It took me a long time to try micro greens, mostly because of my reverse-snob tendencies: they just sounded too trendy and precious. But when my local Trader Joe's started to stock tubs of organic micro greens, I decided to give them a try. Now I'm a convert. Read on for why I think these delicious, crunchy flavor-filled flecks of greenery should not be ignored!
First, what are micro greens? I got the following information from a company called Fresh Origins, a producer of micro greens and other similar products. Micro greens are the small shoots of edible plants. It's important to differentiate between micro greens and sprouts, which are grown in water away from light and consist of the seed, root, stem and undeveloped leaves. Micro greens are planted in soil, or soil substitute, and are harvested by snipping the stem just above the soil surface. They consist of a central stem having two fully developed cotyledon leaves, and often one pair of true leaves. They're usually between 1"-2" long.
Micro greens have a lot of flavor, a nice crunchy texture and are easy to work with. I love piling them on sandwiches and burgers because they don't tend slip off like lettuce and, because they often come in a mix, there's a number of delicious flavor bursts in each bite. Besides sandwiches and burgers, I pile them on pizza after it has come out of the oven and cut, toss them in salads (of course) and use them as garnish. They're especially pretty on cheese platters or scattered over sliced tomatoes. I even garnish vegetable-based soups with them, like butternut squash or sweet potato.
Each micro greens mix is different and changes with the season. My Trader Joe's box lists the following greens/vegetables as potentially being in the tub: mizuna, tatsoi, red mustard, purple kohlrabi, red cabbage, kale, broccoli, collards, celery, arugula, beet tops, amaranth.
(Image: Dana Velden)