Aptly described as microgreens, these vegetables are even more juvenile than babies, most less than two weeks old.
Not to be confused with sprouts or baby varieties of salads, these greens are ready for harvest when they reach the first true leaf stage, which is usually about 2 inches tall.
And at this tender age, the greens pack a nutritional punch. Some scientists have found that microgreens like red cabbage, cilantro, and radish contain up to 40 times higher levels of vital nutrients than their mature counterparts.
Microgreens also pack a punch when it comes to flavor as well as elegance and color, which is why they are often used as garnishes for everything from salads to soups to sandwiches—they look simply divine, whether sprinkled over an omelette or snuck into a summer salad (some recipes here).
Cabbage, beet, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard, radish, swiss chard, and amaranth are among some of the crops that are said to germinate and grow easily. For the more adventurous green-thumbs, arugula, basil, onion, chive, broccoli, fennel, lemongrass, popcorn, buckwheat, spinach, sweet pea, and celery can also be grown and consumed at this micro stage.
Microgreens can also be harvested in micro spaces, and can fit perfectly on a windowsill for a touch of deliciousness and beauty in what may be a tiny kitchen, depending on where you live.
To grow a crop, all you need is a shallow plastic container (one PBS foodie even uses store-bought mushroom containers) with some drainage, seeds, potting mix, and a little patience and attention to watering. Rodale’s Organic Life gives step-by-step directions here.
So unpack that tiny shovel, put on those tiny gardening gloves, and get (micro) growing!