Microgreens Vs Sprouts – A comprehensive Comparison

Are you looking for the differences between microgreens and sprouts?

Well, you’re not alone and if you don’t find the right resource, you may not find the real distinction that separates the two.

Some might even think that sprouts and microgreens are the same. But they are way off when it comes to the truth.

Simply put, both microgreens and sprouts are young versions of plants but are very different from each other. 

People who are passionate about their health have given enough attention to both sprouts and microgreens as they pack a lot more nutrients when compared to their fully matured plant.

Here’s everything you need to know about Microgreens vs Sprouts.

Microgreens Vs Sprouts: What Are They?

Microgreens are greens that are cultivated in a growing medium and are harvested two or three weeks later depending on the type of microgreen. They are harvested once they develop their first set of true leaves.

Sprouts are germinated seeds that are grown in a hydroponic system. Sprouts are harvested after two to three days which is a lot shorter when compared to microgreens.

When it comes to consumption, you can eat everything on a microgreen except the roots. The stems and the leaves come with exceptional nutritional value even when compared with its adult plant.

In the case of sprouts, there are no exceptions. You can eat the entire thing without any issues. Sprouts have been a part of a healthy raw diet for a long time now, only to be overshadowed by microgreens in recent times.

Containers

Microgreens are usually grown in shallow containers.

You can use any kind of shallow trays or dishes. A casserole dish is another excellent container for growing microgreens.

If you’re serious about your microgreens, you should invest in some specially designed containers that are best suited for the microgreens you want to cultivate.

Sprouts can be grown in any type of glass jar containers. 

You can also use any special type of container that enables you to soak and water the seeds once or twice a day.

Mason jars are quite famous when it comes to growing sprouts. You can utilize different types of screens that make mason jars perfect for germinating sprouts.

Medium Of Growth

Medium of growth

Microgreens can grow on several mediums. You can use both soil or a soilless medium for growing microgreens. If you’re going to work with large seeds, then you will need soil as the medium.

If you’re dealing with smaller seeds, then perlite, vermiculite, or coconut coir will be good mediums for microgreens.

You can also grow microgreens hydroponically which is a pretty good option to have.

Sprouts do not require any soil for a medium. They are grown hydroponically.

All it needs is a bit of water now and then and it will do its magic in a couple of days. Soak and rinse it in water once every couple of hours and you should be fine.

Seeds

When it comes to seeds, there is confusion about whether you need any special types of seeds for microgreens. 

You don’t need any special seeds for microgreens. 

Regular seeds work fine when it comes to microgreens. But make sure you get the organic ones as they are much better than their GMO variants.

Some crowd favorite seeds are Arugula, Fenugreek, Peas, Cilantro, and Radishes.

There are no confusions in the topic of the seed when it comes to sprouts. Get some organic seeds and you should be fine. Give it enough water for a couple of days and you can have your sprouts.

Harvesting

Harvesting Microgreens

Harvesting both microgreens and sprouts is a simple process.

To harvest microgreens, you have to wait until the cotyledons have shown up. Once you see these first sets of true leaves, you can easily trim the part of the plant that is above the soil leaving the root part of the plant.

To harvest sprouts, make sure your seeds have germinated. Once they do, keep them in an area of indirect sunlight and let them grow nice and green.

Rinse them and dry them with the help of a dry towel. You can make use of a salad spinner as well.

Storage

To store microgreens, all you need is a glass jar filled with water. You can store them inside the glass jar as you would do with flowers.

To get the most out of the freshness, you can place them in your fridge. 

You can also use plastic bags to store microgreens. But here, you will also need a damp paper towel to keep the microgreens moist.

In any case, the microgreens will be fresh and good only for a few days. It is always best to consume them within three days from their harvest.

To store sprouts, you can use any sealed container without any problem. The less moisture the sprouts deal with, the longer they will remain fresh and eatable.

You can also add a damp paper towel inside the container to keep them fresh. If done correctly, your sprouts will last for a week or so without any problems.

How to use

Microgreens are super versatile when it comes to usage.

You can use them in salads, tacos, swirl it into a smoothie, add to a salad and even add as a finishing touch to soups.

One bad way of using microgreens would be to cook them. Cooking the microgreens will reduce the available nutrients and vitamins you can find in microgreens.

Sprouts are a great addition to salads. They have been a part of raw diets for decades and bring a lot of nutritional value before we came across microgreens.

You can also cook them and use them in Asian dishes. Some people love to use sprouts as garnishes to their main which is nice.

Taste

When it comes to taste, microgreens win the battle with ease. 

Sprouts are not close to the plant they would have grown into. They are consumed when they germinate and as a result, they do not taste anything like the plant.

From a taste profile standpoint, they are very mild and are used for their crunch.

Microgreens have more flavor as they have started growing into the plant they want to be. They are a juvenile version of their mature plants so you get a good taste here.

As they carry some taste, they are used in a lot more places when compared with sprouts.

Growing Conditions

Setting up the conditions for growing microgreens is a lot easier than setting up conditions for sprouts.

Growing microgreens is just like growing plants. They can grow in soil, sunlight, and water.

Sprouts, on the other hand, need a more controlled environment.

You need a lot of humidity and there should not be any direct sunlight until the seed has germinated. Maintaining humidity can lead to some serious bacteria and molds.

Nutritional values

Microgreens are packed with nutrients. Some microgreens even have 40x the nutrients you can find in their fully matured plants. No wonder, people have picked up the craze.

Sprouts are a great source of fiber, enzymes, and protein. They are loaded with vitamins, niacin, and is loaded with Vitamin B and C.

One common thing about microgreens and sprouts is the fact that they shouldn’t be cooked or you lose most of the goodness of the nutrients loaded in them.

Length

Since sprouts are not grown plants, you will find that most microgreens are taller and bigger when compared to sprouts.

If you’re going to work with large seeds, then you will have microgreens that are taller than other microgreens.

Microgreens Vs Sprouts: What’s Up?

From what we’ve said, you should be able to understand that sprouts are germinated seeds while microgreens are plants that have had 2 to 3 weeks of growth.

Preparing growing conditions for sprouts can be a bit more challenging than for microgreens. With microgreens, you also have to deal with problems like molding and so on.

In addition to all these points, growing microgreens can improve your bank balance by a good number.

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