Microgreen Primer

What are microgreens? Are they the same as sprouts?

Microgreens, once found primarily on fancy restaurant plates, have recently become more widely available in specialty stores and supermarkets. They are the first early, tiny shoots of herbs, lettuces, or other greens. Some of the most common options are arugula, beet greens, cilantro, basil, mustard greens, or salad mix varieties.

These young greens are not the same as sprouts. Most sprouts, such as alfalfa, are grown hydroponically in water and take just a couple of days to grow. Microgreens are grown in soil, often in greenhouses. They can be harvested between seven and 14 days old, when they’re 1 1/2 to 2 inches tall and their leaves have spread open. Most varieties have to be cut by hand with scissors. Because of the labor involved, they often come with a hefty price tag, typically ranging between $2 and $4 per ounce. We tasted a handful of different microgreen varieties and found that they have similar flavors to the plants they would have eventually grown into, but the flavors are much more intense.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Microgreens are the delicate, flavorful baby leaves of herbs, lettuces, or salad greens.

This is a members' feature.