I’m in such a salad rut. I eat a salad every day, either for lunch or dinner, or sometimes both. Eating lots of vegetables makes me feel good, and oh so virtuous. Although I enjoy eating salads; buying and washing the ingredients and doing the chopping and slicing does get a little tiresome.
So I’ve been happy to discover a new ingredient that is super nutritious and offers exciting textures and flavors. I’m talking about microgreens, and I learned of them through Arizona Microgreens who are partners in and supporters of the Brooks Community School in South Phoenix.
Co-owner David Redwood visited with me about the benefits of his product. He pointed out that microgreens are grown in soil or coconut coir and take nutrients from those mediums. The little plants are allowed to go through photosynthesis and pick up phytonutrients from that process. Studies have shown that microgreens have more nutrients per bite than adult plants.
Other, dynamic aspects of this food make it a darling of chefs. Microgreens are beautiful! They contribute crunchy succulence and a variety of textures to a salad or a sandwich. In culinary creations they provide a visual presence, body and bursts of unique flavor.
Microgreens are different than sprouts. Sprouts have suffered some bad press due to bacteria outbreaks. Cultivated in water with no natural sunlight, sprouts miss out on some of the nutrient qualities of microgreens.
Arizona Microgreens features more than a dozen different plant varieties. Some customer favorites are sunflower, arugula, cilantro, broccoli, curled cress, radish, pea shoot and wheat grass. The company sells to restaurants and individuals at farmers markets. David says people buy a four ounce baggie of sprouts one week and come back the next raving about how their kids loved them, how they found them less perishable than other greens and how they enjoyed the flavors.
One of the benefits of my job at the greenhouse is taste testing. Every so often I get called on to sample a new crop. Radish microgreens are peppery and crunchy, sunflower microgreens fill your mouth with succulent, mild flavor and oriental mustard? Wow! It tastes like smooth, high-quality wasabi.
Arizona Microgreens are grown organically in flats of premium soil and allowed to get just a couple of inches tall before they are snipped off in harvest. They are tender and delectable and require no slicing, dicing or chopping. They will be coming soon to these farmers markets: Carefree Sundial, North Central Phoenix, Old Town Scottsdale and Ahwatukee’s Sunday Market. Check Arizona Microgreens website for dates and times.