouts and microgreens is easy and inexpensive. For those of us with green thumbs and no green house, it’s also a great way to keep growing during the winter months. I just started my own sprouts and will eventually get to microgreens as well (as soon as I collect enough container trays). To start your own sprouts, all is takes it the right container (purchase here), daily fresh water rinses and a spot on your counter. You don’t even need sunlight to grow sprouts. Just wait about 4-6 days and reap the rewards with your own stuffed pita pocket. My kids are seriously amazed with this little guy – so fun to watch! You can start several at different intervals to keep the harvest continuous. Think of all the possibilities!
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Microgreens are a great next step in your growing journey. They require soil and sunlight to grow, but are still a quick turnaround as most microgreens are harvested within 4 weeks. Normally, they are grown only until they produce their seed leaves (although some are better when grown longer). These seed leaves are the first set of leaves to produce and look similar from plant to plant. If you are a grower, you already know that the second set of leaves is when the plants characteristics really start to show. And because microgreens are grown in sunlight (unlike sprouts), they are significant sources of chlorophyll and phytonutrients. Plants produce these substances to protect THEMSELVES against environmental stressors and diseases, so it is no wonder they do the same for us when we eat them. Chlorophyll has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and phytonutrients are said to promote health and reduce illness and disease…even cancer. Better start growing.
All in all, growing your own sprouts and microgreens is relatively easy with a substantial return. Healthier options are what we all need to be looking for these days. In my own wellness journey, I have made several health ‘upgrades’ —- I check ingredients labels, I reuse, I take care of my gut health with clean supplements, I grow as much of my own food as possible, I practice mindfulness and now I am making my own household/beauty products too. A return to some simpler ways, like growing our own foods, will help make a positive impact on our world.