The key difference between sprouts and microgreens is that sprouts are just-germinated seeds grown only in a water system harvested under a week, while microgreens are grain, herb, or vegetable greens cultivated in a growing medium such as soil and harvested within two weeks after planting.
Sprouts and microgreens are greens that are very different from each other due to several reasons. Sprouts are germinated seeds. They are the seeds that germinate and transform into young plants. They grow in a hydroponic system. Microgreens, on the other hand, are baby versions of the mature plants usually grown in the soil. They can also be called baby plants. Microgreens are not the same thing as sprouts. Not only do they look and taste different, but they are also even grown in a different way.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Sprouts
3. What are Microgreens
4. Similarities Between Sprouts and Microgreens
5. Side by Side Comparison – Sprouts vs Microgreens in Tabular Form
What are Sprouts?
Sprouts are germinated seeds grown in a hydroponic system and harvested when they are a few days old (less than one week). Unlike microgreens, the whole roots, shoots and leaves of sprouts are eaten. For many decades, sprouts have been considered a healthy nutritious staple food. Since the 1980s, alfalfa sprouts and mungbean sprouts have been readily available in grocery stores. They are often touted by vendors for their nutritional value.
Sprouts have anti-diabetic properties and help to reduce sugar level in the blood. The main benefit of growing sprouts is that they are extremely fast-growing. Sprouts harvest at a very earlier stage of their growth. Organic seeds and appropriate vessels are the only requirements to grow sprouts. Sprouts normally grow in glass jars or specialized containers so, they can easily be soaked and rinsed once or twice a day. In past years, commercially grown sprouts have caused some nasty outbreaks of bacterial infections. For example, E-coli outbreak that happened in 2016. But the good news is that it can be easily overcome by growing spouts in the home yard. After harvesting, they can be stored in places that have less moisture, for example, in a bowl with plastic wrap. They can be stored for up to one week in these conditions. Moreover, sprouts were traditionally used to top salads. They can also be used to add a little life to sandwiches as they are mild tasting and juicy.
What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are grains, herbs, or vegetable greens that are cultivated in a growing medium such as soil. They are usually harvested within two weeks. They can be harvested when they develop their first sets of true leaves. Microgreens pack more nutrients into their tiny leaves than their mature plants. They came into popularity through their use in cooking shows and high-rated restaurants. You can find this superfood on the shelves of grocery stores. The most commonly found microgreens are kale, red cabbage, and broccoli.
Any vegetable, herb, legume, or grain can be grown as a microgreen. For growing microgreens, you need a sunny location, a growing container, some type of growth medium, and organic seeds. Once the seedlings have grown their first set of true leaves, you can harvest by gently grasping the plants. The best way to store them is in a glass of water and place them in a fridge. In this way, microgreens will last for several days.
What are the Similarities Between Sprouts and Microgreens?
- Sprouts and microgreens are harvested in the early stage of growth.
- Both are grown using the same seeds.
- They are susceptible to moulding.
- In both, presoaking of the seeds can be done prior to planting.
- They are both ideal to use in a low FODMAP diet.
What is the Difference Between Sprouts and Microgreens?
Sprouts are just-germinated seeds grown only in a water system that is harvested under a week. On the other hand, microgreens are grain, herb, or vegetable greens cultivated in a growing medium such as soil and harvested within two weeks after planting. Thus, this is the key difference between sprouts and microgreens. Moreover, sprouts are grown hydroponically, but microgreens grow in either hydroponic media or soil.
The below infographic lists more differences between sprouts and microgreens in tabular form.
Summary – Sprouts vs Microgreens
Sprouts and microgreens are two superfoods. People often use the terms sprouts and microgreens interchangeably. But they are different in many ways. Sprouts are just-germinated seeds grown only in a water system that is harvested under a week, while microgreens are grain, herb, or vegetable greens cultivated in a growing medium such as soil and harvested within two weeks after planting. Thus, this is the key difference between sprouts and microgreens.
1. “Microgreens and Sprouts Are Not the Same Thing.” Urban Cultivator, 12 June 2015, Available here.