• Kate Ayers

Vegetable confetti may soon be coming to a table near you

Researchers are looking to introduce a new type of produce to consumers’ plates. A bonus – these leafy green plants are a model of sustainability.

Microgreens are the young leaves of most vegetables, grains, herbs and flowers, a May release from Colorado State University said.

These plants mature quickly and require little water. People in urban centres and rural communities can grow microgreens year-round indoors.

Food safety concerns are low with these leafy greens and they have higher concentrations of phytochemicals and nutrients, such as beta-carotene (vitamin A) than mature plants, the release said.

Following a survey, consumers seem to be open to incorporating more microgreens into their diets, researchers found. Participants were asked about six types of microgreens, regarding the plants’ flavours, aromas, textures, and appearances.

Broccoli, red cabbage, and tendril pea ranked highest overall, the release said.

Factors they would consider when buying microgreens include familiarity, cost, access and shelf-life, survey participants noted.

“People's mindsets are changing,” Sarah Ardanuy Johnson, an assistant professor and director of the functional foods and human health laboratory at the university, said in the release.

“People don't want to buy something that's going to just end up in the landfill. They are looking for something that can benefit their health and the environment.”

The study is published in the March edition of the Journal of Food Science.

Colorado State University photo

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