Microgreens: Power source from the window sill

Grow microgreens and sprouts for smoothies and juices

Green smoothies with microgreens in winter. It doesn't get fresher than this.

In the winter months, the choice of leafy greens is very limited, only a few wild herbs are available, sometimes I crave fresh, soft leafy greens and wish it was spring. My solution to satisfy my cravings - Microgreens. These are small green seedlings that you can grow from pretty much any seed whose plant or fruit is edible - including. Broccoli, arugula, radishes, beet or even chia and amaranth. Microgreens are packed with nutrients and can be grown on the windowsill at home easily. They thrive within a few days and add a special nuance to your green smoothie. Simply blend them with the other ingredients in a high-speed blender. Another option is to use microgreens to enhance the taste and appearance of salads, soups or stews.

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Microgreens growing guide: from seed to green plant:

  1. I start by soaking the seeds in a jar of water for a few hours. Some seeds (such as quinoa) can only tolerate a few hours or they will burst. For most, however, one night is a suitable duration. Soaking is like a kick start. It is not absolutely necessary, but it speeds up the germination process and reduces the risk of the plants drying out in the early stages.
  2. In a plastic tray (hardware store), I place small growing pots filled with organic growing soil. Our living room is warm but rarely ventilated, so there is always a risk that the small plants will mold. With this plastic tray variant, waterlogging can be easily controlled and excess water can be drained off.
  3. The soaked seeds are placed on top of the soil and sprinkled with some more soil. Water once, put plastic wrap over it and it will start to sprout. It's helpful to put up some signs so you don't end up mistaking arugula for broccoli.
  4. Use a spray bottle to water the plants regularly so they don't dry out. It is best to place them by the window, as they need light. Now, depending on the seed, it takes 1-10 days for them to start growing. Hemp, for example, germinated only after 10 days. Harvesting can be done as soon as at least two green leaves have emerged or when curiosity becomes too strong.
Microgreens: Seeds in the germination stage
Preparation: Soak seeds in water for a few hours.

Cultivation pots
Equipment: Growing soil and growing pots. Here the seeds are "planted".

Microgreens: Arugula sprouts
This is how fast it works: 4-day-old arugula - two leaves - now ready to harvest.

Microgreens: Amaranth plantlets
Red accents: Microgreens can even be grown from amaranth grains.

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The little ones need fresh air

Plants thrive best in their natural environment. I therefore try to place the plants in direct sunlight regularly, as long as the temperatures are above freezing. The formation of chlorophyll is enhanced by direct sunlight. In addition, the fresh air outside prevents mold. If you do not have this opportunity, you can always give the plants a breath of fresh air through a open window.
I was interested in the influence of sunlight on the formation of the plant pigment chlorophyll, so I made a simple test series in which I examined how wheatgrass thrives under different conditions.

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Small excursion wheatgrass:

Wheat is a wonderful microgreen full of vital substances and at the same time a quite resistant plant. For my experiment I have chosen three different variations of planting

  1. In the germinator: The germinator offers the best conditions - regular humidification, air movement and thus no mold growth. In the germinator, however, the plants receive little light.
  2. On the windowsill: There is a certain supply of light and regular water, but air circulation is lacking indoors.
  3. Outdoors: The germinated wheat was poured directly onto the ground and not given any further attention.
Grain grass
1. Wheatgrass in the germinator

Grain grass
2. Wheatgrass from the windowsill

Fresh outdoor wheatgrass
3. Fresh outdoor wheatgrass in January

There are two things that really surprised me:
First, how little green the plants turned in the germinator. The grass remained pale and even when I "seeded" it after a week, it did not turn nearly as green as it had in the other variations of planting.
Second, I was amazed at the growth of the wheat , which I sowed in January at freezing temperatures - the outdoor wheat had shown no change for weeks. After a few days of snow in Berlin, I even forgot about it. However, when the snow melted, a rich, vibrant green emerged. The wheat on picture 3 is about 4 weeks old. The plants in picture 2 only one week. Outdoors, growth started much later, but the stalks are much thicker and more robust than those of the plants grown indoors. The plants from the windowsill thrived wonderfuly and were mold-free during the first week. After ten days, however, the root zone was infested with mold. This is the biggest problem when growing wheatgrass indoors. The best result is achieved when wheatgrass is pre-grown indoors (2-3 days) and then placed outdoors. To make it grow more quickly, it can be brought inside at night.

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Areas of application of microgreens

Microgreens can be used in many ways, as they taste intense and are eye-catchers. With the small seedlings, many dishes can be refined in taste and appearance. Whether salads, soups or side dishes - the small green plants enrich every hearty meal. Obviously I'm going to try them out and see how they do in a green smoothie. I usually take 1-2 tablespoons of microgreens and add them to the rest of the greens. Since many microgreens are a bit spicier, I wouldn't use them as the only green ingredient. The seedlings of peas, sunflowers, or mild leaf lettuces like Indian lettuce or lamb's lettuce, on the other hand, are very mild and can be added to smoothies in any quantity. They are also good to use as toppings and encourage chewing while enjoying the smoothie.

Green smoothies with microgreens topping
Special nutrient power: microgreens in and on green smoothies.

Use your imagination and experiment with anything that produces edible green leaves. It feels good to bite into fresh crunchy greens and bring spring into your kitchen. Have fun with these nutrient-rich little creatures.

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Salad with lots of microgreens and sprouts

Svenja from GrueneSmoothies.com

Green smoothies have been my replacement for morning cerals since 2009. They are inspiring, delicious and speak for themselves. They fit into our lives with five kids and lots of joy in creative healthy cooking. I really love to prepare or create new smoothies. Inspired by the Green Smoothie, I combine two of my passions with my job: taking pictures and working with food.

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