Microgreens (micro greens) are a tiny form of edible greens produced from the seeds of vegetables, herbs or other plants. They range in size from one to two inches long, including the stem and leaves. Microgreens can have surprisingly intense flavors considering their small size, though not as strong as mature greens and herbs.
Microgreens are used as a garnish and flavor accent primarily in fine dining restaurants. These restaurants place a strong emphasis on both the creative presentation and flavor of their dishes. Microgreens’ delicate, fresh appearance adds beauty and dimension combined with a range of distinct flavor elements.
Dubbed one of 2008’s culinary buzzwords by National Public Radio, microgreens are a popular food trend. Used by chefs to stimulate and enhance the dining experience, microgreens infuse taste and innovation to their culinary creations.
The National Restaurant Association released its list of top food and beverage trends for 2009. The list, comprised of survey results from over 1600 chefs, shows microgreens at number 5 in the produce category.
Microgreens have been produced in the United States since about the mid 1990’s beginning in Southern California. Initially, there were very few varieties offered. The basic types; Arugula, Basil, Beets, Kale, Cilantro and a mixture called Rainbow Mix. They are now being grown in most areas of the country with an increasing number of varieties being produced.
A form of microgreens sold in a specialized growing medium; cellulose (paper) pulp has been produced in Europe since about 2002.