Upon being asked if I liked Dijon mustard, I shook my head yes and tried some little green plants that tasted amazingly just like Dijon mustard. The mustard flavor was quickly followed by a hot sensation (not spicy). What was it that I just tasted? I had just had some of Sweetwater Growers‘ mustard microgreens!
Microgreens are small clover-like plants that grow not much taller than 2 inches. The most common use for these tiny flavor packed greens are in the white tablecloth restaurants as a garnish or small addition of flavor on sandwiches, salads, and soups. They’ve only been grown in the United States for the past couple of decades or so, but the demand for microgreens has been increasing rapidly. After trying celery, mustard, and sugar snap pea microgreens I can see why, I think I would put them on just about everything!
Microgreens vs. Sprouts
Microgreens are grown in soil, not water. The main parts of microgreens that get consumed are the stem and fully developed leaves. Microgreens take about two weeks to grow, some can take as long as five weeks. The growing process of microgreens is very sterile and easy to get a hang of.
Sprouts are germinated seeds. The parts that are consumed are generally the seed, roots, stem, and underdeveloped leaves. Sprouts are done growing after just a few days and must be used quickly to prevent spoilage. Growing sprouts may have a risk of spoilage due to being grown solely in water, however, if precautions are taken, your sprouts will be edible and delicious!
Sweetwater Growers uses a growing process of hydroponics to grow their basil, potted plants, and microgreens. Hydroponics is a growing process of growing that substitutes soil for a substitute nutrient rich substance, such as perlite or sand, and keeps water circulating frequently. The growing system for hydroponics is very controlled and has a fast turnover rate.
While hydroponics takes some previous growing knowledge and easily controllable environments, you can much more easily add a new punch of flavor with microgreens as a little treat!
Winter 2012 Atlanta Food Warrior
This post is from one of the interns in the Real Time Farms Food Warrior Internship Program. These interns are collecting data, pictures, and video on the growing practices of our nation’s farms, gathering food artisans’ stories, and documenting farmers markets. We all deserve to know where our food comes from! Boring legalese we feel we must include: this was written by a real live person who has their own opinions, which we value, but that do not necessary reflect, though they may (or may not), reflect the values and opinions of Real Time Farms. That is for you to guess and us to know.