Sprouts, microgreens and baby leaves? What's the difference? - Gilė Sprout


Sprouts, microgreens and baby leaves? What’s the difference?

My name is Paulius and I am excited today because of the opportunity to introduce you to a new adventurous sprouting world full of heartbreaking discoveries.

If you are reading this you are in the right way. But first of all, I will tell you what is the difference between sprouts, microgreens and baby leaves. My friends frequently ask this question so I think it is really important for you to understand it from the beginning.

So the first stage is always the same. Everything starts with the seed. They might be different in size, shape or colour but you will never grow anything without seed. Some of them are really small, like broccoli or kale cabbage or clover or rocket, some of them you probably know very well, like sunflower or bean, some of them are really strange in shape, like beetroot or fenugreek. Some of them have secrets, like coriander. It has a seed that contains not one but two sprouts inside. You can try to taste them if you want. Some will be delicious, like a sunflower but with some, you might break your teeth. Actually, with most of the big seeds, you will break your teeth so if you still want to try it, my recommendation would be to soak them before trying.

And it will be your first step to sprouting and growing microgreens. Probably most of you never even thought why seeds are so dry, hard and solid? But the reasons are so obvious when you think about it:  nature did her best to prepare seeds for surviving the hardest times in the wild. Seeds should be ready to survive the heat and cold, very wet or dry conditions and may even need to survive the acid-filled digestive tract of an animal. Also for most seeds, moisture level plays a big role in alerting a seed that it is optimal time to grow. So soaking seeds wake them up from the deep sleep and activate them. Hello chickpea, it is time to wake up and grow!

And now let’s talk about two options you have after soaking seeds. The first one and the easiest one is to sprout them and use them as sprouts. The best seeds for that are lentils, mung beans, alfalfa, some types of radish and much more. It usually takes from 1 to 7 days. Big seeds are ready to be eaten only then start to sprout and have a very short tail. Small seeds usually take more time to sprout, but their height reaches couple centimeters long. You don’t need soil for that, only sprouting jar and water to rinse it daily.

And it is one of the biggest differences between sprouts and microgreens because for microgreens we use soil. Of course, there are other medium which can change soil like vermiculite, cellulose or perlite but we prefer natural soil. Reasons are simple: plants take minerals from the soil,  become more nutritious and soil can be composted after using it. So basically microgreens are sprouts that are grown for a longer period of time, typically between 1 to 2 weeks, and grown vertically until their first set of leaves appear. The height of microgreens and growing time may vary as well as growing techniques.


Now when we know what we call sprouts and microgreens let’s find out what are baby leaves or baby greens. Following the microgreen stage, some plants develop into baby greens. Sometimes the difference between them isn’t as clear – but it’s helpful to think of baby leaves as older microgreens with more than one set of true leaves. It is really easy to recognize coriander microgreens and baby leaves. Baby greens are just smaller versions of the mature plants. And they taste more like mature plants while micros taste more like sprouts.

That’s it for now, That seems to cover the basics between sprouts, microgreens and baby leaves. I hope you enjoyed it and stay tuned for more useful information!

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