Microgreens are NOT Sprouts!

Let me settle some confusion as to the difference between microgreens and sprouts. I know when I first started growing microgreens I had to learn this too!  Although often lumped together let me state that  microgreens are NOT sprouts.  Starting in the 2000's all "raw" sprouts became infamous for posing a risk for food borne illnesses such a Salmonella and E.Coli.  Better than sprouts, these tiny greens (microgreens) do NOT pose the same risk.  One of the main reasons is that microgreens are harvested when many of these risks aren't present.  Another factor to the safety of microgreens is these tiny greens use soil and sunlight to produce, rather than germinated seeds rinsed in water.  

Microgreens are cut off at soil level and are often 1-3 inches in length.  Sprouts are germinated seeds. What this means is that the "germ" of the seeds awakes from it's slumber, and becomes a real live plant.  Using the nutrients stored in the seed, the embryo develops its stem.  Imagine a bean sprout: that's the infant plant's stem!  If you let a sprouting seed grow, then eventually you have a full grown plant.  But until then, you have  crunchy sprouts.  Sprouts are germinated and rinsed in water once or twice daily and grow very quickly.  Very little light, or no light is needed for sprouts to grow.  

Sprouting seeds require a certain amount of humidity, a condition in which bacteria can thrive in...this is where the big difference between the two lies.  Microgreens and sprouts are technically at different parts of the growing cycle of any given vegetable/herb.  It's always best to use good sterilizing and food safety practices when growing and handling any food...which we do!  Safety first!  I feel totally confident in the safety of these wonderful nutrient dense greens.  Personally I'd rather have pretty green baby plants on my plate than sprouts, but we're all different and can enjoy both as long as you feel safe knowing where your sprouts come from.