Is baby spinach a Microgreen? The plant that is often confused with a baby leaf is the same plant that grows in gardens all around the world and is used both for its beautiful foliage and for cooking. It is also one of the simplest and most useful plants, which makes it a great addition to your kitchen garden. But are microgreens as good for you as other vegetables?
The name “baby spinach” is somewhat misleading. Spinach itself is not a baby because it does not have leaves. The leaves of this plant grow up to three inches long and come off when the flower blooms. Baby spinach is simply a version of red curly leaf spinach that has been re-purposed, given its new look, and made into baby spinach juice.
So how do you distinguish a Microgreen from other greens? A Microgreen has tiny leaves just like a regular green. However, the leaves are slanted and needle-like. As it blooms the tiny red flowers shoot out and latch onto the branches of the plant. These blossoms are what give Microgreen its name.
The benefits of eating baby spinach are similar to those of other vegetables. For example, it contains high levels of folic acid and iron. Folic acid helps prevent anemia and birth defects in pregnant women. Iron helps maintain a healthy blood flow. And, it is full of antioxidants, so it helps prevent free radical damage to our cells. In short, it makes a wonderful and nutritious starter dish.
But is baby spinach a microgreen? Maybe not, but if you grow or harvest it yourself, it’s definitely more healthy than buying it from the supermarket. There are some really cool varieties available grown in organic gardens using organic methods.
Now that you’ve learned the difference between a “regular” leafy green and a “microgreen”, you can make good choices with your grocery shopping. You just need a little guidance. Check out my web site for more advice.
Growing baby spinach is fun and easy. Just try to avoid any spinach with stringy leaves or stems as these can be toxic. But if you do find one, look for one that’s big and flat. These are what we call growing microgreens.
With a little guidance and a sharp eye for color, most baby spinach will grow into a pretty purple or yellow garden. I have even seen them turn purple and black when I was harvesting them from the garden! It’s really a gorgeous looking plant that’s worth keeping. Plus, it’s so much healthier than the stuff they put in their burgers.
One growing tip I can give is don’t harvest baby spinach until the soil is warm. The greens usually need about 4 hours of sun. When you do pick them, make sure you cut them very close to the ground. This helps make sure that the microgreen growing inside gets the light it needs.