Ingarden makes me feel like the botanical mother I never had

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Remember when people were really in love with plants? Like, in the early days of the pandemic when everyone’s new hobby was growing vines (along with baking bread, of course.) Well, I never did. Not because I don’t want to, but because I have a black thumb.

I can’t even count how many houseplants I’ve killed (the last one I remember was named Mariah #5, and yes, there were four “Mariahs” before that). Since I have absolutely no botanical skills, the idea of ​​taking care of my own vegetable garden is like the aunts in Real magic will remain a fantasy. That is, until I discovered Ingarden ($160), an indoor hydroponic smart garden that grows organic micro-vegetables in about a week. This system uses energy efficient lighting and watering technology that allows you to grow micro-vegetables without much management. (It also comes in a variety of beautiful colors like mint, pink, black, and beige.) Obviously, that speaks to me.

Uh, what exactly are microgreens?

Over the past few years, I’ve become a real microgreens fanatic. Admittedly I didn’t really understand what they were at first, although I did buy microgreens from Trader Joe’s from time to time. They are often confused with sprouts (which are young greens grown from germinated seeds) and although both contain many nutrients, they are actually different. Mariana Ferreira, co-founder and co-CEO of Ingarden, explains: “It is easy to imagine microgreens as young vegetables. “They are usually harvested, that is, ready to eat, one to three weeks from sowing.”

According to Ferreira, microgreens contain 20 times more nutrient density than regular vegetables, so they can add twice as much nutrients while adding texture and flavor to foods. “Because they are new greens, they contain more beneficial nutrients that our bodies crave than other ingredients,” she says. “For example, the amount of starch in broccoli increases over time as it matures at a much faster rate than the amount of vitamin A, so micro-broccoli has a higher density of these essential nutrients. than mature vegetables.”

I learned about the nutritional power of microgreens from one of my favorite health podcasts and started buying them more often, mixing them with salads, or eating them with young potatoes (aka “potato salads”) west” of mine). I bought my own hydroponic garden to grow myself.

Growing ‘greens with Ingarden’

I was a little nervous about using Ingarden (obviously because of what happened to the Mariah year), but Ferreira made it sound easy: “From a mother who wanted to teach her 8-year-old how to plant. something easy, millennials if your apartment doesn’t have direct light, then Ingarden’s mess-free hydroponic system can help you grow greens anywhere, at any time of the year at the fastest pace,” she said. She assured me that within 5-7 days, I would have my greens ready to eat. Also, make sure—I don’t have to choose just one vegetable. You can grow three different foods at the same time, such as arugula, kale, broccoli, broccoli, etc.

How to use Ingarden?

My kitchen is small and doesn’t have a lot of counter space, so I decided to let Ingarden do its thing in my living room, but away from any windows so it doesn’t get the sunlight, this can disrupt development. After quickly putting the frame and porcelain bowl together, I placed three seed pieces (which are radish, radish and red cabbage) on the frame, filled the bowl with water, and set a timer to turn on the light for 12 hours and further reduce it. twelfth.

And that’s it! Because the bowl acts as a water tank, it automatically waters the greens through the wicks that transfer the water inside the bowl to the pads. My only mistake is that I put it in the afternoon, so the lights will come on when I go to bed, which is a bit annoying because I can see them from the bed and I like to sleep in the dark like a vampire. . (Ingarden recommends synchronizing Ingarden with your sleep cycle and starting a timer in the morning when you wake up.) Over the next week, I started watching my microgreens grow. Glory! After about a week, I was able to harvest and enjoy my delicious broccoli.

Cooking with microgreens

If you’re wondering how to incorporate microgreens into your meals, the good news is: it’s easy. “From simply adding them to smoothies or garnishing a soup to making them the main flavor of your favorite avocado toast or steak, you can choose to eat them in so many ways,” says Ferreira. Ingarden also released its first recipe e-book ($9) containing popular recipes that you can try at home.

For my first harvest, I decided to make a bougie bagel with mustard greens. Since then, I’ve been crafting egg dishes, fancy salads, and mixed greens with pasta. There’s something about greens that makes a homemade meal instantly look like a culinary masterpiece. Not only does it feel great to eat something fresh and nutritious that I grow in my own “garden” but it also inspires me to get creative with my meals (not to order them). from Postmates, ahem). And I don’t even need the green thumb after all.

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