In the food industry and the Gourmet part of the culinary world, there had been a great emphasis on the looks of the dish. For a simple person like me who always had sworn by the thought of just putting the best of the available ingredients with the classic dressings and garnish like chopped coriander or a lime wedge, is all what a great dish calls for, the concept of micro food science and molecular gastronomy is changing the way all look at food.
These are some heavy concepts in my environment of simple cooking. Just a few months ago we were dining at a cafe where the grilled fish was served with little fenugreek stems and leaves as a garnish and the waiter proudly boasted of what he was serving and pointed at the little trays of some green little something in one corner of the restaurant, and he used this term “MICROGREENS”
Remember those days when mom would soak the Kaala Chanaa overnight and then hang them in a kitchen cloth for a day and these little creepy structures would come out of the cloth all over….I always was fascinated by this, and would wonder if it was magic, until we did
the experiment in school on growing beans to understand the growth of a sapling from seed. The same fascination is what comes back while observing my micro greens grow .
Initially when I started doing it just for curiosity, it was more of the pleasure watching them grow, but eventually with each harvest and a bit of more studying about them, it became a compulsive routine to at least have one of them growing next to my window…from fenugreek to amaranthus have tried growing all…
Microgreens are like little pearls on a heap of treasure which catches your attention, may have same or more value ( here nutritional). It takes the whole dish to a new level, and they are the at their purest best form, when grown at home. They have very peculiar taste to them, like the fully grown fenugreek leaves may have a bitter note to them, while the micro greens of fenugreek gives u the peppery note on chewing and thus make it more palatable.
All in all its a great journey seeing these microgreens grow..and would love you all to discover these little nuances it carries to have them grow near you, all by yourself.
In this article I wish to share some steps to have them grow easily in your little corner/ at your desk/ in your kitchen window…..
Things required o start Micro greens Patch
A medium to grow which holds moisture…I have read article where layers of tissues/ cotton is used, but I find coco peat is a fuss free, reusable medium, easy to find. This helps to retain the moisture while the seeds are germinating
without clogging the way of growth for the new shoot. Soak a block of cocopeat in five time the water in weight, And allow it to swell. Crumble once soaked and ready to use. If over soaked allow it to dry it a little till it resemble a wet crumble.
Choose a few available at home to start with. Like fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds are the first best available in any household. So grab some and get started and once you gain a hang of how it works, You can invest in some more variants. Seeds can be chosen depending on the
humidity and heat conditions of the area you live in, unlike commercial Micro green set up where these factors can be controlled. So where amaranths can be grown throughout the year, Fenugreek and spinach are little heat shy, and might wither in high heat. None the less hit and trials lead to a great learning.
Micro greens need a sprinkle of water regularly especially if placed in a place where it’s windy, And one can touch and feel the surface for the correct frequency of watering as per the environment. Once they shoot out the requirement is marginally reduced.
Most of the commercial set ups have artificial light set ups to provide light and correct temperatures to the micro greens. But I am of a belief a\that nature has given us ample of sun power and if we have a window in our home, where they can get half a day of good sun, it is great source of energy for the greens. If there is less sunlight available it leads to increase in height and
With sufficient sunlight, micros grow not so much tall as wide. Do not confuse indirect light with insufficient light. Indirect sunlight can suffice. That is how intense is sun light. But insufficient light spurs height, but does not add to the strength of the plant, and it does not gain that deep green colour, which marks the chlorophyll content.
These are like little infants, we need take cue from our own body. So if the sun is harsh to your skin, the greens will have same or worse affect of it.
They usually take 7-12 days to grow out with first set of leaves and sbout an inch tall. Then they can be nipped just above the surface carefully using a tiny scissors, washed and used over salads, dips, sandwich, eggs….just about anyway and everyway…but consume them raw.
Step By Step Guide
Take a disposable waste plastic container or a coconut shell, create a few drainage shells to ensure there is no damage due to water logging.( There are remote chances of the same as the water is always sprinkled over the greens)
Soak coco peat in water and make moist crumble of the same and layer it in half of the depth of the container.
Now sprinkle generously some seeds you desire to grow. Some seeds are required to be soaked before sowing, like fenugreek/coriander. But most of them can be directly sprinkled.
Now cover a very thin layer of coco peat over the seeds. Make sure you do not over add the coco peat as it may suffocate the seeds.
Sprinkle generously on the bed of coco peat, And sprinkle water twice a day to keep the bed moist. Do not overwater at any time.
Mark the date and name of the seed for your reference. Most of them would take 7-10 days. Some can take longer about 12 days to be ready to be harvested.
Fennel Micro GreensWith the factors and facts in hand I believe it can be an easy journey to start with, and as u travel along I shall be more than happy to share what I experience and eager to take up what you feel.