THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MICROGREENS AND SPROUTS
Sprouts and microgreens are often mistaken as being the same thing, it’s a question
that we are often asked in the course of us selling our microgreens. Some of the
most significant differences between sprouts and microgreens are the following.
Sprouts are grown and germinate hydroponically in water alone, where
microgreens can be grown either in soil or hydroponically. Although, growing
microgreens in soil is said to give them a higher nutritional value and better flavor.
Sprouts also don’t need light or ventilation but they do need some humidity. These
conditions may allow harmful bacteria to grow though. Since 1996 according to
Foodsafety.gov, sprouts have been associated with at least 30 outbreaks of food
borne illness. In 2016 new standards were implemented for growing, harvesting
and packaging sprouts and produce for human consumption. So it’s important that
they be grown properly to ensure that they are free from harmful bacteria or other
pathogens before consumption. With these factors it’s possible that sprouts are
riskier to eat than microgreens.
Generally sprouts are at their prime shortly after they have germinated, within a
few days and usually under a week. They are eaten when they reach a maximum
length of one to three inches and in the plants first stage of life as they have not
developed their cotyledon leaves yet so you are entirely eating just the seed and
stem of the sprout. Sprouts also are primarily eaten for their crunchy texture while
having little taste to them.
Microgreens need both elements of light and ventilation to grow well. They are
eaten for their flavor, nutritional and vitamin content and because they contain
more fiber than sprouts. They can are more desirable because they have a variety
Most microgreens are generally eaten after growing from one to three weeks and
cut off just above the soil level so you aren’t eating the plants roots. Both their leaves
and stems can be eaten though. They are usually harvested shortly after developing
their first set of cotyledon leaves and may be grown up to seven inches in length.
Microgreens are a plant in its second stage of growth. So you can look at sprouts as
the infant plant and microgreens sort of as the youngsters.
Microgreens also have minerals, antioxidants, beta-carotene, enzymes and other
unique medicinal compounds. Researchers are very impressed with many other
benefits that microgreens offer versus sprouts. Microgreens can have up to forty
percent more nutritional value than their mature counterparts and be grown
quickly and easily. Microgreens require a smaller growing area whether they are
grown in soil or hydroponically. It is common for them to be grown vertically on
racks just about anywhere that you can control the temperature and humidity. They
require far less water than growing crops the traditional way.
Health food advocates and researchers recognize the many benefits of microgreens
and recommend that people incorporate them into their daily diets. They are easy to
toss into your salad or top your sandwich off with. You can sneak them into
everyday meals while raw or you can cook them as well. They make tasty smoothies
and are used as fantastic looking garnishes.
Mighty little microgreens shine as a super food for their many attributes and are a
great way to add additional vegetables into you or your family’s year round daily