The Triton

Crew Life

Try macro benefits to micro version of young vegetables


Tiny microgreens are a huge trend. In fact, almost half (48 percent) of the nearly 1,300 American Culinary Federation chefs questioned by the National Restaurant Association for its annual “What’s Hot in 2015” survey named micro-vegetables/micro-greens “hot” and 14 percent more called these vibrantly colored, crisp-textured, intensely flavored veggies a “perennial favorite”.

Microgreens are much more than a palate pleaser and eye candy to a plate. They also contain mucho nutrients.

Microgreens are the edible seedlings grown from a variety of vegetables and herbs. These include beet greens, radish greens, kale, chard, bok choy and arugula as well as parsley, chervil, cilantro, chives and basil. They are harvested at the tender age of 10 days to two weeks or right after the first leaves sprout.

These greens are usually 1 to 3 inches long when harvested and they come in a crayon box of colors. A key point on the nutritional front is that since microgreens are harvested so young, they still contain all the nutrients needed to grow an adult plant. Plus, at this stage, they offer a flavor akin to the parent vegetable or herb only in a more concentrated form.

Microgreens are smaller than baby greens and they are harvested later than sprouts. Different from sprouts, too, microgreens are grown in nutrient-rich soil while sprouts grow using only water.

These are three photos of microgreens from Koppert Cress USA, which exhibited at the New York Produce Show in December. The person pictured is Koppert Cress USA’s Natalia Gilligan. PHOTO/DEAN BARNES

These are three photos of microgreens from Koppert Cress USA, which exhibited at the New York Produce Show in December. The person pictured is Koppert Cress USA’s Natalia Gilligan. PHOTO/DEAN BARNES

There have been many claims across the Internet that call microgreens a powerhouse of nutrients. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture put this premise to the test back in 2012 and came up with the same conclusion. Specifically, these food scientists tested the concentration of four nutrients: ascorbic acid (vitamin C), carotenoids (vitamin A), phylloquinone (vitamin K) and tocopherols (vitamin E) in 25 commercially available varieties of microgreens. These nutrients are especially important in promoting the health of eyes and skin as well as serving as a cancer preventative.

In general, results showed that the microgreens contained from five to 40 times higher levels of vitamins and carotenoids than their grown-up plant counterparts.

The USDA testing also revealed that different microgreens provided widely varying amounts of vitamins and carotenoids. Specifically, red cabbage, cilantro, garnet amaranth and green daikon radish rated the highest in concentrations of vitamin C, A, K and E as well as other phytonutrient carotenoids.

Individually, red cabbage microgreens had the richest concentrations of vitamin C, green daikon radish microgreens provided the most vitamin E, and cilantro microgreens were highest in lutein and beta-carotene. This shows that eating a variety of microgreens is best.

Microgreens were once only available to chefs. Today, they’re for sale at farmer’s markets and upscale supermarkets. When choosing microgreens for their nutrition, look for the ones that are the deepest in color. Research has shown that storing delicate microgreens in a dark part of the refrigerator in a damp paper towel tucked into a resealable plastic bag or covered container assures the best shelf life. Wash just before eating rather than before storing to maintain the best quality for up to five days.

The best ways to use microgreens is as a color and flavor burst to a dish. Like herbs and spices, the pungent flavor of microgreens means a small amount can add a huge burst of flavor to a dish.

The flavor of these greens are akin to the parent plant, only stronger. For example, radish microgreens are really peppery in taste. This is why some chefs will use a mixture of many varieties of microgreens in a salad in order to get the perfectly balanced taste.

Chefs also use microgreens as garnishes on soups, sandwiches and salads – ranging from green salads and classic tomato-and-mozzarella salads to the more traditional egg, macaroni and potato salads. They taste great, too, sprinkled on a warm pizza straight out of the oven, as a topping for risotto, in savory omelets, and as an ingredient and decoration atop smoothies.

Carol Bareuther is a registered dietitian and a regular contributor to The Triton. Comments on this column are welcome at


Related Articles

Focusing on job, giving service got this stew through darkest hours

Focusing on job, giving service got this stew through darkest hours

They say strength lies in adversity. I have certainly had my share of that.  If I hadn't been able to delve deeper into service during some major life events, I don't think I could have …

NOAA hosts nautical cartography open-house

NOAA hosts nautical cartography open-house

NOAA's Office of Coast Survey will hold its first one-day open house in conjunction with the International Cartographic Conference (held this year in Washington, DC, at Marriott Wardman Park) on July …

Crew Mess: Kalua Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Crew Mess: Kalua Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Early in my maritime career, I served as an engineer in the U.S. Coast Guard. One of my duty stations was aboard a 378-foot cutter based in Honolulu. We would spend three months patrolling the …

Jeppesen launches local charts

Colorado-based Jeppesen introduced new C-MAP MAX-N Local charts to North American boaters at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. MAX-N Local cartography works with Lowrance Elite 7 and HDS …

Exumas yacht club to renovate

Staniel Cay Yacht Club in the Bahamas will close most of their facilities for renovations in October, but the marina will remain open for dockage, fuel, ice and bait. Docks will be refurbished and …

Peterson joins KKY

Bob Peterson has joined Florida-based builder Kadey-Krogen Yachts as a sales executive in its corporate office in Stuart. His wife, Jeni, has also joined the company."What can you say about a …


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer the question below to leave a comment. * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.