Kale is already considered a superfood. It is rich in nutrients, anti-oxidants, and minerals; all of which are beneficial to your health.
But, you may be surprised to learn that Kale can be trumped by the younger version of itself. Kale microgreens are simply young versions of the same plant. However, they contain as much as 4 times the nutrient levels that kale does.
If you weren’t interested in learning how to grow kale microgreens before, you should be now!
Kale Microgreens Health Benefits
Kale microgreens can offer you a great range of health benefits:
Can Prevent Cancer
Research has shown that the metabolites in glucosinolate are excellent at fighting the development of cancer. It is because these tiny compounds can induce phase 2 detoxification enzymes; which help to eliminate carcinogens from your body.
Kale microgreens have a high glucosinolate content.
Boost Your Immune System
As well as directly fighting against cancer, you’ll find there is plenty of vitamin C in your kale microgreens. This vitamin promotes collagen production. This compound helps to keep your immune system strong while improving the look and feel of your skin.
Reduced Cardiovascular Risk
The high levels of polyphenols in kale microgreens are known to reduce your risk of heart disease and other heart-related problems. This is a great natural option for reducing your risk of heart issues ranging from stroke to heart attacks.
It can even help to lower your blood pressure.
The carotene in kale microgreens is known to help protect the cells in your eyes. This can stop cellular degeneration which often happens as you age. In effect, eating kale microgreens can help you to keep your eyesight for longer.
How to Grow Kale Microgreens
- soak: No; not necessary for these seeds.
- rinse/drain: No, also not necessary!
- Time to germinate: 2-3 days
- Time to harvest: 8-12 days
Step by step guide to growing kale microgreens
Step 1 – Getting Ready
You’re going to need the seeds; you’ll have to make sure they come from a reputable company or you may find they are poor growers or even infected.
You’ll also need a growing tray, 10×20 should suffice. It will need drainage holes and you’ll want a second tray that slots under this one to hold the water.
Your growing medium can be sterilized soil, or you may prefer to use coconut coir and earthworm castings; this provides your plants with extra nutrients while preventing your growing medium from getting too wet. It’s very effective!
An empty and clean spray bottle is also a good idea.
Start by adding your growing medium to the grow tray, but don’t pat t down too firmly or the roots of your seeds will struggle to find a way through.
Step 2 – Planting
The next step is to moisten the soil thoroughly. You can pour water over it but you’ll need to give it 30-60 minutes for the excess water to drain out and into the water tray.
Then sprinkle your seeds across the top of the growing medium, approximately 1.25oz of seeds should do a 10×20 tray.
You now need to very lightly mist the seeds with your spray bottle of water. Then, add a lid to your tray; making it dark for your seeds.
Slide the entire growing unit into a dark area where you can easily access them. You’ll want to keep the room temperature between 60°F and 70°F. Lift the lid every day to lightly mist them and check that they are okay.
On day 2 or 3 you’ll see the first signs of germination.
Step 3 – Sunlight
Your microgreens are now ready for some light, this will help them to grow. You can use a grow light, artificial light or indirect sunlight. They don’t generally like direct sunlight as it dries them out too quickly.
If you want you can add something transparent but moderately heavy to the top of the growing medium. The theory is that this will make the plants struggle more; ensuring they are stronger and healthier when you’re ready to harvest them.
It is important to keep feeing the soil and ensure it stays moist.
Top Tip: If watering conventionally do this from the side of the tray, this will prevent the weight of the water squashing your plants.
A better option is to maintain water in the water tray. Providing the growing medium is no more than 1-2 inches deep, the plants will stretch their roots down and get the water they need.
When your kale microgreens are between 8-12 days old they’ll be ready to harvest. The leaves should be green and open. You can sample a few each day until you have the flavor you like the most.
As always, check out the following frequently asked questions. They’ll help you to get started with growing kale microgreens. But, if you can’t find the answer, just contact me; I can help!
When to harvest kale microgreens
Between days 8-12 your kale microgreens will be green with flat leaves. This means they are ready to harvest. You can try some every day to get the best flavor, or you can leave them longer; if you want to try true leaves instead.
How to eat kale microgreens
Kale microgreens are perfect for adding to a salad, sandwich, or even eating by themselves. They also make a great garnish for nearly any dish.
How to harvest kale microgreens
Harvesting means cutting the stem and taking the stem and the leaves; you can eat both parts.
Be sure to cut the stem just above the level of the growing medium; you don’t want to make extra washing for yourself by contaminating the plants with the growing medium.
How to store kale microgreens
It is best to harvest what you need and eat them fresh. However, if you need to store them you’ll need to make sure they are as dry as possible. Wet microgreens will quickly turn to mush.
It is possible to store them with air circulation but, to maximize their shelf life you should store them in a plastic bag or container.
You’ll need to stop watering them for 8-12 hours before you harvest. You can then rinse the plants by lightly spraying them with water. To dry, place them on a paper towel and put a second paper towel on top.
Dab carefully to remove excess water without damaging the plants. Once in the container, they should last for approximately a week in the refrigerator. You could extend the storage life by freezing them but you’re likely to also damage the nutrient content.
What do kale microgreens taste like?
They are similar to other leafy vegetables but generally milder and a little sweeter; due to their young age.