By: ELIZA BARCLAY | The Salt – We’ve come to accept the baby-fication of our vegetables – baby spinach, baby lettuce, and baby squash prized for their tenderness and cute size have all staked out territory in the produce section of many a grocery store.
Now, growers (and a few inventive chefs) have decided we need vegetables that are even more juvenile than babies — seedlings so small, and so young, they’re called microgreens. The advantages of these tiny leaves less than 14 days old are many, their proponents say. They make vibrantly hued garnishes to salads, sandwiches and soups. And whether they’re spinach, pea, beet or purple mustard, microgreens are rumored to pack even more nutrients that their adult versions.
Now it seems there’s some scientific muster to back that claim. Gene Lester, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and his colleagues at University of Maryland, College Park, have conducted the first scientific analysis of nutrients in microgreens. The results, Lester tells The Salt, “totally knocked me over.”