Basil microgreens are labeled as a nutrition-packed, functional superfood that is enticing people around the world due to their excellent taste, smell, and range of health benefits. While you can consume them raw, you can also add them to soups, salads, and sandwiches. You can quickly grow the basil microgreens indoors and outdoors in a limited space by following this step-by-step guide.
What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are edible and tender seedlings of herbs. They are approximately 2.5 to 7.5 cm tall and are categorized somewhere between baby leaf vegetables and sprouts. However, unlike vegetables and herbs, they are easy to harvest and ready to eat within ten days of growing. Yet if you go to buy the plant in the market, they are very costly. This, combined with the fact that their nutritional value is pretty high, everyone wants a piece of microgreens in their houses.
The good news is that they are easy to grow from different kinds of seeds belonging to other plant families. One of the popular seeds comes from the basil plant, known as basil microgreens.
Basil Microgreens – Definition and Nutrition Profile
The baby shoot of a new basil plant is basil microgreens. The basil seeds are sprouted, become a few inches high, and produce tiny little leaves.
These little leaves, however, are full of nutrients like calcium, vitamins E, A, B, K, B6, and C, protein, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, magnesium, chlorophyll, amino acids, flavonoids, and even phosphorus. Microgreens are even a great source of compounds like antioxidants.
Basil microgreens contain 4-5 times more nutrients than fully-grown basil. A study titled “Comparison between the mineral profile and nitrate content of microgreens and mature lettuces,” published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, suggests nutrient levels of microgreens are nine times higher than that of mature greens.
Basil Microgreen Health Benefits
Include basil microgreens in your daily diet to experience the following health benefits:
- Keeps Heart Healthy: Basil microgreen contains a good amount of polyphenols that help maintain healthy blood pressure levels and keep a check on rising cholesterol levels. Polyphenols are a class of antioxidants that helps in lowering the risk of heart disease. Microgreens with high levels of flavonoids even provide adequate protection against obesity and related comorbidities such as diabetes.
- Prevents Cancer: Antioxidant-rich food items, especially polyphenol-rich microgreens, reduce the risk of cancer. This superfood is a rich source of flavonoids that help prevent intestinal cancers.
- Keeps Gut Healthy: Basil microgreens are high in dietary fibers. Eating them regularly can keep constipation, gastrointestinal issues, and other gut-related issues at bay.
- Strengthens Immunity Response: Basil is a rich source of magnesium that helps maintain adequate blood flow in the body. Good blood flow ensures proper functioning of the different organs’ sound health system and thus improves the body’s overall immunity.
- Manages Pains and Aches: Basil contains an anti-inflammatory compound, eugenol, and chemical compounds like linalool and citronellol that have anti-inflammatory properties. And eating an anti-inflammatory diet aids in reducing pain and aches.
How to Include Basil Microgreens in Diet?
It is easy to get the nutritional power of the tiny and tender microgreens by adding them to various recipes. Don’t forget to wash them properly before eating. However, you should not cook them, due to their small size.
Some of the ways to include microgreens in the diet are as follows:
- Tossing in a fruit or vegetable salad
- Sprinkling a few leaves on top of grilled fish or meat
- Mixing into omelets or scrambled eggs
- Adding them to a smoothie or soup
- Adding to sandwiches or burgers
- Garnishing hummus
Grow microgreens at home if the higher cost stops you from including them in your daily diet. The best thing is they grow fast and are easy to grow both indoors and outdoors.
Method of Growing Basil Microgreens at Home
The germination of basil microgreens is 2–3 days, whereas the harvesting time is around 15 days. You should have the following to grow microgreens at home:
- Good-quality seeds
- A container for growing microgreens. The container can be filled with homemade compost or with potting soil.
Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Basil Microgreens
- Purchase high-quality basil seeds either from an online supplier or from a local store.
- Look for a spacious container like a 5*5 tray. Choose a tray with drainage holes. Fill it with soil and sprinkle the seeds.
- Moisten the seeds thoroughly so that they will absorb water from the soil.
- Keep checking the tray regularly and mist water on the seeds to keep them moist. You will observe the signs of germination after 2–3 days.
- Once you observe signs of germination, water the seeds daily by using a misting bottle.
- Expose them to the sunlight. A minimum of 12 hours of lighting per day is essential. As microgreens grow and gain color, water them once a day.
- Harvest the microgreens after 10–15 days.
Keep the following things in mind while growing basil microgreens at home:
- Keep the soil temperature at 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit for timely sprouting.
- Harvesting basil requires accuracy as they grow at the base of the soil line.
- Despite the fact basil is a summer crop, do not keep it at a high temperature as the leaves may turn black and worthless.
- Basil is a delicate herb that may get washed away during cleaning. Therefore, clean it carefully when it is filthy.
- Store the basil microgreens in an airy bag to prevent blackening and bruising.
Basil microgreens are young vegetable greens that score high on flavor plus nutrition. They are superfoods, power-packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Eating them regularly helps maintain heart health and gut health and reduces pain and inflammation.
These microgreens are more expensive than mature greens. Therefore, it is wise to grow these tiny veggies in a house. They are quick to grow and require a little space only. Grow them in your home, and you will get favorable results by keeping them in a well-lit area and showing little care.
Kumar, S., & Pandey, A. K. (2013). Chemistry and biological activities of flavonoids: an overview. TheScientificWorldJournal, 2013, 162750. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/162750
Tangney, C. C., & Rasmussen, H. E. (2013). Polyphenols, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. Current atherosclerosis reports, 15(5), 324. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11883-013-0324-x