When you think of sunflowers, you think of a plant that is appreciated because of its decorative appeal. Who doesn’t enjoy a view with rows or pots of yellow sunflowers in bloom? When it comes to eating sunflowers, the first thing that usually comes to mind is sunflower seeds. The emergence of edible sunflower microgreens is a new way to look at the sunflower as an edible plant.
Sunflower Microgreens Trivia
- Microgreens started in the 80s in San Francisco.
- Sunflower microgreens are small, very different from the tallest sunflower in the Guinness World Records. It was 30-feet tall.
Sunflower Microgreens Buying Guide
Sunflower microgreens are sold in groceries, supermarkets, farmers markets, and other specialty stores. Ask around for local growers so that you can source your sunflower microgreens locally. When buying sunflower microgreens, buy just enough that you can eat until the next grocery day, since sunflower microgreens do not keep for longer than a week even if stored in the refrigerator. If this is the first time you are buying sunflower microgreens, try to buy in small quantities first so that you can taste it; should you not like it, you don’t have a lot of sunflower microgreens to dispose of and you are not being wasteful. When buying, make sure to inspect it thoroughly. See if the leaves and stems are of good quality. It is ok if one or two are wilted, but if most of the bunch are wilted and do not appear fresh, do not buy it.
If you are buying seeds so that you can grow your own sunflower microgreen, this will give you an idea of how many seeds you expect to get from a pack.
- 1-ounce pack contains approximately 8,000 seeds
- 4-ounce pack contains approximately 32,000 seeds
- 1-pound pack or bag contains approximately 128,000 seeds
- 5-pound pack or bag contains approximately 640,000 seeds
- 25-pound pack or bag contains approximately 3,200,000 seeds
Sunflower Microgreens Production & Farming in Texas
Growing sunflower microgreens is easy. Put soil on your growing tray. Moisten the soil if it feels dry but do not overwater it because if this happens, you need an extra hour just to make sure the excess water has fully drained. The next step is sprinkling the seeds on the growing medium. If you are unsure how many seeds you need, 1.25 ounces of seeds are enough to cover a 10×20 tray without the problem of overcrowding. Lightly mist the seeds using a spray bottle. Cover the tray with a lid and keep it somewhere dark with a room temperature ranging from 60°F to 70°F. Remove the lid and mist them lightly every day. Expect signs of germination in 48 to 72 hours. The next step is exposing them to sunlight. You can use grow light, artificial light, or indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight is not recommended because the microgreens will easily dry.
- Buy sunflower microgreen seeds from a reputable seed seller or distributor.
- Water from the side of the tray to make sure the weight of the water will not squash the microgreens.
- Maintain water in the water tray.
- Give it a full 12 days before harvesting. But feel free to sample a few each day starting from day 8. You’ll notice the subtle difference in flavor as the microgreens continue to grow.
- Rotate crop once it is exposed to light to avoid “bending” microgreens.
There are farmers and growers in Texas who grow sunflower microgreens. Businesses like Urban Goat Greens in Dallas, Greenfin Farms in Denton, Oso Fresh Greens in Magnolia, Venture Greens in Tyler, and Austin Microgreens listed sunflower microgreens as among the varieties they are growing and selling. Other sources of sunflower microgreens include Grand Prairie Microgreens LLC, a major producer in the Dallas Fort Worth area; Hoss Microgreen Farm is also located in Dallas Fort Worth. There are also initiatives like the Big Tex Urban Farms that help promote the business as well as the attitude of the public towards microgreens. Urban Veg is another business selling microgreens. They are located in San Antonio, Texas.
Pesticides may be used in sunflower microgreens to manage the pests that target the plant, particularly flea beetles, aphids, and slugs.
- Use slug bait or copper tape against slugs.
- Aphids – Kill aphids using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil. You can also use the pesticide malathion, which is the most commonly used organophosphate insecticide in the United States, or rotenone, a selective, non-specific insecticide typically used in home gardens for insect control.
- Flea beetles – The use of man-made pesticide carbaryl is the solution to rid of flea beetles. Other options include pyrethroid insecticides like cyfluthrin and Lambda cyhalothrin, pesticide malathion, pyrethrin spray, permethrin insecticide, and spinosad.
Because of grow lights and temperature-controlled rooms, it is possible to grow sunflower microgreens anywhere in the world. North America is a major microgreens market. The US, Canada, and Mexico are among the top producing countries of microgreens.
Sunflower microgreens are not as widely and commonly available in all supermarkets and groceries compared to full-grown, mature vegetables. But in places where these are sold (including farmers markets), you will find them in transparent plastic clamshell packaging.
Enjoying Sunflower Microgreens
When you eat sunflower microgreens, you will notice that it has a delicious, nutty flavor – the same flavor you get when you eat sunflower seeds.
If you have to store sunflower microgreens, make sure to wrap these in damp paper towels before you put these inside a resealable plastic bag or food container. They will last for a week this way. Freezing is not ideal because microgreens simply do not have the structural strength sprouted greens have to survive being frozen and thawed. Most of the time, freezing and thawing will turn microgreens into slime, and what is left is unappetizing.
Put sunflower microgreens on your sandwiches or soups. Toss it with other vegetables when making a salad. It is a great addition to your scrambled eggs if you are looking to put a yummy and nutritious twist to your breakfast.
Sunflower microgreens are packed with vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, as well as zinc, iron, and calcium. Eating sunflower microgreens helps reduce blood pressure. The folate in sunflower microgreens helps pregnant women have a healthy pregnancy by helping prevent potential birth defects on babies. Sunflower microgreens help boost fertility, improve immunity, and help repair muscular tissues.