What Are Microgreens?

Food enthusiasts like us see microgreens meticulously tweezed on elaborate platings like magic little sprouts popping out of something amazing. Sadly, this is not where microgreens come from. If you can imagine, they come from gardens. And they're just what they claim to be.

Microgreens are not actually the sprouts of their full-sized counterparts — cilantro, arugula, basil and mizuna, among others — but a specially bred small form of each, harvested when they're 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. They maintain the same flavors as their big siblings (sometimes a little milder) and look just like them, too. Micro-basil looks like little basil, micro-mizuna like wee mizuna (here's what mizuna looks like, in case you don't know).

Microgreens can be expensive, so pick up a box at the specialty grocery or natural foods market (or select your own bag at the farmers market) for the next special occasion requiring an all-natural garnish. Unless of course you know how to make those crazy carrot roses you see at some Japanese places. But this takes a lot less time.

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