Shoots vs. Sprouts

Microgreens (shoots) and sprouts may be tiny and delicate but they pack a nutritional punch that defies their size. They enliven almost every meal from soups and stir-fries to omelettes and sandwiches. These tiny but mighty greens add incredible nutritional value and bring beauty and freshness to your plate. But what’s the difference between the two?

The seeds used for sprouts and microgreens are the same. The difference is simply in how they are grown and when they are considered ready to eat. While microgreens need soil to grow and can be ready to eat in 1-3 weeks, sprouts do all their growing in water and air and can be eaten in as little as 3 days.

Microgreens are the young, green offspring of certain plant varieties. Think of them as tiny, perfect representations of fresh vegetable plants. The leaves and the stems are consumed and they offer intense flavour, and versatility to meals. Best used as a garnish, to add crunchiness to a sandwich, and to add flavour and variety to leafy salads.

Different types of microgreens will give you different vitamins, minerals and nutrients. But, in general, microgreens are a great source of vitamin A, E, C and K, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium and zinc.

Sprouts, on the other hand, are germinated seeds or beans and their stem and seed are eaten. More mild than microgreens, sprouts are generally used for their delicate crunch. Sprouts are also very versatile in flavour and use. In general, the green sprouts will go anywhere lettuce would go and the bean sprout varieties will cook up best.

As with microgreens, sprouts contain a nutritional value that is off the chart, with high levels of folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin K, as well as antioxidants.

This very early stage of a plants life is the most nutritious stage, as they absorb the most nutrients to grow. Simply put, this tiny plant is a superfood with health-promoting and disease preventing properties. Don’t let it’s size fool you these little greens are punching way above their weight class when it comes to nutritional benefits.

The best part is you can find different varieties of both microgreens and sprouts from True Local suppliers in-store! Look for sprouts from Meadowbrook Farms, and microgreens from Chuckleberry Farms and Flourish Microfarms.