What works best for harvesting Microgreens?
Whenever it comes down to harvesting your Microgreens, there are two main ways most people go about it! You can grab you a pair of Scissors or a Sharp Knife! If you real fancy and can afford it, there is also a $560 “Quick-Cut Greens Harvester”, though I’d opt for a small set of hedge trimmers before going that route… Just make sure if you go the mechanical harvester way, that you use a food-safe oil to lubricate the friction points!
In this blog, we are going to focus on Scissors versus Knives, and in a separate blog we’ll discuss the mechanical harvesters!
Let’s start off with Scissors, which have been around for thousands of years… Check out these scissors that are thought to be around 2,000 years old! We wonder if they were also using them to harvest Microgreens??? If only we had time-travel…
When it comes to Scissors, you want ones that are very sharp! Put away those multi-colored dull scissors we used as kids and find you some that have a nice sharp edge to them (Like These) … The main reason is that if you use a dull edged scissor, you will end up crushing the stems which quickens the decay process… At least that is what we have noticed in our experience with dull scissors!
Think of it this way; scissors cut through stems by pinching the crop on its sharp blades as it compresses. As the plant tissues are smashed, they release their cell contents. This bruising caused by pinching can shorten the shelf life of the product, potentially.
When you find a good pair of scissors they can be just as effective as a good knife for harvesting your microgreens, especially if your only harvesting a little at a time. If you have A LOT of microgreen trays to harvest and/or you are selling your microgreens, we highly recommend going with a knife or mechanical harvester. The reason being is over time you’ll develop hand cramps with scissors, generally experience slower harvest times and they are harder to clean, sanitize and sharpen when they get dull.
Personally, we prefer the simplicity of a Sharpened knife that glides through the Microgreens like butter. Of course, this is only our opinion, but we find that using a sharp knife to harvest is easier on the hands and wrists over time, especially if you’re harvesting a few trays. Sharp knives make clean cuts and do not pinch water-conducting vessels the way scissors can.
(Tip: one of our followers shared: If you use a ceramic knife, it does not react to the chemicals in the microgreens stem. Thus, it is less likely to oxidize and brown the stem at the point of cutting.)
We also prefer knives as it gives you the chance to get up close and personal with your crops to check as you harvest the microgreens for any signs of decay or disease you may have not noticed. On top of being easy to use, we find knives much easier to clean, sharpen and sanitize compared to Scissors! Really, the only downside is being careful not to cut yourself!
Once you pick your personal favorite harvesting tool, remember to take care of it… Just like anything in life, if you want it to last, you should spend the time maintaining it! We always clean and sanitize our tools after harvesting and sharpen the blade after every 2 to 3 harvests to prevent from having a dull and grabby blade on your next harvest day. Here's the tool we recommend for sharpening your knife (sharpener) !
The green handled knife we love and recommend to everyone comes very sharp straight out of the package but does not include a lasting knife sheath to protect the blade and you… The best way we’ve found to store our harvesting tools is by using a magnetic metal bar that we have attached to the wall!
We hope this helps with your current or future harvests!! As always, we appreciate your support, so let us know if you have any questions or suggestions for future blogs that we should write!
Until next time,
On The Grow
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Written by: Mandi Warbington
Edited by: CJ Vaughn
Published: September 3, 2021
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