It’s generally known that microgreens are a superfood. However, they are not only that, but they are also full of nutrients and look delicious on a plate. So the main question here is, can you cook microgreens?
Yes, you can cook microgreens. But you should only cook so much to retain the nutritional value the food community praises microgreens for having. It’s recommended to cook microgreens (if necessary) for a maximum of 15 minutes and at a constant temperature of 140-180°F.
Let it be clear – you don’t need to cook your microgreens. Microgreens are edible in their raw form. In fact, we hardly ever cook our microgreens.
But sometimes your recipe just calls for the microgreens to be added in fx. a hot soup, or your Thai dish. So, for more information on cooking microgreens, keep reading. The more you know, the more you understand how to use microgreens in your daily diet.
Can You Cook Microgreens?
Microgreens are a premium type of vegetable or herb, and sous chefs use them to add flavors and textures to their plates.
If you choose to grow your own microgreens, you can experiment with recipes on the internet that will help you find your footing on how you want to eat your microgreens. Nonetheless, you can take a page or two from sous chefs and how they prepare their microgreens.
It might not be as fancy, but you can learn a couple of things about how to prepare microgreens in the comfort and convenience of your home.
What Nutrients Are In Microgreens?
Microgreens are vegetables harvested between the sprout stage and the full maturity stage of the growing process. They contain concentrated nutrients, which means they have high quantities of nutrients.
The primary nutrients contained in microgreens include minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Here’s a breakdown of the different types:
Please note that some microgreens will have more vitamins and minerals than others (more on that below). For example, you may find that kales and spinach have higher quantities of Vitamin K than other microgreens. So this table is a more general take on the nutrient types found in microgreens.
The nutrients present in the microgreens serve a higher purpose; when eating them, you want your body to digest and utilize all those nutrients to the max. It’s one of the important reasons why many people eat microgreens raw or slightly cooked.
Recipes will often have microgreens used as a garnish because they are an addition to a meal, not a replacement for the entire meal. This article will mention different cooking ways that you can use to get the most out of microgreens.
In this article, you can read more about microgreens, their nutrition, and how to grow them.
How Does Heat Affect Microgreens?
Cooking is a broad term that covers the process of preparing food through the use of heat. It could be:
or any other method using heat.
You might not know it, but heat changes a lot about food. It can turn solids into liquids, the food color changes, and you sometimes get new and improved tastes that fit your palate.
So what happens when you expose microgreens to heat? What happens to the nutrients in the microgreens? Let’s find out.
As shared earlier, microgreens mainly consist of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. And not only that, but the majority of microgreens contain vitamins A, C, and K. You will also notice that microgreens contain large amounts of polyphenols which are responsible for the antioxidants present in microgreens.
A group of food biotechs held a study to show how the heat affected different nutrients in vegetables.
Here are some predetermined factors from the study mentioned above:
|Sample||Cooking method||Time taken before result analysis|
The study did have other cooking methods, but boiling is one such method that many people are more familiar with, which is why it was chosen as the main emphasis of this article.
The study showed that boiling the vegetables for five minutes destroyed the vitamin C in all the present samples. Not only that, but the nutrient retention went from 0 to 73.86%.
What is nutrient retention?
Nutrient retention is the biogeochemical process of transforming nutrients. It can be either temporary or permanent depending on the processes acting on the nutrients.
The study also showed vitamin C destruction from blanching, steaming, and microwaving. There was also an increase in nutrient retention. On the flip side of all these cooking methods, microwaving had minor nutrient retention. You can read more about microwave cooking and nutrition here.
|Sample||Cooking method||Cooked weight (mg/kg)(Vitamin C)||Nutrient Retention |
Next on the list of vitamins present in microgreens is vitamin K. Again, remember that microgreens will have high levels of vitamin K because they have concentrated nutrients. Another thing to note is that green and leafy vegetables contain the highest amount of vitamin K.
So what happens when you expose vitamin K to heat? When cooked, the nutrient retention of the vegetables went from 44.28 to 216.65%—in another turn of events, microwaving caused the highest loss of vitamin K in vegetables.
Last and certainly not least is vitamin A. Fortunately, vitamin A isn’t destroyed easily by heat. Instead, it is oxidized.
What does that even mean?
To oxidize is to combine with oxygen chemically. So what happens when vitamin A is oxidized? When you oxidize vitamin A, it undergoes rancidification, which is a whole other topic in food science and steers away from the main points of this article.
If you’re curious about the science behind vitamins, be sure to consult a food nutritionist as well as to conduct your own research.
Various Ways To Use Microgreens
Alright, now let’s have a closer look at how we can use microgreens when we cook.
As shared earlier, you can eat microgreens raw. They are perfectly edible as long as you grow them in a controlled environment. Here are some great ways to use microgreens in the comfort and convenience of your home.
- Mixing your favorite microgreens into your favorite salads
- Adding the microgreens as a layer into your sandwich
- You can make microgreen summer rolls (something similar to Chinese spring rolls).
- Using microgreens as a garnish to drinks
- Using microgreens as a form of seasoning in soups
- You can make snacks with microgreens, for example, smoky, cheesy crisps topped with microgreens.
- You can juice the microgreens and make your very own nutrient-filled smoothie. A wheatgrass smoothie is known to be quite popular in the microgreen circle.
- Another great way to do it is to add it to stir fry. They blend right in.
- If you want something different and possibly new, you can try sweet potato toast with microgreens in the middle.
- Maybe you like Korean food; you can try making kimchi soup with mung bean sprouts.
- Lastly, you can incorporate other meals with your microgreens. A beef stir fry with green peas can be pretty delicious with microgreens as the garnish.
These are just some of the few cooking ways that other people have figured out that help them make microgreens a lot more delicious. No organization or master chef has set these cooking methods in stone. They’re just incorporating what they feel to be the best way to cook microgreens.
You can come up with your own recipes, be creative and add microgreens to your daily meals, or even incorporate microgreens into other exotic dishes. There are no wrongs, you can use them as you want.
If you like Asian food, be sure to be on the lookout for recipes that can incorporate your favorite microgreens. Maybe even Thai egg fried rice or a tasty curry could be the answer you’ve been looking for, but it’s also a matter of palate.
It would be best if you tried to experiment, get your results, and enjoy your favorite microgreens whether they’re in season or not.
If you need more inspiration for how you can use your microgreens, then read this article with 35 tasty ways to use microgreens.
How Do You Saute Microgreens?
First things first, what is to saute? Saute is a cooking term where you cook food quickly over moderately high heat using a small amount of fat in a broad yet shallow pan.
Can you saute microgreens? Yes, you can saute microgreens in the same way you can saute spinach or cabbage. Did you know that spinach and cabbage are the most popular foods to saute?
Not only that, but sauteing is one of the healthiest methods to cook vegetables. Rewinding to sauteing microgreens; should be similar to sauteing spinach since they’re all vegetables.
All you need to do is heat the oil in the pan; you can add garlic or shallots (whichever you prefer) and saute that for one minute. After that, you can add the spinach, and using a pair of tongs, you can toss the microgreen for three to five minutes. Lastly, season it with salt and pepper.
Can You Put Microgreens In The Fridge?
Yes, you can put microgreens in the fridge as long as you store them properly. Ensure that you store them in a sealed container or a ziplock bag and they are dry. You can read our complete guide if you want to know more about how to store your microgreens.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can eat microgreens raw. Most of the time, even in restaurants, chefs will serve them raw because of the taste and flavor they add to food. And yes, it’s safe to eat microgreens raw as long as they have been grown and handled correctly. They need to be grown in a proper environment to steer clear of any food-borne diseases.