Growing broccoli sprouts is a popular choice for growing microgreens. It is common and effective for many purposes. So, you can grow broccoli sprouts at home.
There is a difference between growing broccoli sprouts in the soil and planting broccoli sprouts in a jar. Growing broccoli sprouts in the soil are much more effective and develop more remarkable results with strong flavors. That will enhance the taste of the food you serve at home.
Kids often hate eating broccoli! Well, in fact, kids hate all kinds of greens. But broccoli has great nutrient content complementing the health benefits for kids and adults alike.
This blog shall acquaint you with everything you need to know about broccoli microgreens, first starting with learning their health benefits and nutrition facts to the process of growing broccoli microgreens to their uses. So, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What Are Broccoli Microgreens?
Brassica oleracea, the Italica Group, is none other than broccoli. Brassica is the genus, which means cabbage in Latin. Broccoli microgreens are an absolute source of proteins apart from the fact that they taste great. You can grow broccoli microgreens at home and add them to your diet.
Besides, often the broccoli microgreens are useful in garnishing different foods as beautifully as other microgreens. Broccoli microgreens are super easy to grow and pretty simple as well. You can even add them to kids’ dishes, and they won’t even complain.
While growing broccoli microgreens, you can be sure that consuming these won’t just add to your palate but also complement the nutrient intake by your body. Broccoli microgreens contain 40 times more nutrients than their mature plants.
Broccoli belongs to the cabbage family (Brassicaceae, genus Brassica). It stands as one among those vegetables which are either loved or hated by those who eat it. It was a widely grown crop in Italy and was a valuable food item of the Roman Empire. It used to be referred to as “Italian Asparagus.”
The stalks and broccoli florets of the microgreens can be eaten raw and cooked in their usual, full vegetable size. The flavor of these microgreens is those of fresh leaves with a lot of nutritional value to them. The essence, however, is milder in their microgreen form compared to their vegetable size.
The broccoli is taken into the plant family of microgreens between 10 to 14 days in its plant life.
Broccoli Microgreens Nutrition Facts
Broccoli microgreens are a nutrient-rich food that people can eat in different forms and even complimentary items with other food items. Let’s study more about the various nutrients that these microgreens have in store for you.
Carotenoids: Provitamin A, the essential fat solvent and antioxidant, is present in broccoli microgreen in sufficient quantity. This nutrient helps protect cellular membranes against free radicals.
Ascorbic Acid: One of the essential nutrients for the human body, Vitamin C is present in broccoli microgreens. It acts as the antioxidant necessary for growth, tissue repair, development, collagen formation, iron absorption, wound healing, and boosts the immune system.
Tocopherols: Vitamin E is found in broccoli microgreens. It is the combination of tocopherols and tocotrienols. These are fat-soluble antioxidants. Alpha-tocopherol helps the body in vision, reproduction, in addition to improving the overall health of the brain, blood, and skin.
Phylloquinone: Broccoli also consists of Vitamin K, which is essential for the human body. Vitamin K1 secretes the necessary proteins for blood clotting and healthy bones.
Lutein: Lutein, along with zeaxanthin, are both xanthophyll carotenoids. These are found in the macula of the human eye. These two carotenoids are essential for age-related degeneration and cataract.
Health Benefits of Broccoli Microgreens
Broccoli microgreens are store-houses of several macro and microelements. Lack of these elements might lead to metabolic disorders and organ damage. These disorders are further responsible for acute and chronic diseases. Sometimes, the effects are as severe as death.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases have been the cause of more than 50% of deaths worldwide.
1. Broccoli Microgreens Sulforaphane
Glucoraphanin, the precursor of sulforaphane, is found in these microgreens. As a matter of fact, sulforaphane is the primary compound benefitting you when consuming broccoli microgreens.
Several studies reporting that broccoli microgreens are high in glucoraphanin have found that broccoli microgreens reduce oxidative stress and kidney inflammation, and blood pressure in the cardiovascular system.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane and carotenoids that comprise powerful oxidants that heal any damage to the human eyes’ retina cells.
2. Broccoli Microgreens and Cancer Prevention
Broccoli microgreens have a sufficient sulforaphane content, which works as a non-toxic chemo-preventive agent for people with cancer. Studies have revealed that adding broccoli microgreens to our diet helps prevent colon cancer and other cancers. They inhibit cancer stem cells as well.
These microgreens are also helpful in scavenging the gastronomical problems most youth face today in the fast-paced world. Broccoli sprouts block Helicobacter pyroli bacteria’s growth and help prevent and fight gastritis problems in the body.
The broccoli heads contain bioactive compounds such as polyphenols and glucosinolates that help prevent chronic and cardiovascular diseases.
Growing Broccoli Microgreens
Growing broccoli microgreens at home are easy-peasy! Once you get accustomed to how to do it, you’ll be stuffing your kitchen countertop with jars and boxes of these microgreens with always available stock at home. These are high-nutrition value food with excellent health benefits you’ve just come across in this blog. Let’s learn the steps to grow broccoli microgreens at home.
You can get the broccoli microgreen seeds in the local grocery stores or plant stores selling broccoli plants along with other vegetables or microgreens. Microgreens seeds are available in the market. However, you need to know the difference between microgreens seeds and regular seeds.
Broccoli microgreen seeds are tiny and do not need time to break open. Soaking is not that much of an important step here. However, sometimes you may come across more large seeds, requiring soaking for better growth and nutrition enhancement. Once the outer seed hull is softened, you can move on to the next step of growing these microgreens.
Growing microgreens is not the same as conventional gardening. Before planting the seeds of microgreens, you need to spread the potting soil below the brim of the microgreen tray and sprinkle the seeds over the soil.
Cover the top of the soil with as many broccoli sprouts as possible to make a dense cover of broccoli sprouts. Microgreens are small in size, so they’ll need to be in bulks to make up to harvest. Do not cover the seed with dirt. Let them settle on the top layer of the soil.
Mist the soil’s top surface without scattering the seeds on top and place the second microgreen tray over the second. Place the tray in a dark place as the seeds develop towards germination using the water and the darkness.
Placing a heating mat below the tray will accelerate the process, raising the temperature and allowing the seeds to grow sooner. However, make sure the temperature around the tray without the heating mat is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Germination follows with the watering of the broccoli sprouts in adequate amounts. Place the tray with drainage holes on top of a dish filled with water and let the soil seep enough water to nurture the seeds for their growth. Once the soil has absorbed sufficient levels of water, remove the dish from underneath.
Ensure that the seeds do not get water-logged and the soil is exposed to adequate moisture levels that it needs for its consistency in the growing period. You maintain the soil’s water levels this way, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
When you grow broccoli microgreens, their root systems on the sprouts may seem like mold, but they’re not. As long as you take care of their watering, the roots will stay away from bacteria and will develop broccoli sprouts pretty soon.
When the broccoli sprouts develop into microgreens, they push open the tray cover, and the broccoli sprouts will need enough exposure to direct sunlight at this stage. For best results, ensure your plants get 16-18 hours of daily exposure to sunlight every day.
It is a known fact in gardening that this way you will ensure proper germination of your broccoli seeds. It will also be good for the broccoli sprouts.
The sprouts may appear discolored first but will develop more chlorophyll in the course of their sunlight exposure.
Growing broccoli microgreens is easy for one more reason, and that is the minimal time taken by them for harvesting. The nutritional value that these microgreens provide you with depends on a good harvest and proper care in the growing period.
When you grow broccoli, you’ll notice the microgreen getting 2-3 inches tall. That is when they are ready to harvest. The harvest will take place before the development of the leaves. Harvest affects the flavor of the microgreens. Make sure to stop watering the microgreens 12 hours before the process of harvest begins. Get a pair of scissors and begin your harvest!
Here, you must be careful not to uproot the broccoli sprouts from the soil as they do not regrow themselves. You must be precise in cutting their stems just above the soil. You can harvest them all together, or you can do it according to your needs. Make sure you perform the harvest before the plant gets too old and starts developing leaves.
Fresh harvest sows the best nutrition results, hence, benefits, of the broccoli sprouts. Rinse the harvested broccoli microgreens in cold water, pat them dry, and you’re ready to cook them or eat them raw in salads or otherwise.
Harvesting all the broccoli sprouts together might need you to store the stock correctly so that you do not lose the nutritional content they preserve until the time you eat them. If you are not going to use the microgreens right after harvest, you must keep them dry.
Fold the greens in a paper towel and secure them in an airtight container before you store them in the refrigerator. Home-grown microgreens remain fresh until 3-4 days before serving them on the plate.
Growing broccoli microgreens at home is a wise decision. These are the power-houses of many vitamins and minerals that are essential for the human body.
Broccoli microgreens can be eaten raw or even cooked with other veggies. They add their nutrition and flavor to any other dish you add them in, so include them in your menu. You may eat them raw in salads or sandwiches and taste their flavors in your mouth.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.