Microgreens can bring salads, smoothies and main meals to life. Here are some practical tips for harvesting, storing and preparing nutrient rich microgreens.
Microgreens are a great way to add some colour and flavour to your favourite dishes. Throw them into salads, drink them in smoothies or use them as garnish on chargrilled meat.
You could consider microgreens as the youngsters of the garden. Microgreens are small in size and age, sitting somewhere between the more mature sprouts found at grocery stores and young baby greens.
Microgreens are highly nutritious, containing up to 40 times more nutrients than the same fully grown plant. These young seedlings are loaded with beneficial digestive enzymes and although they can be cooked, they are way more nutritious and tasty when served raw.
How long do microgreens take to grow?
The growth cycle of a microgreen is short, and you can have them on your table in about 2-3 weeks. Germination rates depend on what kind of seeds you’ve chosen. With microgreens, most should be harvested in two to three weeks after planting.
How do I harvest microgreens?
Once your microgreens have sprouted their first set of true leaves, then they are ready. The height of your microgreens should be about two inches. Harvesting requires taking a pair of scissors and snipping the greens right above the soil line. After harvesting, microgreens should be eaten immediately because that’s when they will have the best taste and highest nutritional value. Leftover microgreens should be stored in a plastic bag and consumed sooner rather than later.
Here is a super simple video demonstrating how to harvest and use your microgreens.
Best way to store your fresh cut microgreens
The produce drawer in your fridge is the ideal place to store your freshly harvested microgreens. You’ll be surprised at how quickly mould can grow, it will affect the taste of your microgreens and can even carry diseases that are harmful to humans.
You want to remove excess moisture from your microgreens which will combat mould growth. Overexposure to water can make for a soggy, unpleasant tasting microgreen – and one that doesn’t pack the same nutritive punch of those still wet from the pot or garden!
To remove moisture and then maximize shelf life, place microgreens between two paper towels. Gently dab the item through the paper towels without breaking or squashing it in order to effectively eliminate moisture.
Once you are happy that your microgreens are dry, place them in a resealable plastic bag or container with the lid on. Then you can store them in the refrigerator and they should stay fresh for up to 7 days before spoiling.
Inspiration for how to use your fresh cut microgreens
Microgreens come in many varieties and can be used anywhere you would use salad leaves, sauerkraut, baby greens or sprouts.
- Alongside frittatas or quiche
- Sprinkled over eggs and omelettes
- On a platter alongside crackers, hummus and cheese
- With avocado on toast or on a half open sandwich
- A nutrient rich side for fish, chicken or chargrilled steak
- As a garnish for soups
Microgreens are a great way to jazz up a lunch at home:
- Add to sandwiches, wraps or salads
- Mix through frittatas or omelettes
- Lay into rice paper wraps with other vegetables and some leftover cooked chicken
- Place a handful into a bento box with other snacks such as boiled eggs, carrot or celery sticks, or cheese cubes.
- Colourful sides or garnishes:
- Draw inspiration from gourmet restaurants and celebrity chefs with creatively placed microgreens for sides or garnishes.
As a salad base, microgreens can be both simple and versatile. Begin with about 1 cup of mixed microgreens (add cress, fennel or rocket for an extra dash of spice) along with shredded carrot, avocado, and toasted nuts or pumpkin seeds. Dress the salad with quality olive oil before serving.
When you’re short on time, try adding a handful of microgreens to a tossed green salad. You can also pair the greens with fruits like strawberries, bananas, or mangoes for added sweetness in hybrid fruit and vegetable dishes.
Where to find microgreens in Australia?
Microgreens can be found on dining menus around the country and are also available at some of our leading supermarkets including selected Coles Australia stores.
Your local farmers Markets are another great way to find microgreens.
Or you can learn to grow and harvest microgreens yourself!
Baker D, Covic M, Klein G (2006). “Erythroxylum coca Lam”: A microgreen for human and animal nutrition. Acta Horticulturae 682: 129-132.