Thanks to Buffy for having the idea to run a few weeks of Shoots in Souris (and also for being a wonderful human, someone I am proud to be connected to!). I wanted to say Hi to you all and share some of the places on our website where you can find more resources and recipes and information about the shoots (microgreens) you’ll be getting.
Microgreens are very high in nutrients and antioxidants, as well as high in flavour! We grow a number of different types at the farm, here’s a list with links to specific info about each one, including some recipes! (from our website’s “Veggie Guide“):
FAQ: What do you do with them?
I get asked this all the time, the answer is simple: Eat them! We eat them with every meal in the winter. They are amazing with eggs, my favourite breakfast is a couple of fried eggs from our hens, topped with avocado, fresh shoots, and garlic hot sauce. They’re great on top of a soup or even mixed in – the other day I made pea soup but then discovered I was out of split peas so it was bean soup with pea shoots (and had more pea flavour than if I had used split peas!). We also make a lot of “whole foods bowls” around here, I made one recently with radish, broccoli, and chopped pea shoots as well as hummus, pickles, boiled egg, and chipotle-seasoned chicken. Of course, you can have them on any salad, they’re a great addition! In the winter I make coleslaw-style salads with heaps of fresh shoots as well as cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, and any other root veggies I have on hand, even beets – these have great mouthfeel and crunch. Sometimes I simply include a handful of them beside our main course, they’re a burst of freshness and lightness!
FAQ: How long do they last?
If you keep them in the fridge completely covered, they last a REALLY long time. However, the nutrition content degrades with time, so I always say to eat them the sooner the better. We harvested them freshly for your order and so they will keep 2 weeks no problem. Generally, the smaller the shoot (with the exception of Buckwheat), the shorter it will last. I have a bag of Radish Shoots in our cooler for a trial to see how long they will keep, they’ve been there since Nov 4 and I would still eat them!
The biggest enemy of shoots is being too cold in your fridge, so if your fridge is prone to freezing make sure to keep them in a warmer spot. In most fridges the bottom or middle shelves are ok but not the top shelf (depends on your fridge AND how full it is). If they freeze they may look wet and slimy.
Another shoots enemy is moisture– so if you notice some condensation in the clamshell, open it up, fold a paper or cloth towel into it, and store them upside-down (so they shoots are sitting on the towel and it can absorb excess moisture). It’s inevitable that there will be some condensation in the container from temperature fluctuations in transit, so this step is likely important if you want them to keep!
A few other Tips from Teri:
- I almost always chop my pea shoots before consuming them. I find they are hard to chew through otherwise. Most of the others are tender enough, but sometimes I chop them too anyway!
- If you’re cooking them, use a light hand! When I add them to stir fries, I add them after it’s cooked on top. They’re very tender and will cook enough in hot food like soup.
- Shoots are a nutritional powerhouse and so should be thought of as your winter greens rather than just a chef’s garnish. Shifting this perspective opens up opportunities for farmers like us to have some winter income!
- It is very input-intensive to grow veggies in greenhouses in winter here in MB. It is just too cold and not enough sunlight (I’m not saying it’s not possible!). Our shoots are grown indoors in our pack shed without supplemental lighting, and even at that the “profit” is minimal — about $7/hr for our efforts, which doesn’t even include the overhead expenses like heating. We do it out of love for healthy food and a need in our own household for winter greens — plus we can’t see that heated space not have something growing in it! It’s helps offset some of our set expenses in the winter months. (For the record, $7/hr is high compared to our summer hourly income).
Shoots versus Sprouts:
This is a common point of confusion for people. “Shoots” and “Microgreens” are interchangeable terms… I get tired of saying “microgreens” all the time, and that comes with some baggage like they are something only chefs use, or too fancy for the average person. However SPROUTS are different. Think Alfalfa Sprouts – those curly whirl yummy crunchy things you’ve probably had. Those are grown in water by rinsing them multiple times a day. Shoots are grown in a soil medium and then harvested (cut). They are both very healthy and good for you, but Sprouts are considered a high risk food and so have stricter regulations regarding growing and selling them. In the past on another farm we grew sprouts in an approved commercial kitchen with a sanitation regime. Pregnant women and immunocompromised folks can consume microgreens without concern, but I know sprouts are a potential source of foodborne illness and so not recommended. (Obviously always weigh your health practitioner’s advice heavier than your farmers, so long as they know what you’re talking about, shoots not sprouts!).
I grow sprouts for our household consumption and I have a Sprouts Grow Guide on my Instagram Stories Highlights – there’s also one for Shoots if you like, and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have if you want to try growing some at home yourself!
On that note, I *try* to post lots of info about Shoots on our Facebook and Instagram (I prefer Insta and post more on there) so make sure you follow us on there for more shoots info, photos, and recipes!
Some Pea Shoots Recipes we love (and you can sub other shoots in many of these recipes!):
Pea Shoot Salad with Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette
Sesame Stir Fried Pea Shoots
Pea Shoot Soup
Pea Shoot Pesto
Pea Shoot Green Goddess Salad Dressing
Pea Shoot Risotto
Pea Shoot Garlicky Mayonnaise
Pea Shoot Green Smoothie
Pea Shoot & Ginger Grilled Carrot Salad
Finally, I just want to say Welcome to the Shoots Club, and we really hope you enjoy them! Connecting with the community we grow food for is important to me, so please don’t hesitate to reach out! I am best reached via email to email@example.com but you can send me messages on Instagram as well (winter only!). My cell is (204) 901-2800 but we barely have service here so email is preferred.
I like to say “we grow food for people” when asked what I do for a living. The “people” part being the key. That’s you! Thank you for supporting what we do and don’t hesitate to reach out!
Love from us!
-Teri, Jon, and Myrah Jenkins