Introduction to sprouts and microgreens

Before we dive in deep, there is a common question we should address: what is the difference between sprouts and microgreens? Well, the seeds are the same, but the growing and harvesting methods are different. Sprouts are seeds that are sprouted, usually without leaves. Microgreens are grown for a little bit longer, either until they have cotyledons (baby leaves) or true leaves. Let's do a comparison of growing and harvesting:


Sprouts Microgreens
  • Grown in jars, containers or bags without soil.
  • Rinsed daily.
  • Do not require fertiliser.
  • Do not require light.
  • Ready to eat when the seeds sprout. The whole plant is eaten.
  • Grown hydroponically or in a medium like soil, usually in a tray.
  • Sprayed with water when needed.
  • Fertiliser can be used.
  • Light is needed.
  • The plant is harvested by snipping the stem and leaves off. The roots are not eaten.


Health benefits

Sprouts and microgreens are the most local food you can eat. When the plant is germinating or at a seedling stage, their nutrient content is concentrated, which means that they often contain higher antioxidant, mineral and vitamin levels than the large plant. Here are some of the health benefits of each.

Sprouts Microgreens
  • High levels of enzymes.
  • They are often rich in proteins.
  • They are low in calories and high in fibre.
  • Most contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin c and vitamin a.
  • Often rich in copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
  • Vitamin and antioxidant levels measured up to 40 times higher than the mature produce.
  • Can be a source of polyphenols.


To sprout or to microgreen?

Lots of seeds can be grown as either sprouts or microgreens, however, some are best as one or the other. You might choose to grow seeds as sprouts because it is a faster process. Microgreens may be chosen as the method because the root is not tasty, for example, sunflowers can be grown as a sprout or microgreen, but as the root has a bitter taste, they are better grown as microgreens where you can snip the tasty part off from the roots.

Here is a small list of seeds that are best grown as sprouts:

  • Alfalfa 
  • Lentils
  • Mung beans
  • Soy beans
  • Adzuki beans
  • Fenugreek

Here are some seeds that can be grown as either:

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage 
  • Peas
  • Coriander
  • Mustard
  • Radish
  • Kale
  • Chickpeas

And here is a list of seeds that are best grown as microgreens:

  • Sunflower
  • Beet
  • Carrot 
  • Chard
  • Dill
  • Endive 
  • Fennel 
  • Lettuce 
  • Basil

It is important to note that due to the growing conditions of sprouts, they have a higher risk of food contamination than microgreens. See our article on growing sprouts safely for more information.

Why choose just sprouts or just microgreens? At Sproutie, we love variety. Our monthly subscription contains seeds for growing sprouts and microgreens, and instructions for each. You will never get bored!