The wonder world of micro greenw is here in Goa now….check out what is in the come lately In the Pink collection of micro greens available at Magson’s Superstore at Caculo Mall, for a beginning they have radish, sunflower, basil, fenugreek, cilantro, flax, celery, horse gram…some of them in combo packs. Micro greens are 40 times more nutritious than their parental plants and absolutely to live for in your soups, salads, sandwiches and whatever you wish!
By Tara Narayan
EVER herd of microgreens? Well they’re the next best thing to sprouts and the rest of the super foods on the list of those who chase fighting fit health 24×7 these days! These days I don’t blame them. Life has become tough and tricky and to stay sane and cool is real achievement. But this is to say these days I’m terribly enamored by these first sprouting baby plants mysterious on the palate and crisp, crunchy, flavorful…100% natural and organic of course.
Don’t put anything which is not organic inn your mouth and yes, look who’s talking. Okay, I’ll modify that, try, try and try…(sigh)…I know all this is easy to dream about than actually practice it as I know in my own perilous lifestyle which is sometimes good but most times lost in moods of to hell with it. We know things in theory which we chase constantly and which we can share with readers here!
So micro greens. I was thrilled to see the trademarked “in the pink” micro greens while at Magson’s at the Caculo Mall in Panaji, recently. Of course I took an interest in them. Here in cute light-hearted packing were the baby plants of sunflowers, radish, basil, fenugreek, cilantro, flax, celery, horse gram and more…different batches daily. With a leaflet there informing me “micro greens improve immune system and metabolic health.”
Needless to say these micro greens are utterly desirable to have if you are doing up salad, sandwich or any filling to stuff into a roti…they make for fabulous fillings and garnishing. The story is micro greens are up to five to 40 times more nutritious than their fully grown up parents….as in better to eat radish sun flower micro greens than sunflowers, radish micro greens than radish, sweet lemon basil micro greens than the basil leaves themselves. Okay, of course not, don’t take that seriously although there a grain of truth in the fact that many of our micro greens or baby sprouts of plants do offer more nutrient values quite simply because we eat them as they come, more or less au naturale. They offer up loads of folic acid, antioxidants, copper, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc…vitamins, carotenoids, lutein (the stuff good for the eyes).
Yes, micro greens are most rewarding eaten raw. Harvesting them is very easy actually if you want to go for it, you don’t need too much, just practical containers, lots of coconut coir and maybe some organic soil…and the seeds. Just pack them in your basic soil and water, get micro greens in a week’s time. Fresh and green and gloriously colored here and athere, use a sharp knife or scissors to cut off the top two or three inches for eating in various ways. You’ll be surprised how different they taste from exquisite mildness to sharp flavors.
I hear the healthiest micro greens to eat are those of red cabbage, cilantro (green coriander) and radish but not all are easy to grow, if you’re careless or sussegad mold or fungus may set in and when you’re chewing on fungus I hope you realize it! But the easiest to grow are radish, broccoli, sunflower, basil, fenugreek, arugula, celery…it’s a strict no no for some veggies like eggplant, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes – remember they’re from the nightshade family of plants and poisonous!
But don’t let me put you off. Everybody is doing some kind of urban-centered farming or another these days and if you can’t grow anything for whatever reason real or unreal – you may start by growing your own micro greens. They sound very easy to do as long as you follow some rules. Micro greens are considered as functional food or super food and in the market they can be very expensive to buy. Yes, micro greens are rated as more nutritious than sprouts (although don’t abandon sprouts and especially not our very own moong sprouts which I find make for a great chutney base when I can’t do freshly grated coconut)!
Also remember not to let your micro greens grow and grow and grow, in a week or seven to 10 days’ time they’re ready for harvesting, the moment they’re grown to approximately one to three inches or so. Overgrown them and flavors you want will be lost. In most five-star hotels I find a chef or two will use sweet pea or alfalfa micro greens to garnish a mashed potato or au gratin dish, and very often I find myself asking for more of the fresh crunchy micro greens in a little bowl to relish them…but you may not overeat on micro greens, okay. You’ll end up with a gaseous tummy if you do so but there’s only so much micro greens one can eat. With micro greens small portions do go a long way to reach happiness.
I haven’t caught up with these “In the pink organic food culture’ folk who’re marketing micro greens but when you’re next at Magson’s look out for them, it’s Rs99 a pack or if I remember right. I thought I’d bought a combo pack of radish and sunflower the last time I was there but at home found it missing in my shopping bag! I checked my bill and found to my irritation that I was so caught up in clicking a picture with my smart phone that I’d forgotten to put it along with my other shopping for billing! Such is life.
What I really want to taste is arugula and celery micro greens, one of these days may be. Incidentally, micro greens marry well with cheese including cottage cheese or paneer. How about fixing a paneer and radish micro greens oatmeal bread sandwich?!
This is to say go for micro greens these haunted beware-of-Covid19 days which so many of us are living in quite stressfully, if I may say so. But that must be because I’m cooking more at home than buying from out! If you google Jag Singh look out for his video on growing micro greens at home, he’s good teacher full of tips vis-à-vis which baby plants or micro greens are easy to grow and which trickier.
AS my Dona Paula urban farmer friend Neeno and Peter Singh will say, growing your own food is the healthiest lifestyle to live and so ideal for senior citizens looking for some time pass activity which is also rewarding. This dynamic couple have become the toast of the growing urban farming community in capital city Panaji, for they’ve made a fine art of growing their own vegetables along with rearing and harvesting their own fish tanks.
Peter says he uses a purely nutritious water-based farming technology called aquaponics but now he’s designed an elaborate system whereby the network of feeder pipes he’s set up also draw nutrition from organic potted soil plants…he’s also running online classes to teach anyone interested in doing urban farming his way! He says they haven’t stepped out of their house in Dona Paula since the Covid lockdowns started and they don’t care either for both of them are so busy taking care of their urban farm.
I’m full of admiration for Neeno and Peter. Each is articulate in their own way and super friendly. They’re really showing us the way how to live fruitfully, with so much equanimity through our currently abnormal Covid-19 times. Although I feel nobody knows what is normal and abnormal anymore! Do you? Try growing micro greens or aquaphonic farming to stay alive and kicking!