Microgreens are herb or vegetable seedlings harvested after the development of the first set of cotyledon leaves. Unlike sprouts, which you can harvest within 2 to 3 days, you can only harvest the microgreens after one or three weeks. Sprouts are often grown in water, whereas; the microgreens are grown on soil, and they need sunlight. You should harvest microgreens when they’re about 2 inches tall. Organic micro greens are grown without the use of commercial fertilizers and agricultural chemical inputs.
Adding microgreens to salads is a popular way of using these vegetables, and it first appeared 20 to 30 years ago. These delicacies started appearing in chef’s menus in the early 1980s. Microgreens are a versatile dietary inclusion, which you can incorporate into your recipes in many different ways. Like edible flowers, these vegetables also add some bright colors and great taste to your dishes. Read on to get a glimpse of how to handle, store, and use them in your recipes.
When organic micro greens have reached a desirable height and age, they’re picked whole. These young vegetables are often harvested after 1 or 3 weeks. Hand-picking is ideal because you only select the best shoots. The process takes out the old root-stock to leave room for the younger rooted shoots. It’s advisable to plant different microgreen varieties in different portions of your nursery bed to avoid disturbing other types, which are still developing.
2. Taste before harvesting
You should pick and taste the organic micro greens after every few days to find out whether they’ve acquired the tender and flavorful nature desired for culinary purposes. You should keep a note so that you’ll get to understand when the next crop will be ready for use.
3. Trim and clean
Minimal trimming is preferable when harvesting organic micro greens. You should cut off the primary leaves. You should work with caution and avoid crushing or squeezing the plants as you go. Using a clean knife or a pair of scissors is ideal. These tools should be well-sharpened to prevent bruising or tearing of the growing vegetables.
4. Wash them with care
After trimming the shoots, start cleaning them with water. You don’t have to dip them in water completely. You only need to give them a light rinse while keeping them under a gentle stream of clean water. You can prepare a storage container where you’ll lay them. First, put a clean and damp paper towel on your storage container, and lay each shoot on it after a quick rinse.
5. Cool and sterilize
After cleaning your microgreen shoots, you should prepare ice-cold water mixed with 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide. You should wash the fresh shoots in the water to sterilize them. You may also use one teaspoon of regular bleach (200ppm) to sterilize the microgreens. The sterilization step slows the biological processes of the plants while also preventing the multiplication of any microorganisms acquired from the growth media. If you have a salad spinner, you can run them through it to dry off excess moisture. Always wash and sterilize your microgreens before using them. Avoid cleaning them before storing them in the refrigerator. Otherwise, they’ll end up with excess moisture, which may spoil them.
6. Maintaining proper moisture levels
Storing organic micro greens at the right moisture and temperature levels keep them fresh and crunchy. To keep your microgreens at the correct moisture level, you should keep them between damp pieces of paper towels. You should make sure that you spread out the shoots in the storage container so that air can flow through them.
7. Keep your organic micro greens cool
Storing your microgreens under low-temperature environments keeps them fresh, crunchy, and tasteful. The refrigerator is the best storage place for your microgreens. You should also avoid keeping your microgreens in direct sunlight because they may wilt, and lose their desirable appearance and taste.
Be careful when harvesting, cleaning, sterilizing, and storing these tender shoots, and you’ll have a fresh supply of delicious and nutritious vegetables. The tips above will help you to extend the shelf-life of your microgreens.