Omnivore - Microgreens: larger than life

Your garnish is good for you


  • Kari Sullivan via Flickr

You may have seen them sitting on top of your impeccably seared salmon or lightly scattered around your gourmet salad. Microgreens are frequently used by chefs as garnishes, but recent research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has shown that these little greens may offer more than mere aesthetic appeal.

Less than 14 days old, "microgreens are rumored to pack even more nutrients than their adult versions." In fact, research has shown that microgreens generally contain four to six times more nutrients than their mature counterparts. From cilantro to red cabbage, microgreen versions of these vegetables possess higher levels of vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta carotene, which are vital for the skin and eyes.

Now, how do microgreens transition from the science lab to the kitchen table?

According to Brendan Davison from Good Water Farms, the market for microgreens is growing. Davison delivers "the greens in the tray that they're grown in, so [he's bringing the farm to the kitchen...The chefs can cut what they want with scissors right onto the plate, so they're live and fresh."] Microgreens can be found at local farmers markets or more opulent grocery stores. Be aware though, these tiny greens carry intense flavors, so a little goes a long way.

So next time you decide to cook a meal, why not add some microgreens? They'll not only accentuate the visual appeal of your dish and provide the flavor that you may be missing, but they may be just what the doctor ordered.