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What actually are ‘Micro’ Leaves?

As a British speciality grower of Edible Flowers, Sea Vegetables, Micro Leaves and Speciality Tomatoes, we’re often asked what makes a leaf ‘micro’. In this blog post, we’ll outline what they are as well as the impact the plant’s growth has on flavour.

1. Micro Leaves are harvested earlier

Micro Leaves are young sprouts of seeds that are harvested at their first true leaf stage. This can take up to 7-30 days after the seedling germinates, depending on the variety. They are cut just above the surface level and are between 1-3 inches tall.

Micro Leaves

2. Flavours are more intense

They have more intense flavours than the full-grown plant, varying from spicy to peppery, sweet to sour, depending on the variety! Both the stem and leaves are edible, plus, they have a highly-concentrated nutrient content. Research shows that Microgreens contain more minerals than mature leaves. Here at Westlands, we grow our Micro Leaves sustainably in recycled clothing offcuts rather than soil, meaning that the nutrients are fed directly to the roots.

3. Not to be confused with sprouts or cress

Sprouts do not have leaves and are harvested much earlier, whereas Micro Leaves are harvested at a later stage after the cotyledon leaves have developed. Cotyledon leaves are the very first leaves to develop as the plant grows!

micro leaves

4. There are many different varieties of Micro Leaves

From Broccoli and Red Amaranth to Coriander and Purple Shiso, there are lots of different varieties. At Westlands, our innovative growing methods mean that we’re able to grow our produce all-year-round while keeping an eye on each plant to ensure they’re happy and healthy.

View our full range of Micro Leaves here.

How are they used?

They can be used in a variety of different savoury and sweet dishes. Some are used as a garnish to add texture and extra flavour, and some are used within the dish itself, for example within a soup. Get inspired with these recipe ideas.