While the poor plants outside not only got a load of snow on them a few weeks back, they also got hailed on (and need to be replaced, all of them) the indoors projects are producing non-stop food and flavor since February now. Averaging 4 different harvests every two weeks makes a lot of food.
Microgreens are very productive bastards and I’ve enjoyed the ride with lots of experimentation. I’ve toyed with the idea of making it a steady side-hustle to sell trays of the stuff I’m producing and with that thought in the back of my mind I’ve asked around various restaurant owners and chefs that I know of (a perk of being in the service industry in the same city for so long: Huge network), showing them some of my stuff, spreading some taste tests around and getting some numbers to crunch.
My napkin math told me a pretty good story in terms of money. After having done this on a small scale for a couple of months though, I’m sure I’d burn out if I had to seed, harvest, clean and repeat the process over hundreds of trays per month. So, even if the money is there, I wouldn’t enjoy it at all. I like to grow microgreens in small amounts and do it quickly and be done with it. That’s why testing things out is invaluable. Instead of being an additional income stream, I want to keep it as a value addition to our homecooked meals instead.
The taste of flowers
What I have loved to grow in larger amounts though is Nasturtium. It’s such an easy flower to take care of and it grows up quickly. “Just add water” is basically the instructions you need for these guys, haha. In about a week after planting them you can expect your first leaves, but it takes about 2 months to flower.
The added bonus of them is that both the flower head and the leaves are edible – I haven’t tried eating the flowers yet (I think the ones I’ve saved still have a few more weeks to go before flowering) but the leaves have a really interesting spicy kick to their aftertaste. The first flavor you get when you eat one is a hard-to-describe flowery one that’s quite unusual.
I saw a recipe for herbal tea with nasturtium leaves that described that if you oven bake the leaves you concentrate the flavor more and I took that idea and ran into a different direction with it: Coctail-sirup. I’m still in the experimental stage of the syrup (haven’t quite got the ratio done well yet, once I do I’ll share my recipe), but if I get it right I think I have a smash hit on my hands. I’ve tried some gin and tonics with a test batch and it smells and tastes like a spicy flower garden. With some nasturtium flower garnish, this will look stunning.
If you read my blog regularly you’ll remember another cocktail syrup I had in mind, one with Popcorn shoots as the base ingredient. That one is almost in the bag but I want to do
some more taste testing of cocktails before I drop a recipe for it. But so far it seems to go very well with tequila and vodka, but for different reasons which are always fun.
Growing the shoots themselves have been perfected a fair bit though, I successfully shaved the time to grow them from 12 days to 9 days and that is great. A shorter period of time from start to finish will be key if I want to make a from-tray-to-shaker model in the future.
– Peace and Profit