How to Take Care of Microgreen: A Brief Guide
Picture this: you’ve just come home from a lovely morning at the local Farmer’s Market, a haul of deliciously fresh vegetables in hand. You unload everything into their rightful places; kumara in with the potatoes, tomatoes in the vegetable drawer, and pickled preserves perched happily on the pantry shelf. You get to the microgreens, lovely and vibrant in their trays, and… what do you do with them?
That’s a question I encounter often when I head to the markets. Many microgreens first-timers have never needed to care for living food before, and they’re not quite sure how to go about it. Luckily, I’ve got a quick and easy guide to caring for microgreens NZ’s healthy eaters will love. Read on to grow your green thumb!
Why do we keep microgreens alive until we eat them?
‘Living food’ is food that has not been harvested prior to the customer receiving it, which is exactly how you’ll receive a package of microgreens from us. Held in a little punnet, these greens are still growing, photosynthesising light, and producing oxygen as they feed off the soil in which they’re planted.
Now, microgreens alone are very good for you, but living microgreens are even better. Filled with antioxidants and phytochemicals, these greens aid the body in the production of healthy enzymes. Enzymes are essential components of many bodily processes, including hormone production and stress regulation, so eating enough of these chemicals is absolutely vital. Once the vegetables are harvested, they gradually lose their nutrients. However, if they continue to grow, that can’t happen.
Whereas eating vegetables that were harvested when you purchased them is somewhat healthy, eating living microgreens is like juicing your immune system with vitamins, Popeye style. If you’re interested in learning more about the value of living food, you can check out this study on the nutritional value of microgreens.
Some Easy Tips for Microgreen Care
Until you can cut them and sprinkle them on your latest gourmet creation—perhaps one of our microgreens recipes—you’ll need to keep these tiny greens alive and thriving. Luckily, this is a super simple process that shouldn’t weigh you down at all. In fact, I’ve found that caring for something green actually lifts me up; maybe you’ll feel the same way!
Tip #1: Keep Your Microgreens in the Fridge
Now, this might feel strange to you. After all, these plants are still growing, right? Why keep them in the fridge?
Well, microgreens do best in a cool, temperature-controlled, moist environment like the good old refrigerator. Whereas standing them on the windowsill will quickly fry these delicate greens, dedicating a shelf to your tiny garden will keep them fresh and crisp until you’re ready to harvest them.
Tip #2: Bottom Water When they Need It
The previous tip mentioned moisture, which is an important aspect of microgreen care. Like all other plants, microgreens rely on water to grow and thrive. Without it, they will quickly shrivel and die. But these delicate little stems can’t handle a full watering can, so a gentle sprints on the roots with an old spray bottle is best!
Try using filtered water if you have it, otherwise tap water is fine. Thoroughly clean out an old spray bottle, fill with water, and use this to keep your greens healthy and fresh from day to day. Be careful not to water them too much though!
But only do this when they need it, when they act a bit droopy.
Tip #3: Harvest Just Before You Use Them
The final tip is the fun part: finally getting to use your microgreens! To harvest these little beauties, all you need is a sharp pair of scissors and some cold water. Chop them through the stem, far enough away from the soil that you’re not getting any on there, but far enough from the leaves that you still get some stem.
If you think they need it, rinse your greens with cold water, then sprinkle them on your dish and you’re ready to eat. It’s that simple.