Everything You Need to Know About Sunflower Microgreens
Microgreens have taken the world by storm, because of their superfood tendencies and ability to offer a variety of health benefits. And although you might think of sunflowers as a beautiful flower to beautify your garden in microgreen form, they are really a very healthy food in a tiny package. Microgreens are the stage of growth each plant goes through which is just after germination when the first leaves unfurl.
Sunflower microgreens are a step on the road to a healthy diet, and although microgreens are expensive to buy, they are easy to grow and can give you the local approach to a healthy lifestyle. Sunflower microgreens have gained a lot of attention over the last few years as they fit right into the plant superfood trend, offering numerous health benefits.
From their extreme health and nutrition benefits, to some fabulous food pairing ideas, sunflower microgreens are a gift to your health and your palate. They are easy to grow, and the step-by-step instructions will certainly prove that below. Growing your own sunflower seeds will open you up to a world of healthy possibilities.
- How to grow
- How long to germinate and presoak
- How to grow in soil
- How to Grow hydroponically
- How much/often to water
- When to expose to light
- When/how to harvest microgreen sunflower seeds
- How many per tray?
- Sunflower microgreen health and nutritional benefits
- How to use sunflower microgreen seeds/recipes
Step-by-Step Technique for Growing Sunflower Seeds
The health benefits, taste, and pop of color that sunflower microgreens offer are very appealing. However, because they are so fragile, and hard to transport, they are also quite expensive. Growing your own sunflower microgreens is an excellent alternative, and if you follow the steps below, you will have healthy fresh microgreens in no time.
What type of seeds should I purchase?
Purchase your seeds from a reputable seed grower. Because microgreens have such a short growing time, you should buy unhulled, untreated organic seeds. Ensure that the package says sprouting or sproutable, and that the seeds are not toasted.
Do I need to pre soak sunflower microgreen seeds?
Yes, pre-soaking your sunflower microgreen seeds will help the seeds grow efficiently.
How do I pre soak sunflower microgreen seeds?
There are several steps to ensure that your sunflower microgreen seeds are soaked appropriately.
- Wash the seeds in cold water.
- Immerse approximately two cups of sunflower microgreen seeds in warm water for 12 hours. Make sure you do not over-soak them, as that could cause mold.
- After 12 hours, drain the seeds and rinse them carefully.
- Using warm water, soak the seeds again for 8-12 hours until tiny roots start to emerge.
- About 24 hours into this germination process, you will see roots that are about 5mm. At this point you will know it is time to plant them.
Do I need to germinate sunflower microgreen seeds?
Every seed needs to germinate in order to grow.
What is the preferred growing medium for sunflower microgreen seeds?
Sunflower seeds prefer a seed-starting potting mix, and/or vermiculite or compost added. The vermiculite and compost offer more air circulation for the growing seeds.
How do I germinate and grow sunflower microgreen seeds in soil?
This step of the process is fun to do, and since the sunflower microgreen seeds grow so quickly, you will not have to wait long for the pay-off.
- Add about one inch of the potting soil mix to a clean plastic nursery tray.
- Moisten the potting soil. A spray bottle is great for this and the tray will not become too wet.
- Next, sow the seeds evenly across the tray and cover lightly with more soil
- Cover the tray so your seeds are in the dark.
- Remove the cover once or twice a day to spritz the seeds with water. Again, avoid overwatering by using a spray bottle.
- Germination takes about 3-5 days, and after that you should uncover the seeds and put them in a sunny window.
- Water the seeds as they grow.
- Harvest time arrives in about 7-12 days, when the microgreens are about 4 inches tall.
- Use sharp scissors or a knife to cut the sunflower microgreens just above the soil line.
- Keep your unwashed microgreens in a sealed dry container in the refrigerator.
How much light and water do my sunflower microgreen seeds need?
Once the seeds start growing, water them once or twice a day. Make sure you do not drench the container, or mold could grow and ruin the whole tray.
Your microgreen seeds will need 8 hours of sunlight a day. Put the tray in a sunny window or use artificial light to help them grow. Microgreens also need darkness for at least 6 hours in order to perform photosynthesis and grow into the healthiest possible plants.
How do I grow sunflower seeds hydroponically?
Growing sunflower seeds hydroponically means that you do not use soil, but you only use water. The process for growing is basically the same.
- Rinse the seeds, as they have very tough hulls.
- Soak them in a colander, keeping the seeds periodically rinsed for 2 days.
- Place your seeds in a clean plastic tray
- Water the seeds, and by day two you will have a fantastic root system growing.
- By day 7-12 they will be ready to eat
Sunflower Microgreen Nutrition and Health Benefits
Among the healthiest microgreens around, sunflower microgreens are filled with amino acids, as well as vitamins B, E and zinc. In addition to these, they constrain magnesium, potassium, iron, selenium, chlorophyll, and up to 25% protein. Each of these vitamins does a different job in your body, and will lead you to a healthier diet overall.
The health properties of sunflower microgreens keep your bodily systems working in top order. Some of the primary benefits include the following:
- High in Zinc: Zinc plays a major role in reproductive health, especially for men. Zinc helps to keep your digestive system running smoothly, aids in DNA synthesis, and hastens tissue repair. Unfortunately, our bodies do not produce zinc, but luckily sunflower microgreens can offer a good dose.
- High in Vitamin B and Folate: Folate is a B-vitamin that protects babies from neural tube defects and is important for pregnant mothers. Along with that, vitamin B is important for energy levels and cell health.
- High in Chlorophyll: Along with giving plants their green color, experts think that
chlorphyll can reduce the size of tumors and fight certain cancers in humans. But that is
not all. Chlorophyll reduces bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and prevents blood sugar level
swings, thereby helping with weight loss. This low fat and nutrient-dense microgreen can
be part of a successful weight loss plan.
- Contains essential amino acids: Amino acids are vital for your body systems. They build muscles and bones, transport nutrients, repair damaged tissue, and in general strengthen both the skeletal and muscular systems of your body.
- Great source of protein: Sunflower microgreens contain protein, which aids in muscle development and repair, help carry oxygen in the blood, and promote bone strength.
- Good source of vitamin A, D, and E:Vitamin D has a big hand in your immune system, boosting weight loss, and aiding in depression. Vitamin A helps create strong bones and teach, and also heightens the immune system. Finally, vitamin E protects your cells from oxidative damage, and helps slow down the aging process. Vitamin E also prevents inflammation.
- Sunflower microgreens are a natural expectorant for chest congestion: In India’s traditional medicine system, Ayurvedic medicine, sunflower microgreens aid in clearing the lungs and are a natural expectorant.
In conjunction with other vegetable based life choices, green therapy, a focus on a plant-based diet, helps both your body and your mind, and is known to combat depression.
If you incorporate sunflower microgreens into your diet, you are making a quality choice for the health of your mind and body.
As you might expect, sunflower microgreens have a nutty taste (with just a hint of lemon) and a crunchy texture that pairs well with many foods. Add sunflower microgreens to soups, salads, wraps, or sandwiches. They can also be cooked into omelets of casseroles. There are many ways to enjoy sunflower microgreens beyond salads, and some of the most delicious ideas are listed below.
Sunflower Shoot Spreads
Shoot spreads contain great health benefits and are great with crackers or on canape toast. Combine sunflower shoots along with sunflower seeds, yeast flakes, cashew nuts, sea salt and water. The full recipe is here. If you want to take it a little farther, make sunflower microgreen guacamole and enjoy it with tacos or dipping chips.
Red Quinoa, Radishes, Sunflower Microgreens & Pickled Garlic Scape Salad
Sunflower microgreens were made for salads, and this one is sure to leave you asking for more! Included in this recipe is white sugar, rice vinegar, a small Hatch chiki, water, yellow mustard seeds, a bay leaf, while vinegar, olive oil, whole grain mustard, organic red quinoa, and sunflower microgreens of course! Find the complete recipe here.
Sunflower Microgreen Balls
Have you ever dreamed of a savory energy ball? Today is your lucky day! Bake sunflower microgreens with salt, pepper, garlic, grated parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, melted butter, and onion for this amazing treat. Check out the recipe here.
Sunflower Microgreen Smoothie
Create a delicious and healthy smoothie with the fresh sunflower microgreens you harvest from your own garden space and you will fuel your entire morning or post-run activities! Add an apple, banana, hemp seeds, lemon juice and spinach to the blender and you are well on your way to health. Find the specs here to create this delicious treat!
Sunflower Microgreen Pesto Pasta
Pesto is a delicious choice for all of your pasta needs. And if you have fresh basil you are really in luck. This sunflower microgreen pesto pasta recipe combines basil, sunflower microgreens, squeezed lemon, roasted pine nuts, olive oil, salt and pepper. If you have fresh pasta, this will be even more delicious and you can add some cherry tomatoes and parmesan to the top. Find the complete recipe here.
Sunflower Microgreen Muffins
Let’s face it. Children don’t always want to eat their veggies, but when you sneak vegetables into muffins, they are more likely to do so. With self-raising flour, sugar, eggs, canola oil, milk, sunflower sprouts and blueberries, you can entice your kiddos to eat more!
Roasted Broccoli Microgreen Soup
Broccoli soup is the perfect base for a little microgreen magic. Top your favorite broccoli soup with feta cheese, chile powder, sunflower seeds, and sunflower microgreens for an extra nutty spice. Or make your own with this recipe using vegetable broth, chili powder, garlic and onion into the mix.
Now that you know the basics of sunflower seed microgreens, here are a few additional tips that will help your microgreens to be as healthy as possible.
- Use brand new soil every time you grow new microgreens. Plants love clean, bacteria-free and bug-free soil. Clean the trays between each batch to prevent mold.
- Good air circulation is a key to healthy growth. Consider a fan or an extraction fan to balance the temperature, air flow, and humidity in your growing area.
- Speaking of temperature, the ideal temperature for sunflower microgreens is 66-78 Fahrenheit and 20-25 degrees Celsius.
- Other popular and easy to grow microgreens include pea shoots and basil, and you can grow them in a very similar fashion.
Sunflower microgreens are a tiny, delicious, and powerfully healthy addition to your diet. You can grow them quickly and with minimum fuss, and you can use them in a myriad of delicious recipes. Growing your own food helps you to gain more control over your diet and your health, as well as reducing the environmental footprint.
Have you ever grown sunflower microgreens? If that’s the case, we’d love to read about your experience in the comment section below!
Sunflower Microgreen Health Benefits
- Blood Pressure
- Chest Congestion
- Heart Disease
- Immune System
- Weight Management