Beyond The Decorations: Cooking With Microgreens

Before I show you how and when let’s take a quick look at why you would want to cook microgreens.

So, we know a few things about mighty microgreens.

  • Research in the past five years has tripled.
  • Demand is increasing, and supermarkets and food establishments are making them available locally.
  • There is no question that they are the “latest thing” in the culinary world.

Furthermore, a very recent study in the Journal of Food Science indicates that consumers new to microgreens are fascinated by the flavors and appearance.

And they are willing to include them more often in their meals.


The fact that you are reading this post puts you with the five percent of people in the world who are leading a trend toward better nutrition and locally sourced food.

The facts are scientists consider microgreens to be live food.

They contain a wide range of vital life force nutrients (e.g., vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and oxygen) and live enzymes.

They also contain more significant amounts of nutrients and health-promoting micronutrients than their mature counterparts.

Between 5 and 40 times more, according to the most cited scientific study.

The Great Debate: To Heat or Not to Heat Microgreens

Humans have been using fire and heat to cook food for thousands of years.

Fire and heat do change the chemical composition of the food.

And yes, there is some loss of nutrients.

But we’re all still here, no?

There is really no reason for us all to go on a completely raw diet, is there?

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And lest we forget, cooking does kill bacteria and viruses that can make you sick.

Cooking food at 167°F (75°C) or hotter will kill most bacteria that cause food poisoning.

Sure, cooking destroys plant enzymes.

But if you remember 6th or 7th grade (1st form), so does the hydrochloric acid that digests food in your stomach.

I don’t think you want to be too concerned about cooking microgreens.

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Scour the Internet, and everybody discourages “cooking” microgreens because they say, “microgreens lose their nutritional value.”

But no one seems to have quantified just “how much nutritional value do you lose?”

So, I set out to find out.

What the Science Says

An International Journal of Scientific and Technology Research study looked at the effects of heat on different vegetables.

The scientists measured the percentage of vitamin C lost at 5, 15, and 30 minutes in the water while exposed to a constant temperature of 140°F (60°C).

Vegetable Samples % Lost in 5 min %lost in 15 min %lost in 30 min
Pepper 11.76 35.28 64.71
Green Pea 10.59 33.33 58.28
Spinach 9.94 29.94 60.00
Pumpkin 12.43 37.43 62.43
Carrot 16.57 33.33 49.91
Average Loss 12.26 33.86 59.07

Table 1. % loss in concentration of Vitamin C as heating time varies

By the way, the pain threshold for your tongue is about 153°F (67.2°C)[PDF]).

The most thermolabile (definition: readily destroyed or deactivated by heat) of vitamins is

  • folate (vitamin B9),
  • followed by vitamin B1 (thiamin),
  • B6 (pyridoxine), and
  • vitamin C.

Still, most vitamins are thermolabile to some extent.


As the authors state: “Vitamin C is water-soluble and, as such, is easily leached into the water and then degraded by heat.”

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But what does that mean for you and me?

Read on.

What Are Microgreens Good For?

If you compared microgreens to their mature vegetables when cooked, microgreens have three times more nutrients.

Now, I must admit that there is no published work on the effect of temperature or heat on microgreens nutrition.

“Cooking” these same microgreens for 5 minutes in 140-180°F soup pot will still yield you at least 80-85% of the nutrient value.

No matter. I believe that there is enough evidence that cooking microgreens get you  200% more than cooked green vegetables!

Microgreens are a rich food source for a demanding consumer like you.

Someone who can diversify and enrich your diet using a large variety of available microgreens.

Via @:

How to Make Microgreens

So just how do you cook microgreens without losing much of the nutrients?

Look no further than the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

They have compiled a detailed table of nutrient losses in their USDA Table of Nutrient Retention Factors: Release 6 based on how vegetables are cooked.

This is the best resource I could find.

The good news? Minerals are unaffected by cooking!

Retention Description Vitamins
C B1 B2 B3 B6 B9 Choline B-12 A
VEG,GREENS,BAKED 70 90 95 95 95 75 100 100 95
VEG,GREENS,BOILED,WATER USED 70 90 95 95 95 75 100 100 95
VEG,GREENS,STIR FRY 85 90 95 95 95 85 100 100 90
VEG,ROOTS,ETC,BAKED 75 90 95 95 95 80 100 100 95
VEG,ROOTS,ETC,BOILED,WATER USED 75 90 95 95 95 80 100 100 90
VEG,ROOTS,ETC,SAUTEED 75 85 95 95 95 70 100 100 85
VEG,ROOTS,ETC,STEAMED 75 90 95 95 95 80 100 100 90
VEG,ROOTS,ETC,STIR FRY 80 90 95 95 95 80 100 100 90
VEG,OTHER,BAKED 85 90 95 95 95 85 100 100 95
VEG,OTHER,BOILED,WATER USED 85 90 95 95 90 85 100 100 95
VEG,OTHER,FRIED 85 85 95 90 90 70 90 100 85
VEG,OTHER,STEAMED 85 90 95 95 90 85 100 100 95
VEG,OTHER,STIR FRY 85 90 95 95 95 80 90 100 90
LEGUMES,CKD 15/20MIN,BLD,WATER USED 70 70 80 75 75 65 100 100 90
LEGUMES,CKD 45/75MIN,BLD,WATER USED 70 65 75 70 70 50 100 100 90
LEGUMES,CKD 2/2.5HRS,BLD,WATER USED 70 45 80 60 55 35 100 100 90

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BKD = baked, BLD = boiled, reheated, broiled, pared, and DRND = drained

Only vitamin C, folate, and folic acid lose the most nutrients.

But then, only legumes drop below 50%.

And if you don’t already know, beans and lentils are a foundation of vegetarian, Japanese, and Mediterranean diets.

In fact, bean diets help prevent chronic diseases: obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Microgreens How To Cook

If you take a close look at the chart, you will have a good idea of when to use microgreens.

You will see that baking, boiling (and using the broth), and stir-frying are the best for cooking microgreens.

At home, you can learn how to cook microgreens Indian Style like any other vegetable.

I always wanted to know how to make microgreens Methi (fenugreek) Dal.

My next-door neighbor taught me how to make microgreens in Malayalam.

Or you can find a recipe on how to cook mustard microgreens, just like regular mustard greens.


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About the Author: Thien Bao

Hello, my name is ThienBao. I am a freelance developer specializing in various types of code.