Garden View: Mom was right — eat your greens

BY BARBARA STORZ

One of the best ways to reap the benefits of greens is to eat microgreens, which is a term used to describe young, tender plants germinated in soil.

In recent years, research by the United States Department of Agriculture and several universities shows that the percentage of nutrients in young plants is considerably higher than that of mature plants.

Several studies have compared 25 to 30 different microgreens against each other for their levels of minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals (the cancer protecting chemicals) and dietary fiber.

The brassica family, or cabbage family, consistently comes out on top in the percentage of valuable nutrients. This is not surprising when we think about the adults in this family — Bok choy, broccoli, collards, kale, mustard greens, Brussel sprouts, cabbage (all types), kohlrabi, rutabaga, turnips and radish.

In studies it was shown that four groups of vitamins and phytochemicals, including vitamin C, E, and beta carotene, had four to six times more nutrients than mature leaves of the same plant! This held true for 25 different vegetables.

And, just as one variety of adult vegetables provide more of a certain vitamin than another, it holds true with microgreens. It seems that red cabbage was the highest in vitamin C, daikion radish has higher amounts of Vitamin E and savoy cabbage has the highest amount of calcium. Eating a variety of microgreens is a great way to add vitamins and minerals to your diet.

Microgreens are delicate and should not be cooked. They make a great garnish on a soup, ingredient in a salad, or an addition in a veggie wrap or a sandwich.

And, for those who like juicing, this is a concentrated way to get some of your daily dose of vegetables. Microgreens are an easy way to pack a punch of nutrition to a meal and a great way to “eat your greens.”

Microgreens are available from 9 a.m. to noon today at the Growing Growers Farmers Market in Firemen’s Park on the corner of 1st Street and Business 83.

A large selection of locally grown vegetables and herbs are available, along with jams, jellies, fresh baked bread and organic breads and treats, wild honey and eggs.

Barbara Storz is a local horticulturist. You can listen to her garden show at 7 a.m. Saturdays on 710 KURV Radio, or e-mail her at bstorz@rcommunications.com.