After harvesting your microgreens, it’s important to handle them properly to ensure freshness and maximize their shelf life. Here are some steps you can take and ideas on what to do with microgreens after harvest:
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1. Rinse and Dry:
- Gently rinse the harvested microgreens under cold running water to remove any soil particles. Pat them dry using paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Excess moisture can lead to spoilage, so ensure they are adequately dried.
2. Store Properly:
- Store the microgreens in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. Place them in a container lined with a damp paper towel or store them in a produce bag. Avoid sealing them in an airtight container, as some airflow helps prevent moisture buildup.
3. Use Quickly:
- Microgreens are best enjoyed when fresh, so try to use them within a few days of harvesting. The delicate nature of microgreens means they can wilt and lose their crispness relatively quickly.
4. Add to Meals:
- Incorporate microgreens into your meals for added nutrition and flavor. They work well in salads, sandwiches, wraps, omelets, stir-fries, and as a garnish for various dishes.
5. Make a Microgreen Salad:
- Create a simple microgreen salad by combining different varieties with a light vinaigrette. Add other ingredients like cherry tomatoes, avocado, or cheese to enhance the flavor and texture.
6. Blend into Smoothies:
- Boost the nutritional content of your smoothies by blending microgreens into the mix. They add a fresh, green element without overpowering the flavor.
7. Freeze for Later Use:
- If you have a surplus of microgreens, consider freezing them for later use. While they will lose some of their crispness, frozen microgreens can still be used in soups, stews, or smoothies.
8. Create Pesto or Sauces:
- Blend microgreens with garlic, nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil to make a unique and flavorful pesto. Alternatively, incorporate them into sauces for pasta or vegetables.
9. Dehydrate for Garnish:
- Dehydrate microgreens at a low temperature to create crispy garnishes. Crush the dehydrated microgreens and use them to top dishes like soups or salads.
10. Infuse Water or Beverages: – Add a refreshing twist to your water or beverages by infusing them with microgreens. Mint or basil microgreens work particularly well for this purpose.
11. Compost: – If you have leftovers or trimmings, consider composting them to return nutrients to your garden or houseplants.
12. Share with Others: – If you have an abundance of microgreens, share them with friends, family, or neighbors. Freshly harvested microgreens make a thoughtful and nutritious gift.
Remember that the best way to enjoy microgreens is to harvest them just before use. This ensures maximum freshness and flavor. Incorporating these tiny greens into your daily meals not only enhances the nutritional value but also adds a delightful touch to your culinary creations.
Microgreens are not only nutritious but also versatile, adding flavor, texture, and visual appeal to a variety of dishes. Here are some of the best ways to use microgreens in your culinary creations:
- Toss a handful of microgreens into your favorite salad for a burst of freshness. They add a delightful crunch and vibrant colors. Experiment with different combinations to create visually appealing and nutritious salads.
- Sandwiches and Wraps:
- Elevate the taste and nutritional content of sandwiches and wraps by layering microgreens. Whether you’re making a classic turkey sandwich or a veggie wrap, microgreens contribute a burst of flavor.
- Smoothie Bowls:
- Top your smoothie bowls with microgreens to enhance their visual appeal and nutritional value. Microgreens like pea shoots or sunflower shoots add a pleasant texture to the creamy base of a smoothie bowl.
- Soups and Stews:
- Garnish hot soups and stews with a handful of microgreens just before serving. Their delicate flavors complement the warmth of the soup while adding a pop of color.
- Omelets and Scrambled Eggs:
- Fold microgreens into your omelets or scramble them with eggs for a nutrient-packed breakfast. The mild flavor of microgreens pairs well with eggs and provides an extra layer of taste.
- Pasta and Risotto:
- Sprinkle microgreens on top of pasta dishes or risotto just before serving. Their tender leaves will wilt slightly from the heat, adding freshness to your savory dishes.
- Garnish for Proteins:
- Use microgreens as a garnish for grilled chicken, fish, or other proteins. They not only enhance the presentation but also contribute a burst of flavor that complements the main dish.
- Pizza Toppings:
- Add microgreens as a pizza topping after baking. The heat from the pizza will slightly wilt the microgreens, creating a delightful contrast to the cheesy goodness.
- Stir-Fries and Sautes:
- Stir microgreens into your favorite stir-fries or sauté them with vegetables. They cook quickly and add a fresh, vibrant element to these dishes.
- Tacos and Quesadillas:
- Sprinkle microgreens over tacos or fold them into quesadillas. They provide a crisp texture and contribute a nutritional boost to these Mexican-inspired dishes.
- Sushi Rolls:
- Incorporate microgreens into homemade sushi rolls for added flavor and nutrition. They work well with both vegetable and protein-based rolls.
- Dressings and Sauces:
- Blend microgreens into homemade salad dressings or sauces for an extra layer of flavor. Pea shoots, cilantro, and basil microgreens are particularly good choices for this.
- Cheese and Charcuterie Boards:
- Use microgreens as a garnish for cheese or charcuterie boards. They not only enhance the visual appeal but also provide a fresh and crisp element.
- Herb Replacement:
- Substitute microgreens for traditional herbs like basil, cilantro, or parsley in recipes. They offer a unique twist to classic dishes.
Experiment with different microgreen varieties to discover your favorite combinations and enjoy the nutritional benefits of these tiny but mighty greens in a wide range of dishes.
Health Benefits of Microgreens
Despite their small size, microgreens are packed with nutritional benefits. Here are some key advantages of incorporating microgreens into your diet:
- Rich in Nutrients:
- Microgreens are concentrated sources of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They often contain higher nutrient levels than their mature counterparts.
- Vitamins and Minerals:
- Microgreens are particularly high in certain vitamins and minerals. Common varieties like broccoli microgreens are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like potassium and iron.
- Antioxidant Content:
- Antioxidants play a crucial role in neutralizing free radicals in the body, which can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Microgreens, such as red cabbage and cilantro, are known for their antioxidant properties.
- Support for Immune Health:
- The vitamins and antioxidants present in microgreens can contribute to a strong immune system. Vitamin C, for example, is essential for immune function and can be found in microgreens like kale and radish.
- Heart Health:
- Some microgreens, including beet and Swiss chard, contain compounds that may help support heart health. These include nitrates, which may contribute to lower blood pressure.
- Blood Sugar Regulation:
- Certain microgreens, such as fenugreek and cilantro, may have properties that help regulate blood sugar levels. This can be beneficial for individuals managing diabetes or at risk of developing diabetes.
- Weight Management:
- Microgreens are low in calories but high in fiber, which can contribute to a feeling of fullness and aid in weight management. Fiber also supports digestive health.
- Improved Digestion:
- The fiber content in microgreens, such as those from pea shoots and broccoli, can promote healthy digestion by supporting regular bowel movements and maintaining gut health.
- Eye Health:
- Microgreens like kale and spinach contain carotenoids, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for maintaining eye health and may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
- Microgreens like cilantro have been associated with potential detoxification benefits. They may help in removing heavy metals and other toxins from the body.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties:
- Some microgreens, such as arugula and watercress, contain compounds with anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation in the body.
- Brain Health:
- Microgreens containing folate, such as those from sunflower shoots, contribute to brain health and may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
It’s important to note that the nutritional content of microgreens can vary depending on the plant variety. Eating a diverse range of microgreens ensures that you benefit from a wide spectrum of nutrients. Adding these tiny greens to salads, sandwiches, smoothies, and various dishes is an excellent way to enhance the nutritional profile of your meals.