What are microgreens and spirulina?

Microgreens are vegetable greens (not to be confused with sprouts or shoots) harvested just after the cotyledon leaves have developed.  They are used as a nutrition supplement, a visual enhancement, and a flavor and texture enhancement. Microgreens can add sweetness and spiciness to foods. Microgreens are smaller than “baby greens” because they are consumed very soon after sprouting, rather than after the plant has matured to produce multiple leaves.

Among upscale grocers, they are now considered a specialty genre of greens, good for garnishing salads, soups, sandwiches, and plates.

They can be used as a main vegetable as well in certain recipes for intense flavor and nutrition. Many recipes use them as a garnish while some utilize them as the main ingredient.

For example, garlic pea shoots, pea shoots or micro cabbage in cabbage soup, or coleslaw made with radish microgreen instead of cabbage.

As microgreens become more popular for their intense flavor and nutrition, innovative chefs and cooks create new ways to use them.

Edible young greens are produced from various kinds of vegetables, herbs, or other plants. They range in size from 1 to 3 inches, including the stem and leaves.

The stem is cut just above the soil line during harvesting. Microgreens have fully developed cotyledon leaves and usually, one pair of very small, partially developed true leaves.

Spirulina as an ecologically sound, nutrient-rich dietary supplement, spirulina is being investigated to address food security and malnutrition, and as dietary support in long-term space flight or Mars missions.

Its advantage for food security is that it needs less land and water than livestock to produce protein and energy.

Dried spirulina contains 5% water, 24% carbohydrates, 8% fat, and about 60% (51–71%) protein.

Provided in its typical supplement form as a dried powder, a 100-g amount of spirulina supplies 290 kilocalories (1,200 kJ) and is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of numerous essential nutrients, particularly protein, B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, providing 207%, 306%, and 85% DV, respectively), and dietary minerals, such as iron (219% DV) and manganese (90% DV).

The lipid content of spirulina is 8% by weight providing the fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, linoleic acid, stearidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and arachidonic acid.  In contrast to those 2003 estimates (of DHA and EPA each at 2 to 3% of total fatty acids), 2015 research indicated that spirulina products “contained no detectable omega-3 fatty acids” (less than 0.1%, including DHA and EPA).An in vitro study reported that different strains of microalgae produced DHA and EPA in substantial amounts.

Located in Anchorage Alaska

For The Love Of Greens is a micro farm producing nutrient rich Microgreens and Spirulina as well as gourmet mushroom available locally and by mail order via the CSA program.