Updated: May 18, 2020
What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are leafy sprouts with fully developed cotyledonary leaves and with or without fully mature embryonic leaves. Consumption of microgreens has increased with public awareness due to the presence of higher antioxidants and other health-promoting compounds compared to that of their mature counterparts. Microgreens are the herb like or seedling type form of the plant.
Imagine being able to include micro mint lime or micro cannabis as a zesty and visually appealing garnish. Not only will the selected hemp sprouts make the dish more visually appealing, but by adding cannabis seeds garnishes you can provide unique flavors and aromas, further enhancing the appeal of the dish. These garnishes are less likely to be tossed aside or scraped off of the dish, making them a unique complement to your menu’s popular dishes.
The Idea of Microgreens as a Culinary Ingredient
The idea of microgreens originated in San Francisco, California, a culinary hot spot. Since then, it has become a culinary ingredient in restaurants and grocery markets worldwide. These sprouts are generally aged about 7-25 days before being are harvested early with two cotyledonary leaves that may or may not comprise the real embryonic leaves.
Many different plant species have been tried as the microgreens, including families like Brassicaceae, Fabaceae, Amaryllidaceae, Cannabis and more.
The most commonly grown microgreen crops are arugula, mustard, kohlrabi, pak choi, cabbage, and kale. Researchers have found that these microgreens are high in nutritional content, and their study revealed that these microgreens contain more nutritional value than mature plants of their species.
Due to the presence of a higher level of bioactive chemicals like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds in these early staged plants, which is why they are considered to be superfoods.
Hemp Sprouts as a Microgreen Superfood
Hemp seeds, generally speaking, and more specifically our X-59 Hemp Grain variety, are well known for their complete nutritional profile which includes a healthy assortment of amino acids essential to all life. At PSNet Wholesale Distribution we are very excited to see the increasing use of hemp seed protein products in traditional food preparation and we hope that you are too!
One possible use for our X-59 Hemp Grain is in the production of hemp sprouts, microgreens that are even more nutritious than hemp seeds themselves. Generally speaking, raw seeds contain phytic acid and other enzyme inhibitors that help preserve the seed until the ideal conditions for germination arise. Eating the seeds before germination allows these enzyme inhibitors to bind to nutrients reducing their bio-availability and potentially irritating the digestive tract.
Sprouting hemp seeds neutralizes these nutrient binding enzymes and allows the expression of nearly two dozen prenylated flavonoids which are known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective qualities. Of particular interest are cannflavin A and B, examples of flavonoids that have been identified in some hemp cultivars that reportedly have anti-inflammatory capabilities up to thirty times higher than aspirin. Some of the flavonoids produced by the hemp plant are unique and are not found anywhere else in nature.
As an added bonus sprouting the hemp seed diminishes its fat content and allows for the conversion of dense proteins into simple amino acids for greater bio-availability. The vitamins and polyunsaturated fatty acids in hemp seeds are also known to increase in hemp after sprouting.
In conclusion, while hemp microgreen production is still extremely uncommon at present, the expansion of hemp agriculture in the United States opens up the potential for delivering this product to consumers. An important consideration in this is that any hemp sprout microgreen producer would need to have a Department of Agriculture license from their state, as specified by the 2018 Farm Bill.