A backyard with an overflowing fruit and vegetable garden is an absolute delight – unless you don’t have the outdoor space, are affected by cold seasonal temperatures, or simply fail as an urban gardener. Try bringing your garden inside with these six easy foods to grow indoors. They’re inexpensive and once you get the hang of it, you’ll have access to a variety of ingredients and flavours you can use to enhance your cooking.
6 Easy Foods to Grow Indoors
Sprouts are nutrition powerhouses – they are rich in enzymes, bioavailable protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You may not have realized how easy they are to grow at home! There are a few different methods you can use to sprout and the equipment is mostly low-tech, meaning you probably already have what you need (and if you have a well-stocked pantry, you likely have things you can sprout as well).
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Microgreens are essentially baby plants. They are harvested a few weeks after the sprouting process mentioned above, before the seedling turns into a mature plant. Microgreens have strong flavours and pack a large nutritional punch – research on microgreens shows that they can contain 4 to 40 times more vitamins C, E, K and beta carotene than their full-grown counterparts. All you need is some seeds, soil, water and a sunny window and you’re ready to reap the benefits.
At the Academy of Culinary Nutrition we are huge fans of mushrooms. They help to boost the immune system, are packed with vitamins and minerals, and have anti-cancer properties. Mushrooms grow from spores, depend on sawdust, straw, wood or grains for nutrients, and require damp, dark and cool environments to thrive. You can create your own mushroom-growing setup, or start off with a mushroom kit to make the process even easier.
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Herbs are often relegated to the side of the plate or used as a garnish, but they’re truly the workhorses of the kitchen. They’re loaded with flavour, beneficial nutrients and texture, and we like to use them generously to amp up dishes. Some easy herbs to grow indoors include mint, thyme, oregano, chives, parsley and basil. Thyme, oregano, basil and chives are great on healthy pizza, while parsley and mint are fantastic additions to dairy-free smoothies.
Beginners will likely find it easier to start off by purchasing a young plant rather than growing from seeds.
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Fresh lettuce is a traditional base for salads, but you can also add them to smoothies or use the leaves as a bread replacement. If you have a large window and live in a locale that gets plenty of sunshine during the winter, you can try your hand at growing fresh greens inside. You’ll need a little bit more space and the lettuce requires some TLC, but the results will be worth it!
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Known for its anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting and cold-fighting properties, ginger is a delicious addition to a variety of recipes including soups, elixirs, gluten-free baked goods, tinctures, salad dressings and other condiments. Bring that culinary power indoors by growing your own, which you can do using store-bought organic ginger root and a pot of soil. Growing ginger takes longer than some of the other foods we’ve mentioned here, though they do say that patience is a wonderful virtue to have.
These easy foods to grow indoors allows you to explore growing your own food all year long. And who knows – after you achieve success inside, you may want to expand to the balcony, patio, backyard or community garden!