Microgreens are mini versions of various vegetables and herbs. They grow a lot quicker, usually in less than two weeks, and are packed full of the same amount of nutrients. They can be used in place of your thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables, and add a delicious crunch or peppery flavor to salads, soups, and even pizza.
Unfortunately, just like they grow quickly, they also go bad quickly. Even at their peak, you won’t get more than two weeks out of them. Putting them in an airtight container or the fridge can extend their lifespan by a few days or even a week, but when you have a lot, that isn’t going to work. You can freeze Microgreens and they can last up to a year in the freezer.
While freezing Microgreens often means you are left with a slimy, mushy mess and you can’t use them in the way you would fresh Microgreens, you can add them to a variety of different foods and even drinks to still get your nutrients.
How Do You Preserve Microgreens?
Unfortunately, Microgreens have a short shelf life, whether you grow them yourself or buy them from the store. Their shelf life is so short that it is often pretty hard to find them in stores, and you may be tempted to buy them all up. But then, what do you do with them? You likely only have a couple of days before they start to wilt and go bad.
There are a few ways to preserve Microgreens. Depending on how long you need to store them and what you are eating them with, certain options may sound better to you.
If you just need them to last for a couple of extra days, wrap your Microgreens in a damp paper towel and place them in an airtight container. Then you can just put them in the fridge. This will keep them for up to a week. Make sure that the paper towel is just lightly damp, or they may get mushy and go bad sooner.
You can also just seal them in an airtight container. This can increase their shelf life. However, before putting them in the container, you want to make sure they are dry. The humidity that gathers in the jar can cause them to wilt faster, which will drastically shorten their lifespan.
Keeping the jars in a cool and dry place will also extend their longevity. This will extend the life of your Microgreens by a couple of days if you just need them to last a few more days before you plan to use them.
Long-term preservation is much harder but can be done. The best options for that are freezing and dehydrating.
How Do You Increase the Shelf Life of Microgreens?
At best, right from your plant, you probably have two weeks until your Microgreens go bad. While this is pretty practical if you cut the greens yourself, when you buy them from the store, this could mean you only have a couple of days before they start going bad. And for softer Microgreens like arugula and mustards, the shelf life may be even shorter.
Microgreens are sensitive plants. They need a bit of moisture so they don’t dry out and curl up, but they also need to be dry so they don’t become mushy. Some of the factors that influence the shelf life of your Microgreens are:
- Other stored items
It can be hard to control all of these factors at once, but finding a way to control them can extend the life of your Microgreens easily by a couple of days.
How Do You Store Microgreens Long Term?
If you want crispy and fresh Microgreens that you can add to a meal or sprinkle on top of food like pizza, the best method is to put it in the fridge. However, if you want the flavor, or perhaps the nutrients without much care for the crisp, fresh texture, there are other options.
You can dehydrate your Microgreens, or store them in the freezer. Dehydrating them would essentially turn them into something like herbs or dried onions. You can rehydrate them to get the flavor and some of the nutrients, but the texture will be off.
This is a good option if you like your Microgreens for flavor. You can mix them into meats, dressings, or into your own seasoning mixes. Freezing Microgreens, similar to freezing many fruits and vegetables, changes their texture. They will likely be a little mushy and slimy to the touch.
While these aren’t pleasant to eat by themselves, they can be used to add a punch of nutrients to your meals, like in a sauce, dressing, or even thrown into your morning smoothie. Preserving Microgreens by freezing them allows you to retain quite a bit of the nutrition, especially if you freeze them immediately when you get them.
How to Store Microgreens in the Freezer?
While freezing Microgreens isn’t the best option for all meals, it can be a useful way to save the food you would otherwise have to throw away, and it can allow you to find new and creative uses for Microgreens.
Freezing Microgreens is pretty simple, but there are some steps you can’t overlook if you want to make them as palatable as possible.
While you always want to wash your Microgreens before eating or storing them, you can’t just place them in the freezer while they are wet. This will break down the cell structure more, and create a liquidy mess.
Instead, you need to make sure they are dry by letting them air dry or taking care to pat them completely dry. They will still be slimy and soft, but much less so.
To make it easier later, freeze them in singular batches that you would use all at once. If you stick all of them into one container, they will freeze together, and it will be impossible to get just a small portion.
For them to freeze the best, take your Microgreens and individually place them on a sheet pan so they don’t touch for about an hour before moving them into an airtight container. You can also be creative and pre-blend them with something else you put into your smoothie or food.
If you want to use them as a flavoring on steaks, you can mix them with oil or butter and put them in ice cube trays so you have flavored butter. If you want to use them with smoothies, mix them with the liquid you often use, like milk or coconut water.
You can also dehydrate your Microgreens before putting them in the freezer to extend their shelf life. While dehydrated greens do lose some nutrients, it still provides a powdered punch that you can put into almost any meal.
Best Containers to Store Microgreens in the Freezer?
When you are storing Microgreens, or any other food in the freezer, you want to make sure that the container is airtight. If your Microgreens get ice on them, then they can get freezer-burnt or lose more of their nutrients and flavor.
There are all sorts of airtight containers, and you can pick one that works best for you. Plastic and silicone bags that have a tight seal can remove air to best preserve the texture, and they can fit into more narrow spaces in your freezer.
Glass or plastic Tupperware can allow you to store more in bulk and prevents the Microgreens from getting broken up as easily. They are still airtight, but do leave some air in the container, and take up a bit more space.
Whatever you use, just make sure it will stay sealed and is made to go in the freezer.
How Long Do Microgreens Last in the Freezer?
Theoretically, nothing goes bad in the freezer. They won’t get bacteria on them or rot. However, they can become freezer-burnt which changes the texture, removes nutrients, and decreases the flavor.
Generally, a year is the maximum amount of time you want to have something in the freezer, though between three and six months is often best for freshness and flavor.
Microgreens are delicious and packed full of nutrients, but they don’t last long and can be hard to find. While putting them in the fridge or an airtight container can help them last a few more days, sometimes, you need them to last longer.
Freezing Microgreens will destroy the texture, but they can be used in non-traditional ways like smoothies, sauces, flavored butter, seasonings, and more. They may lose some of their nutrients, but not much, which means you can still get the benefits of the greens, and prevent them from rotting and having to be thrown out.