Friday, June 14, 2024

Microgreens: ‘Superfoods’ Grown Without Land

Must read

- Advertisement -
Microgreens: 'Superfoods' Grown Without Land | This California restaurant chef used to decorate the food with some small plants. These plants were of different colors, tastes and smells. In this, as the novelty was revealed in the serving of food, the beauty was doubled. The response to this fell around. It also began to grace the yards of people's homes in Southern California in the mid-1990s. It soon spread to most parts of the United States. These colorful herbs used by chefs to garnish dishes are called 'microgreens'.

Year 1980 A new surprise was invented by chefs in California, USA. These chefs used to dress up the food differently before serving it. Instead of traditional decoration, this method of serving a little differently continues to impress the customers. In addition to creating interest among buyers, people’s interest in this is increasing in the alleys of California. It even became one of the subjects of research there.

This California restaurant chef used to decorate the food with some small plants. These plants were of different colors, tastes and smells. In this, as the novelty was revealed in the serving of food, the beauty was doubled. The response to this fell around. It also began to grace the yards of people’s homes in Southern California in the mid-1990s. It soon spread to most parts of the United States. These colorful herbs used by chefs to garnish dishes are called ‘microgreens’.

How it started in Bangladesh

Recently, the popularity of these microgreens has reached unprecedented heights. This American seedling is popular in Bangladesh as well as other countries across the country. At the beginning of 2023, people of Bangladesh started to know about it. Rifat Khan Tushar is the one who has been doing this work since the beginning. This young man has obtained higher education in communication and multimedia from Malaysia. The house is in Kadamtali, Jessore. His interest in agriculture was long ago. For that purpose, he has been involved in this sector for the past four years. There is no agriculture-related folklore. But he mastered all the related knowledge on his own urge. Learned working with renowned agronomists and agricultural researchers. Worked properly. He is working with agriculture by adopting modern methods out of traditional agriculture.

When modern people are engrossed in the game of destroying greenery, using various harmful chemicals in vegetables, fruits and making food poisonous, this young man has entered the field with the aim of ensuring food nutrition. Based on this, he and his colleague Anup Kanti Ghosh started a group called Water & Plant on social media. He started the journey with these two mottos: ‘Producing safe food’ and ‘Producing one’s own food’. The first part of this journey includes plans to deliver nutritious foods like microgreens to people by early 2023. Tushar took the initiative to popularize the use of microgreens among the people of Bangladesh. Therefore, he tried to make people aware of this without doing the purchase-sale-centric calculation. This work has been going on for three months. Slowly people started to know about it. Interest is also created. Based on this, Tushar started the work of providing necessary equipment in the form of packages to produce microgreens from June of that year. It includes two packages. One is a family package (Tk 1,850), the other is a student package (Tk 890). 2-3 people can eat microgreens per day in family package. Tools included in a package are: seeds (8-9 types), spray, cocopeat, scissors and food grade container/tray. Tushar also said that microgreens can be produced for 3 months with the seeds of the package. After 3 months if you buy seeds and cocopeat it can be re-produced and consumed. Buying a package and eating microgreens daily costs 2-3 taka.

Microgreens: 'Superfoods' Grown Without Land | This California restaurant chef used to decorate the food with some small plants. These plants were of different colors, tastes and smells. In this, as the novelty was revealed in the serving of food, the beauty was doubled. The response to this fell around. It also began to grace the yards of people's homes in Southern California in the mid-1990s. It soon spread to most parts of the United States. These colorful herbs used by chefs to garnish dishes are called 'microgreens'.

In this way 950 families are producing microgreens by themselves every day. Tushar also said that number will increase with time. He claims that about 10-15 lakh people have come to know about microgreens through them.

He said, ‘There was a time when our grandparents ate sprouted seeds. But they didn’t know that the new seedlings emerging from those seeds are microgreens. The people of Bangladesh know these plants as microgreens since 2023, but the expatriates who live in foreign countries know it even earlier.

What are microgreens?

Microgreens are young vegetable or herb seedlings. That is, when the stem and two small leaves emerge from the seed a few days after germination, this condition of the plant is called microgreen. Usually 7-14 days old seedlings of 5 to 7 cm length are known as microgreens. It is also referred to as a ‘superfood’ due to its high nutritional value.

This ‘superfood’ initially gained popularity only as a food garnish. Later, information about its various qualities came out through research. As a result, people became interested in adding microgreens to their daily diet. It can be eaten either raw or cooked.

Microgreens in the Astronaut Diet

The popularity of these microgreens, which are full of nutrients, has increased worldwide due to a study conducted by the US space agency NASA. NASA places great emphasis on food selection for astronauts. Even the nutritional value of food is researched before choosing it. Thus a separate food list is prepared for them.

Such arrangement is to ensure proper nutrition in astronauts’ food. Added to this list are microgreens. NASA has been experimenting with it for a long time. After the positive results of the research, this food was added to the diet of astronauts.

Microgreen production is a simple process. Astronauts can easily make it in space if they want. Microgreens can also be made by soaking seeds in water and using tissue paper. It contains a variety of energy sources compared to many foods. So much so that NASA and European Space Agency scientists recommend microgreens as a source of fresh food for astronauts on space missions. Thus, microgreens are included in the list of ‘superfoods’ made for astronauts.

production process

Microgreens can be grown with little effort, little care and little money. Being procedurally simple, it can be produced by anyone, anywhere. Rooftops, balconies, small pots or trays—everywhere can be filled with a little soil or cocopeat to grow microgreens. But you have to take care whether the work is done safely or not.

In this case, a clear understanding of microgreen production technology is needed. This work can be done easily if you develop skills in it. The first thing you need to grow microgreens is a place, pot or tray. Soil or cocopeat (coconut shell powder) should be prepared in pots or trays. Then sprinkle the seeds on the cocopeat spread on the pot or tray. A little water is sprayed and kept in the dark for two days with a lid on top. If the water dries up, spray again. Then the lid is taken from the pot or tray. Slowly the seeds start to germinate. Germinated seeds seek light and grow. When the plant is 3-4 days old, spray water again and keep it in sunlight or bulb light. In this case there is no problem even if there is no strong sunlight. Microgreens can be grown in normal daylight.

About this, Tushar said, ‘If you can tell the difference between day and night in your house, then it is possible to produce microgreens there too.’

Although it is possible to produce microgreens repeatedly by following the same method, it cannot be produced repeatedly using the same soil or cocopeat. The root of the plant remains with the soil. It takes time to decompose and mix with the soil. If left in a bucket or container for a few days, this is easily done. Later microgreens can be produced again by mixing new cocopeat with that soil.

Microgreens: 'Superfoods' Grown Without Land | This California restaurant chef used to decorate the food with some small plants. These plants were of different colors, tastes and smells. In this, as the novelty was revealed in the serving of food, the beauty was doubled. The response to this fell around. It also began to grace the yards of people's homes in Southern California in the mid-1990s. It soon spread to most parts of the United States. These colorful herbs used by chefs to garnish dishes are called 'microgreens'.

What kind of seed will be microgreen?

When asked exactly what type of seed is used for microgreens, Tushar said, ‘It is best for microgreens if the seed is non-GMO. These seeds have high nutritional value and do not pose any health risk.’

Non-GMO seeds are seeds that are harvested as they are naturally. That is, organic or indigenous seeds. As these seeds are more nutritious than hybrid seeds, they are preferred in microgreening. But usually these seeds are not available. The use of hybrid seeds to increase crop production is observed everywhere.

Another important point is that not all seeds of microgreens are safe for health. Seeds of nightshade plants, such as eggplant, tomato, potato, pepper etc. are not safe for microgreens production. One of the reasons for this is that the microgreens in nightshade seeds are toxic.

About 80-100 seeds of microgreens are recognized as edible. However, only 8-10 types of seed microgreens are produced in Bangladesh. Among these popular microgreens are; Coriander, red vegetables, kidney beans, radish, mustard, broccoli, cabbage, kale, watermelon and carrots. But beet, fennel, red cabbage, cauliflower, fenugreek, chickpea, sunflower etc. seeds are also used in microgreens. Each seed plant can be easily grown and eaten anywhere around the home.

Tushar said, ‘We put it more simply, the microgreens of the seeds that can be eaten can also be eaten. But that is not applicable in all cases.’

But early on, microgreens production in California was limited to just a few seeds. Tulsi, beet, cilantro etc. were the seeds used initially for the production of microgreens. The list is gradually growing. Currently there are also microgreens seed industry companies in the United States.

How to eat

There are also different rules for eating this microgreen, which is popular all over the world. It is usually mixed in salads, soups, omelettes, pizzas, burgers, sprinkled on cooking or fried. However, frying reduces the nutritional value. Eating raw ensures maximum nutrition.

According to nutritionists, eating just 50 to 100 grams of any microgreen is beneficial for health.

Samia Tasnim, a nutritionist working at LabAid’s Gulshan branch, said, ‘People of all ages can eat it, but in moderation. Best results are obtained if eaten raw. It loses its vitality when cooked, as the vitamins and enzymes are water soluble.’

He emphasized on following certain rules before eating. Since it is mostly eaten raw, it can also cause digestive disturbances. So it is best to eat microgreens on an empty stomach for better digestion. In this case, mixing it with other fresh vegetables like red and yellow chilies, carrots and avocados as a green salad gives better results, says Samia Tasnim.

Vitamin A, C and E along with calcium, iron and potassium, this food rich in vitamins and minerals play a unique role in preventing various diseases. This safe, healthy and highly nutritious food reduces the risk of heart disease, prevents cancer, increases immunity, improves vision, relieves constipation, and reduces the amount of harmful cholesterol in the body.

Microgreens are generally ready to eat within an average of 7 days after sowing. But not all seeds are the same. In some cases 7 days, in some cases 10 days. So many take 7 to 14 days as the appropriate time frame.

Currently, microgreens have become everyday food in many countries of the world. It is one of the favorite foods of health conscious people. According to researchers, microgreens should be added to almost everyone’s diet because of the value of these foods. Tushar, who is working to make people aware of this in Bangladesh, wants people who live in the city, who are health conscious but who have no land, no roof – people who can ensure nutrition by growing their own food. Tushar said, ‘There will come a time when there will be a shortage of land for food production. At that time there will not be food for people. That is why it is necessary how to ensure the necessary nutrients using less land, less soil. That journey started with microgreens.’

- Advertisement -
পূর্ববর্তী নিবন্ধ
পরবর্তী নিবন্ধ
- Advertisement -

More articles

- Advertisement -

Latest article