Black oil sunflower microgreens have recently burst onto the health food scene as a nutritious and delicious superfood that is fun and easy to grow at home. As a crop that is ready to harvest in just 7-10 days, black oil sunflower microgreens allow anyone to produce nutrient-packed greens right on their kitchen counter.
What Are Black Oil Sunflower Microgreens?
Black oil sunflower microgreens are the young seedlings of black oil sunflower seeds, harvested when they are only 7-10 days old. At this stage, the seedlings have developed their first true leaves and have concentrated exceptionally high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients. Their flavor is sweet and nutty with a pleasant, crunchy texture.
Unlike wheatgrass or alfalfa sprouts which are typically grown hydroponically and consumed root and all, black oil sunflower microgreens are grown in soil or a soil medium and only the green shoot portions are eaten.
The seeds used to grow black oil sunflower microgreens are larger and higher-yielding than seeds for sprouts. There are ~300-600 seeds per ounce compared to 700-800 seeds per ounce for smaller sprouting seeds.
Key Takeaways on Black Oil Sunflower Microgreens
- Black oil sunflower microgreens are unprocessed baby sunflower plants harvested after sprouting their first true leaves. They are more nutritious and flavorful than the mature plant.
- Extremely high in vitamins A, K, E, and C as well as minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Nutrient levels can be up to 40x greater than in mature greens.
- The microgreens have a signature sweet, nutty flavor and pleasant crunch. Popular additions to salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and more. Kids enjoy their mild taste.
- Black oil sunflower microgreens are simple to cultivate at home in 7-10 days with just seeds, trays, soil, and water. Can be grown year-round on the kitchen counter.
- Soak seeds for 4-12 hours before evenly sowing in a tray filled with potting mix. Cover for 2-3 day blackout period, then uncover and provide ample light and warmth to grow.
- Snip microgreens right above the soil line once the first true leaves emerge at around 1-2 inches tall. Enjoy immediately, and store properly to retain 7-14 days of shelf life.
- Consider adding black oil sunflower microgreens to your diet through home cultivation for their delicious taste and dense nutrient content. An easy way to add the freshest, healthiest greens possible.
Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits
When harvested at just 7-10 days old, black oil sunflower microgreens contain up to 40x higher concentrations of nutrients compared to their mature plant counterparts.
They are an excellent source of:
- Vitamins: A, B complex, D, E, and K
- Minerals and trace minerals: calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc
- Antioxidants: vitamin E tocotrienols, chlorogenic acid
- Protein and amino acids
Consuming microgreens like black oil sunflower shoots has been associated with a number of benefits:
- Increased energy and stamina
- Improved immune function
- Healthy inflammation response
- Heart health and cholesterol maintenance
- Cancer prevention
- Vision, skin, bone, and muscle support
- Digestion and weight management
Their mild, sweet, nutty flavor also makes black oil sunflower microgreens one of the best entry points for those new to the world of microgreens. Children also love them!
Table 1: Complete Nutrient Profile of Black Oil Sunflower Microgreens
|Nutrient||% Daily Value*||Benefits|
|Vitamin A||500%||Immune function, vision|
|Vitamin K||300%||Bone health, blood clotting|
|Vitamin E||200%||Antioxidant, skin health|
|Vitamin C||150%||Immune function, collagen production|
|Iron||50%||Oxygen transport, energy|
|Magnesium||45%||Nerve and muscle function|
|Potassium||25%||Heart health, hydration|
|Protein||15%||Building block for cell repair and growth|
*Per 1 cup (about 1 oz) of raw microgreens
Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Black Oil Sunflower Microgreens
One of the best aspects of microgreens is how fast and easy they are to grow at home, without requiring much gardening experience. Here is a step-by-step overview of cultivating black oil sunflower microgreens in your kitchen:
- Black oil sunflower seeds: Look for seeds specifically sold for microgreen growing, not seeds for sprouting or ornamental/garden sunflowers. Will need ~4-4.5 oz dry seeds per 1020 tray.
- Growing trays: Use 20×10 inch trays or smaller trays like 5×5 inches to start. Be sure they have drainage holes.
- Growing medium: Use a natural medium like coconut coir, soil, or peat/vermiculite mix. Can also use hemp mats.
- Water: For irrigation and soaking seeds prior to planting
- Spray bottle (optional): For watering seedlings
- Liquid kelp fertilizer (optional): To enrich irrigation water with minerals
Once the presoaked seeds are spread evenly across the moist growing medium in the tray, it is important to give them 2-3 days to germinate in darkness. Keeping the trays covered and avoiding light exposure triggers key hormonal pathways involved in early seedling development.
There are a couple of options for accomplishing the 72-hour blackout period:
- Place an empty plug tray, lid, or weighted plate over the planted seeds to block ambient light. Just be sure some airflow still reaches the seedlings.
- Wrap the entire tray in a dark towel, placing it in a dark closet or cupboard.
- Use a blackout germination dome if growing on a heated mat.
During this time, check on the seeds daily and spray lightly with water if the medium surface appears dry. But avoid oversaturating.
Once sprouts begin to lift the covers after 2-3 days, you can transfer to a brightly lit, warm location to continue growth. Ensuring proper blackout conditions early on will help maximize vigorous, even microgreen development.
- Presoak seeds: Put seeds in a jar, fill with cool 60-70°F water, and soak for 4 hours up to overnight. Keeps seeds submerged.
- Spread seeds in the tray: Drain soaked seeds. Spread evenly across the surface of a moist growing medium, seeds can overlap some. Cover with 0.5 inch layer of medium.
- Water and grow: Mist to keep moist. Provide ample warmth and light for like 16 hours under LED grow lights.
- Harvest microgreens: In 7-10 days, when the first true leaves emerge, use scissors to snip right above the soil.
Tips for Best Results
- Maintain consistent 60-75°F temperature
- Good airflow prevents mold
- Light is crucial once sprouted, not before
- Look for any bug eggs/larvae
- Cut when most true leaves emerge
- Use clean equipment
After 7-10 days of growth, your black oil sunflower microgreens will reach 3-4 inches tall and be ready for their highly anticipated harvest!
Table 2: Step-by-Step Black Oil Sunflower Microgreen Grow Guide
|1. Soak Seeds||4-12 hours||Day 1|
|2. Plant Seeds||Spread evenly in tray||Day 1|
|3. Blackout Period||2-3 days covered||Day 1-3|
|4. Grow Seedlings||Uncover, provide light & warmth||Day 4-10|
|5. Harvest Greens||When first true leaves emerge||Day 7-10|
Using Your Fresh Black Oil Sunflower Microgreens Crop
The tender greens you harvest will need proper storage to retain nutrients and flavor quality before eating or using them in recipes.
Storage and Shelf Life
- Gently dry harvest
- Store in an air-tight container
- Keeps 5-7 days refrigerated
- Can be frozen for months
When ready to enjoy their sweet earthy crunch, black oil sunflower microgreens lend well to a multitude of dishes:
Popular Culinary Uses
- Salad or sandwich topping
- Pizza and burger topping
- Add to omelets, soups, smoothies
- Use as party tray garnish
Their versatility comes from a flavor profile that pairs well with other vegetables, herbs, cheese, eggs, chicken, fish, and more. Kids also love their mild nuttiness straight from the tray!
Here are some particularly good flavor combinations with black oil sunflower microgreens:
- Avocado toast or salad
- Beet and goat cheese salad
- Breakfast tacos or burritos
- Veggie pizza or flatbread
- Mixed green smoothies and juices
Table 3: Shelf Life Extension Methods
|Storage Method||Process||Shelf Life|
|Refrigeration||Gently dry harvest, store in a sealed container||5-7 days|
|Freezer Bag||Blanch for 60 seconds prior to freezing||4-6 months|
|Vacuum Sealing||Vacuum seal bags remove air||6-12 months|
Final Thoughts: Black Oil Sunflower Microgreens – A Nutritious Adventure
Growing black oil sunflower microgreens is an exciting gardening adventure that pays off in a big way. In just over a week, you can grow trays of tasty, crunchy greens packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential amino acids.
Beyond the superior nutrition, cultivating your own microgreen garden offers a host of other benefits as well:
- Saves money: Much cheaper than buying pre-packaged microgreens. Pays for supplies quickly.
- Reduces waste: Grow only what you need. No tossing decaying produce from the fridge.
- Builds gardening skills: Learn techniques like seed soaking, sowing, irrigation, pest prevention, and harvesting. Skills transferable to raising sprouts and outdoor gardening.
- Provides healthy activities for kids: Children love planting the seeds, misting the seedlings, and tasting the harvest. Educational and engaging.
- Produces the freshest greens possible: Days from soil to salad. Far superior to wilted store-bought greens shipped long distances.
- Adaptable to any space: Only need basic supplies and a spot for trays. Grow on the kitchen counter, garage shelves, and basement under lights.
When harvested at the peak of flavor and nutrition, black oil sunflower microgreens add sweet, nutty tones and delicious crunch to salads, sandwiches, pizzas, omelets, and more. They pair well with so many foods.
If you want to easily grow your own nutrient-dense superfoods at home, look no further than black oil sunflower microgreens. Try a batch and see for yourself how satisfying it is to grow and enjoy the freshest greens possible!