Common Types Of Microgreens

With the cooler weather of fall upon us, it is time to conder moving our gardening efforts indoors, which make growing microgreens an appealing option.

But what to grow as microgreens?

Considering most garden vegetables and herbs can be grown as Microgreens, the options are many. So, which microgreens to grow for your family depends on what your family eats regularly, and Your family’s taste preferences. 

Most Common Types oF Microgreens

The broad type of microgreens (listed below in family groups)  Should provide the basics of what kind of taste the microgreens will have, and the growing conditions the type of microgreens prefer:

Amaranthaceae family:

  • The Amaranthaceae family includes amaranth, beets, chard, quinoa, and spinach.

Amaryllidaceae family

  • Amaryllidaceae family includes chives, garlic, leeks, and onions.

Apiaceae family

  • The Apiaceae family includes carrot, celery, dill, cilantro, and fennel.

Asteraceae family

  • The Asteraceae family includes chicory, endive, lettuce, and radicchio.

Brassicaceae family

  • The Brassicaceae family includes arugula, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, and watercress.

Cucurbitaceae family

The Cucurbitaceae family includes cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, and squashes.

Lamiaceae family

  • The Lamiaceae family includes the most common herbs like mint, basil, rosemary, sage, and oregano.

Poaceae family

  • The Poaceae family includes grasses and cereals like barley, corn, rice, oats, and wheatgrass.
  • The Poaceae family also includes in legumes, including beans, chickpeas, and lentils.

Related References

When Refrigerated, How Cold Should Sprouts Be?

Temperature
Temperature

Temperature For Refrigerated Sprouts

  • Sprouts should be kept between 34 – 38 degrees Fahrenheit (1 – 3 degrees Celsius).

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How Many Seeds To Use For Sprouting By container Size?

A Teaspoon Of Small Mung Beans
A Teaspoon Of Small Mung Beans

One of the key points to know is how many seeds to use, by sprouting container size. Here are a few starting guidelines which can be adjusted according to your experience. I have found that these measurements generally work, but keep in mind that I use my spouts after they have had a couple of days to mature and fill the container. If you use your sprouts as soon as they emerge, you may want to up the quantity a little bit.

  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) of dry seeds for a pint (16 oz) container
  • 2 tsp of seeds for a quart (32 oz) container
  • 1 Tablespoon of seeds for a ½ gallon (64 oz) container

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How Long Should Sprouts Be Stored In the Refrigerator?

Alfalfa Sprouts Being Packaged For The Refrigerator
Alfalfa Sprouts Being Packaged For The Refrigerator

How long sprouts can last in the refrigerator depending on how you grow them the sprouts, cleaned the sprouts, and store the sprouts but sprouts usually should last at least two weeks in the fridge.

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How To Refrigerate Your Sprouts?

Alfalfa Sprouts In the Refrigerator
Alfalfa Sprouts In the Refrigerator

Refrigerating sprouts is relatively simple:

  • The sprouts should be dry to the touch. In most cases, you can let your sprouts sit for 8-12 hours after their last rinse, and drain before we refrigerate them.
  • Store your sprouts in, meal size, ventilated produce bag, glass or plastic container. If storing in ventilated containers be sure the vent is open. Also, space your ventilated produce bag, in a way that allows the air to circulate around them.
  • Place the packaged sprouts in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, if you do not plan to consume the sprouts within a day or two.

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How To Grow Alfalfa Sprouts For Food At Home

Alfalfa sprouts in a cup
Alfalfa sprouts in a cup

Alfalfa is a perennial plant known botanically as Medicago sativa or commonly referred to as lucern. It has been used as forage for years. However, there is more to alfalfa greens than just making hay. The high-protein alfalfa sprouts are good for humans to eat and contain a myriad of nutritional value.

Alfalfa green sprouts are low in calories, contain vitamins B and K, plant proteins and dietary fiber making them suitable for people with digestion problems. Studies have shown that alfalfa greens reduce bad cholesterol and may help manage blood sugar in people with diabetes.

Begin your journey to an alfalfa sprouts nutrition by growing your sprouts at home. Growing alfalfa sprouts is simple and gives you guaranteed supply of fresh, organic, healthy alfalfa greens. You can obtain the seeds from a seed store near you and grow them in a jar. Let’s have a look at how you can grow them indoors.

Fresh green alfalfa sprouts.
Fresh green alfalfa sprouts.

Growing Alfalfa Sprouts Using a Jar

  • Wash and rinse two tablespoons of alfalfa seeds.
  • Place seeds inside a jar, add water up to 2 inches above the seeds then cover the container and Leave it to soak overnight or for at least 12 hours.
  • Drain the water in the morning using gauze or cheesecloth, rinse the seeds with room temperature water and drain away the rinsing water. Place the jar away from direct sunlight.
  • Continue rinsing and draining the seeds twice a day every day until sprouts begin to form. This should happen after 3 to 4 days.
  • When clumping begins to form in the jar, stir the sprouts and remove the hulls that appear at the top of the container.
  • After one week, the sprouts are ready for harvesting, and you can place them in the sun for 20 minutes to activate their enzymes for better nutritional value.
  • You can store your alfalfa sprouts in the fridge in a plastic container for up to five days. Make sure to remove any yellow shoots to avoid it spreading.

It is important to sterilize the containers used in the sprouting process and maintain high levels of hygiene when handling the sprouts to avoid transfer of bacteria.

Bread roll with alfalfa and radish sprouts
Bread roll with alfalfa and radish sprouts

How to Use Alfalfa Sprouts at Home.

You can reap the benefits of alfalfa sprouts nutrition by incorporating the sprouts into your diet – whether cooked, steamed or raw. Below are different ways of how you can use the sprouts to boost your nutrient intake.

Juice and smoothies.

  • Mature alfalfa sprouts with two leaves are appropriate for juicing. You should wash and rinse the sprouts, wrap them in a vegetable leaf like lettuce and put them in a juicer to extract the juice. You can also add the sprouts to your smoothies.

Sandwiches

  • Toast the green alfalfa sprouts in the oven to get rid of bacteria and to make them crunchy. Add them to your salad and sandwiches for a healthy boost.

In soups and stews and stir-fries.

  • You can prepare your soup or stew until it is cooked then add alfalfa green sprouts towards the end. This will avoid overcooking and ensure that they maintain their crunchiness. Stir-fry your vegetables then add alfalfa sprouts towards the end of your cooking to prevent the alfalfa greens from wilting.

Grow Your Own Alfalfa Sprouts

You can grow your alfalfa sprouts and enjoy all the health benefits this “queen of forage” has to offer. Speak to your doctor before consuming alfalfa greens if you are on blood thinning medication, pregnant or have a compromised immune system.

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How to Grow Alfalfa Microgreens Indoors

growing microgreens
growing microgreens

Alfalfa greens are rich in a wide variety of nutrients including Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Folate, Magnesium, Copper, Phosphorous, Manganese, Zinc, Iron, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Carotene, and Potassium among others.

Alfalfa has been used for decades across different cultures in the world to support good health and for medicinal purposes. For instance, it was used in traditional Chinese medicine to improve appetite and to alleviate digestive system disorders.

How to Grow Alfalfa Microgreens Indoors

Alfalfa microgreens are easy to grow. They can be grown all year round with peak seasons being during fall and spring. They tolerate a wide range of climates. Since alfalfa roots develop quickly and do not grow deep, you can grow them at home in pots, containers or trays.

The microgreens are propagated from seeds. Within 3-5 days of planting, the microgreens will have sprouted. Water them and ensure they have adequate light and they will be ready for harvesting within 10-14 days. After planting, maintenance includes weeding and pest control which can be achieved organically or using pesticides or herbicides.

Growing Alfalfa Indoors

Alfalfa microgreens are some of the easiest plants that you can grow indoors. Since they grow fast, you can repeatedly plant them for a continuous supply throughout the year. All you need is a surface for planting such as a tray or a pot, and adequate light – you can place the tray/pot near a window or use a gardening bulb during the winter season.


GROWING ALFALFA IN TRAYS

Step-by-step Guide to Growing alfalfa in trays

  • Find a shallow tray (1.5 – 2.5 inches deep).
  • Fill the tray with potting mix or soil up to a level of one-half inches.
  • Spread the soil/potting mix evenly to form a flat surface.
  • Scatter the alfalfa seeds evenly over the soil surface.
  • Sprinkle a thin layer or the soil/potting mix over the seeds.
  • Using a spray bottle, sprinkle water over the sowed seeds.
  • Place the tray near a window or near a source of light.
  • You may cover the tray with a piece of cloth or a perforated plastic bag to create a humid and warm environment that promotes germination while allowing adequate flow of air into the soil and the seeds.
  • Daily mist or sprinkle water on the germinating seeds.
  • Once the seeds begin to germinate, remove the cloth or paper bag that was covering the tray as the shoots grow up to 4 inches high.
  • Within 10-14 days the microgreens will be ready for harvesting. If you allow them to continue to grow, they will develop into seedlings and later into alfalfa plants.
  • To harvest the alfalfa microgreens, hold a section on the one hand and snip the stems just above the soil with scissors.
  • You may store the fresh microgreens in a jar in the refrigerator for about a week. Otherwise, you may dry them and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Growing microgreens in a pot
Growing microgreens in a pot

Growing alfalfa pots

The procedure for growing alfalfa in pots is similar to growing alfalfa in trays; only instead of using a shallow tray, you’ll use a shallow pot or small containers. This has the advantages of allowing you to grow in small batches and to put the pots in smaller sunny spots around the house.

How to Use Alfalfa at Home

Alfalfa microgreens are a great option for adding green vegetables to your diet. You can use them in:

Sandwich with ricotta and alfalfa microgreens
Sandwich with ricotta and alfalfa microgreens
  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Vegetable stocks
  • Casseroles
  • Sandwiches • and salads.

They can also be juiced or blended with fruits. Growing alfalfa indoors ensures that you have a constant supply of the microgreens throughout the year.

Related References