Microgreens and sprouts are young and tender shoots of various plants that you can grow and eat to add more freshness, flavor, and nutrition to your meals. You can use them as garnishes, salads, or ingredients in various dishes. Now the question is Which is Better Microgreens vs Sprouts? And how do baby greens and sprouts differ from each other?
In this blog post, we will explore their appearance, growth, harvesting, nutrition, taste, texture, flavor, and versatility.
We will also give you some tips on how to grow, store, and prepare them safely, as well as some delicious recipes that feature them.
Microgreens vs Sprouts: Nutritional Benefits
Both microgreens and sprouts are rich in nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. These nutrients can help boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and prevent chronic diseases.
However, the nutritional value of microgreens and sprouts may vary depending on the type of plant, the growing method, and the harvesting time.
- According to a study by the University of Maryland, microgreens have higher concentrations of nutrients than their mature counterparts. For example, red cabbage microgreens have six times more vitamin C and 69 times more vitamin K than mature red cabbage. Similarly, cilantro microgreens have three times more beta-carotene than mature cilantro.
- Sprouts, on the other hand, have higher levels of enzymes and chlorophyll than microgreens. These substances can help with digestion, detoxification, and oxygenation of the blood. Sprouts also have lower levels of anti-nutrients, such as phytic acid and lectins, than seeds. These anti-nutrients can interfere with the absorption of minerals and cause digestive issues.
Therefore, both microgreens and sprouts can contribute to a healthy and balanced diet, as long as they are consumed in moderation and with variety.
Taste Test: Which is Better Microgreens vs Sprouts?
To compare the taste, texture, flavor, and versatility of microgreens and sprouts, we decided to conduct a simple taste test at home. We used the following methods and tools to grow our own microgreens and sprouts:
To grow microgreens, we followed these steps: First, we filled a shallow tray with organic potting mix and sprinkled the seeds evenly over the soil. Then, we watered them lightly and covered the tray with another tray to trap moisture and darkness.
Next, we placed the tray in a bright, indirect location and watered it daily. Finally, we harvested the microgreens when they were 2-3 inches tall, by cutting them with scissors just above the soil line.
To grow sprouts, we followed these steps: First, we rinsed and drained the seeds and soaked them in water overnight. Then, we used a wide-mouth glass jar covered with cheesecloth or a sprouting lid and rinsed and drained the seeds twice a day.
Next, we kept the jar in a dark and cool place. Finally, we harvested the sprouts when they were 2-3 inches tall and had small leaves, by rinsing them well and removing any hulls.
- Taste: how pleasant or unpleasant the flavor was
- Texture: how crunchy or soft the mouthfeel was
- Flavor: how strong or mild the aroma and aftertaste were
- Versatility: How well the microgreen or sprout could be used in different dishes and recipes.
Results of Our Taste Test and Comments:
Here are the results of our taste test, along with some personal comments:
|Alfalfa||Taste: 3/5, mild and grassy
Texture: 4/5, tender and crisp
Flavor: 2/5, faint and bland
Versatility: 4/5, good for salads and sandwiches
Comment: easy to grow, but not very exciting
|Taste: 4/5, sweet and nutty
Texture: 5/5, crunchy and juicy
Flavor: 3/5, fresh and pleasant
Versatility: 5/5, good for salads, sandwiches, and wraps
Comment: easy to grow and eat, very refreshing
|Broccoli||Taste: 4/5, slightly bitter and peppery
Texture: 5/5, crunchy and firm
Flavor: 4/5, strong and spicy
Versatility: 4/5, good for salads, stir-fries, and soups
Comment: fast to grow, very flavorful
|Taste: 3/5, slightly bitter and earthy
Texture: 4/5, crunchy and chewy
Flavor: 3/5, mild and savory
Versatility: 3/5, good for salads and stir-fries
Comment: fast to grow, but not very appealing
|Radish||Taste: 5/5, spicy and tangy
Texture: 5/5, crunchy and juicy
Flavor: 5/5, strong and pungent
Versatility: 5/5, good for salads, sandwiches, and dips
Comment: easy to grow, very colorful and tasty
|Taste: 4/5, spicy and tangy
Texture: 4/5, crunchy and juicy
Flavor: 4/5, strong and pungent
Versatility: 4/5, good for salads, sandwiches, and dips
Comment: easy to grow, but a bit too spicy for some
|Sunflower||Taste: 4/5, nutty and sweet
Texture: 4/5, crunchy and meaty
Flavor: 3/5, mild and buttery
Versatility: 3/5, good for salads and snacks
Comment: a bit tricky to grow, but very satisfying
|Taste: 5/5, nutty and sweet
Texture: 5/5, crunchy and meaty
Flavor: 4/5, rich and buttery
Versatility: 4/5, good for salads, snacks, and smoothies
Comment: easy to grow, very filling, and delicious
As you can see, microgreens and sprouts are not the same. They look, feel, taste, and work differently in food. In general, microgreens tend to have more intense and complex flavors than sprouts, while sprouts tend to have more crunch and juiciness than microgreens.
Baby greens and sprouts you can use in a variety of dishes and recipes, depending on your creativity.
Factors that Affect Quality and Safety
While microgreens and sprouts are nutritious and delicious, they also require some care and attention to ensure their quality and safety.
Baby greens and sprouts are susceptible to contamination by bacteria, fungi, or pests, which can cause spoilage or food-borne illnesses.
Therefore, it is important to follow some basic guidelines when growing, storing, and preparing microgreens and sprouts.
Some of the factors that may affect the quality and safety of microgreens and sprouts are:
1. Growing conditions
- Make sure to use clean growing medium and sterile equipment, such as trays, jars, lids, and scissors.
- Use fresh and organic seeds, that are intended for sprouting or microgreen production.
- Avoid the use of microgreen seeds that are treated with chemicals or pesticides.
- Use filtered or distilled water to soak, rinse, and water the seeds.
- Keep the growing environment at a moderate temperature and humidity level.
- Avoid direct sunlight or excessive heat for growing sprouts.
- Provide adequate lights and ventilation for baby greens.
- Store the harvested microgreens and sprouts in airtight containers or plastic bags in the refrigerator.
- Use them within a few days for optimal freshness and quality. Do not wash them until you are ready to use them, as washing can introduce moisture and bacteria.
- Discard any microgreens or sprouts that show signs of mold, slime, or odor.
- Wash the microgreens and sprouts thoroughly under running water before eating or cooking.
- Use a salad spinner or paper towels to dry them. Cut off any roots or hulls that are attached to the sprouts.
- Raw sprouts can carry harmful bacteria, such as E. coli or salmonella. So if you have a weak immune system or are pregnant, cook sprouts.
- Use microgreens and sprouts as soon as possible after washing or cooking, as they may lose their nutrients and flavor over time.
By following these tips, you can enjoy microgreens and sprouts safely and deliciously.
How to Use Microgreens and Sprouts
Microgreens and sprouts are versatile and you can use them in various dishes and recipes. Here are some specific examples of how to use microgreens and sprouts in both savory and sweet dishes:
- Savory dishes:
- Add microgreens and sprouts to salads, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, or tacos for extra crunch and flavor. Try this microgreen and sprout salad with carrot-ginger dressing for a refreshing and nutritious meal.
- Use microgreens and sprouts as garnishes for soups, stews, curries, or casseroles. They can add a pop of color and freshness to any dish. Try this roasted honeynut squash with crispy chickpeas and microgreens for a cozy and hearty dish.
- Incorporate microgreens and sprouts into stir-fries, noodles, or rice dishes. They can add some moisture and texture to your baked goods. Try this carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and microgreens for a decadent and festive dessert.
Microgreens and sprouts are both amazing plants that can enhance your health, nutrition, and culinary experience. They have different features and preferences, but they also have some commonalities and complementarities. By growing and tasting microgreens and sprouts yourself, you can discover their unique qualities and benefits.
We hope you enjoyed this blog post and learned something new about microgreens vs sprouts.
If you did, please follow our blog, and leave a comment. We would love to hear from you and share more tips and recipes with you. Thank you for reading and happy growing!
I am Gaushoul Agam,
𝐂𝐨-𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 & 𝐂𝐄𝐎,
As an experienced SA Horticulture Officer in the Horticulture Wing of the Department of Agricultural Extension, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, I am dedicated to advancing agriculture and farming.
With a mission to address global food safety challenges amid a growing population, diminishing arable land, and the impacts of climate change on agriculture, I founded ToAgriculture. Through this platform, I empower readers with modern agricultural techniques, effective pest and disease control, and sustainable agricultural management, leading to a more secure and prosperous future in agriculture.
With over four years of expertise in field crops and seven years in horticulture crops, my knowledge spans fruit and vegetable farming techniques, adept pest-disease management, proficient irrigation strategies, and the art of grafting. Join me on this journey of discovery as I share insights and experiences to guide readers toward a sustainable future.