Sprouts vs Microgreens: What Are The Differences?

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Microgreens (micro greens) are small edible greens made from vegetables, herbs, or other plants. They measure one to two inches in size, including the stem and leaves. Here is the definition of microgreens, their history and the spots which makes them different from sprouts.

Sprouts vs Microgreens… Which one should you eat and why?

Microgreens, despite their small size, may have surprisingly powerful tastes, albeit not as strong as adult greens and herbs.

They are typically utilized in fine dining restaurants as a fresh taste accent. These restaurants lay a great focus on the artistic presentation of their food as well as their flavor. The delicate, fresh look of microgreens provides beauty and complexity, as well as a variety of different flavor components.

Microgreens have been popular at premium culinary restaurants for well over 25 years and are no longer considered a novelty item. Now that microgreens are a solid ingredient in our finest cuisines, Fresh Origins prides itself on regularly introducing new and exciting microgreen varieties to the culinary world.

Sprouts vs. Microgreens: What Are The Differences? https://organicgardeningeek.com

History of Microgreens

Microgreens have been produced in the United States since about the mid 1990′s beginning in Southern California. Initially, there were very few varieties offered. The basic varieties are Arugula, Basil, Beets, Kale, Cilantro and a mixture called Rainbow Mix. They are currently cultivated in almost every part of the nation, and there are an expanding variety of kinds available.

Living Microgreens

A form of microgreens sold in a specialized growing medium, cellulose (paper) pulp, has been produced in Europe since about 2002. Recently, living microgreens have been offered for sale in the United States as well. There are a few reasons why this format has not been widely utilized.

This method requires more packaging in terms of either boxing, or heavy plastic trays and growing medium resulting in a much higher cost for a relatively small yield. It is also more costly to deliver in this form.

The product, may start out fresh and vibrant in the ideal growing conditions of a greenhouse, but once they are removed and put into a restaurant kitchen or cooler, the quality and flavor quickly declines. While they can still be considered alive and growing, once removed from the greenhouse, they rapidly begin to get soft, stretched, as they loose color and flavor.

Sprouts vs Microgreens

Sprouts and microgreens are not the same thing. Microgreens are described in some publications as being quite similar to sprouts. There are a few significant distinctions. Understanding the various manufacturing processes used by each might assist to clear up any misunderstandings.

Sprouts are just seeds that have germinated. The seed, root, stem, and pale, undeveloped leaves are all consumed. Due to multiple occurrences of food illness (11 recalls/alerts in the last year alone), the FDA is attempting to regulate all firms that produce sprouts.

In 2011, 52 people died and thousands got sick from consuming organic sprouts in Europe. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has warned consumers against eating sprouts or sprouted seeds unless they are thoroughly cooked. Sprout-associated disease outbreaks have been linked to Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157:H7 bacteria.

To reduce the risk of foodborne disease, commercial sprout processors must adhere to strict FDA manufacturing guidelines, which include numerous laboratory testing of each batch for the presence of harmful bacteria. Despite rigorous efforts to reduce foodborne illness caused by sprouts, more and more restaurants are no longer able to cope with the risk and have removed sprouts from their menus.

What are microgreens? Sprouts vs microgreens https://organicgardeningeek.com

Which microgreens can you grow?


It’s a favorite and generally considered a staple of microgreens and salad greens that add a tangy, peppery flavor.

Beet: Red or Bulls Blood

A fantastic garnish or accent to any dish for its beauty.


Traditional herb. Micro pesto. Use in anything containing tomatoes or tomato sauce, also for meats, fish, and vegetables.


It has a deliciously mild, fresh cabbage flavor and makes a great addition to any microgreens salad or garnish.


Not a wheat, but an herb- this large sprout has a high concentration of B-vitamins.

Cabbage: Golden Acre

Flavorful, fresh, clean taste that makes an excellent base for any microgreens salad.

Cabbage: Pak Choi / Buk Choy

Chinese cabbage that’s fresh, tender, crisp, and mild makes an excellent base for any microgreens salad.

Cauliflower: Snowball

Cauliflower is a lovely green crop and is a hardy and substantial microgreen that has a fresh, mild cabbage flavor.


This strain of cilantro has demonstrated high productivity with good flavor.

Corn Shoots Yellow: Popcorn Shoots.

The blanched leaves of our popcorn shoots are intensely sweet, like raw corn kernels.

Cress Curled:

Cress has an interesting-shaped leaf that is green in color. It has a strong peppery taste at the microgreen stage that slowly mellows as it grows larger.

Kale: Red Russian

Mild spinach flavor makes a great microgreen or baby salad green. A great choice as a base for any microgreen salad.


This Japanese mustard green has a fresh, very mild peppery mustard flavor and adds an exciting zest to any micro salad or sandwich.

Mustard Red Giant:

Beautiful green leaves with purple highlights and very mild mustard flavor make this Japanese mustard is an excellent choice for any micro salad.

Pea Shoots Green:

Pea Shoots are one of our all-time favorite microgreens!  

Green pea shoots are crunchy with a very mild sweet pea fresh flavor. Highly nutritious, they contain all the vitamins of mature peas in a concentrated form.

Pea Shoots Yellow:

Pea Shoots are one of our all-time favorite microgreens!

Our yellow pea shoots are crunchy with a very mild sweet pea fresh flavor.

Highly nutritious, they contain all the vitamins of mature peas in a concentrated form.

Radish: China Rose

Radish microgreens are crisp, crunchy, and taste exactly like radish. 

It makes a great addition to any salad, sandwich, or garnish. Use sparingly for a radish accent.

Sun Flower Shoots:

Baby sunflower greens are a delicious addition to any salad.

Rich in nutrients and enzymes with an earthy, nutty flavor. 

Swiss Chard: Ruby Red

The plant produces good yields of dark green shiny leaves with ruby red stalks and veins. Excellent for salads and steamed with others greens.


Wheatgrass juice contains many natural vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, as well as chlorophyll. It is thought to cleanse the blood and neutralize toxins and carcinogens in the body, among many other health benefits.

Wheatgrass is wheat gluten-free.

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