Microgreens are small plants in the next stage of sprouting, when the first two leaves, viz., “cotyledons” develop from the seed.
By Bhuvaneswari Ravindran
COVID-19 lockdown: These are trying times we all are going through. When the lock down period started in March, little did we realise that we would be shut indoors for such a long time. Fortunately for me, I plunged deep into my favourite past times – gardening, cooking and writing. My small kitchen garden which I took up as a hobby after my retirement, came as a saviour – not only supplying me with pure organic and fresh vegetables, but to pass the time fruitfully and with satisfaction. Herein enters the Microgreens.
It was a God sent opportunity when some friends suggested Microgreens, a method of growing plants indoors, as an option for having fresh green leaves. Since I had heard of it earlier, I jumped into the fray and found the process quite enjoyable.
What are microgreens and how can we benefit from them?
Microgreens are small plants in the next stage of sprouting, when the first two leaves, viz., “cotyledons” develop from the seed. Research shows that these contain abundant Vitamin C and E and antioxidants, even at a higher concentration than sprouts or even fully mature plants.
No doubt, its nutrient value attracted me, but I should admit, I was more attracted by the sheer beauty of greenness and freshness it offered to eyes and also the unique way of growing it – without any soil or flower pot or Grow Bags or manure.
Healthiest microgreens to grow:
What’s more, these can be grown inside apartments as well, using different kinds of seeds like:
- Green grams
Horse pea, and many such seeds that we use in our day to day cooking. All this, at no additional cost or labour, in a week’s time!
How to grow microgreens at home: Step by step process
Take a handful of seeds with which to make Microgreens and wash it well for overnight soaking. Next day wash it again and keep it wrapped lightly in a thin wet cloth to sprout, for 24 hours. These sprouted seeds can then be spread evenly, without crowding too much, in the tray which you can keep ready by spreading three layers of tissue paper and sprinkling a little water over that to wet the base. Then you can wet the sprouts also by sprinkling little water. Keep these trays on the window sills or on a stand to get some sunshine. Direct sun is not a prerequisite. Sprinkle water at least three times a day, so that the tissues do not turn dry. In about 7 days’ time, microgreens will be ready for consumption.
A few of them, like Green gram or Chickpea, grow to a height of about 7 inches.
It is better to consume the microgreens while it has only two leaves. If more leaves start emerging, the roots won’t taste good.
Microgreens can be had as salads or cooked with other vegetables or even eggs or paneer.
It’s been a revelation to me seeing such a simple process yield so many varieties of microgreens at very little cost, effort and time. I am sure to continue and expand these experiments well beyond the lockdown.
The columnist is Director (Retd.), Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi and Formerly Joint Development Commissioner (Special Economic Zones), CSEZ. Views expressed are the author’s own.