We add toppings on our frozen yogurt or ice cream, pizza, salads, tacos, potatoes and more. Unfortunately, not many of those toppings are healthy. But what about adding toppings to your nutritious farm to table soups – something to make them even more nutritious?? What about adding a pinch of broccoli microgreens to your butternut squash soup? It sounds delicious and nutritious!
What are Living Microgreens?
Microgreens are young vegetable greens that are approximately 1–3 inches tall. They have an aromatic flavor, concentrated nutrition and come in a variety of colors and textures. Microgreens are considered baby plants, falling somewhere between a sprout and baby green.
Microgreens shouldn’t be confused with sprouts, which do not have leaves. Sprouts have a much shorter growing cycle of 2–7 days. Microgreens are usually harvested once the plant’s first true leaves have emerged between 7–21 days after germination.
Microgreens are more similar to baby greens in that only their stems and leaves are considered edible. However, unlike baby greens, they are much smaller in size and can be sold before being harvested. This means that the plants can be bought whole and cut at home, keeping them alive until they are consumed. Plants that are purchased whole and cut at home are called living microgeens. Living Microgreens are alive and packed with nutrition right up until the time you eat them.
Why are Microgreens Packed with Nutrition?
The nutrient content of microgreens is concentrated, which means that they often contain higher vitamin, mineral and antioxidant levels vs. mature greens. Researchers found microgreens like red cabbage, cilantro, and radish contain up to 40 times higher levels of vital nutrients vs. mature plants.
One example to highlight is Sulforaphane, the natural compound produced from broccoli microgreens and other cruciferous vegetables. Sulforaphane has been the subject of much research in recent years, demonstrating that all microgreens, and particularly sulforaphane-rich broccoli microgreens, can have significant health benefits.
Research has demonstrated that Sulforaphane can protect from Alzheimer’s disease, prevent Parkinson’s disease, improve natural detoxification, regulate glucose production, help with weight maintenance, treat depression through its anti-inflammatory properties, improve heart health, and it has been a proven cancer risk reduction and treatment.
The Flavor Intensity Matches the Nutrition
The flavor of microgreens is more intense, so a little goes a long way to enhance any meal. On March 3 during lunchtime, HeartBeet Farms served cups and bowls of our butternut squash and kale lentil soups at the Stony Brook Hospital Market Cafe. Our soups are packed with nutrition and flavor. We invited Long Island Microgreens to join us so we could offer customers a microgreen topping for their farm to table soups.
We gave customers a choice of soups and then we gave them a choice of 2 microgreens: leeks or broccoli. Long Island Microgreens cut the microgreens fresh and add the topping right onto the soup!
We paired the broccoli with the butternut squash soup and the leeks with the kale lentil soup. However, many customers asked for a combination of both microgreens – they wanted to maximize the taste and nutrition they were getting in their lunch meal!
The afternoon at Stony Brook Hospital was a huge success. Customers were looking for us the next day! The Cafe asked us to come back very soon!
Instead of adding toppings to your salads, pizzas and ice cream, consider enhancing both the taste and nutrition by adding a microgreen topping to your soup, salads, smoothies and just about any meal!