The Wonders of Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass is a good source of potassium, dietary fiber and vitamins A, B6, C, E and K, among other things. And it’s easy to grow at home! Follow these tips to get your own batch growing.
Long called the nectar of the gods, wheatgrass is one of the most concentrated, natural sources of amino acids, proteins, enzymes, minerals, vitamins and trace elements known to man. It’s also the ultimate blood purifier, and all you need to do is throw some in a daily juice or smoothie. Simple! Here’s the rundown on growing one of the greatest additions to the ultimate health elixir at home.
How to Grow Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass likes a well-ventilated, shady area while sprouting, making it perfect for indoor growing. Once they reach about an inch tall, keep them in a well-lit area such as a windowsill. If you want to grow it outdoors, keep it out of direct sunlight. If you’re using grow lights, stick to low-wattage light bulbs.
Wheatgrass will grow better if you sprout it beforehand. Add a cup of seeds to a large jar or container and fill it with water. Make sure the seeds are totally covered and allow them to soak for 10-12 hours.
Strain the seeds through a fine-grade sieve or kitchen strainer and leave them to sit in the strainer for another 24 hours. Rinse the seeds in the strainer with running water every 4-6 hours or so. Your seeds will now begin to germinate.
Place a ½-in.-deep layer of coco in a tray measuring roughly 12- by 11-in. Spread an even-but-dense layer of seeds over the coco, ensuring you cover the entire surface of media. Coco or vermiculite are ideal types of media to use because of their superior water-holding capacities, and wheatgrass thrives when it is well-watered.
How densely you plant your seeds will determine the airflow through your grass. The grass generally takes up less room than the seed, so you should spread the seeds in a dense layer to make the most of your tray and yield.
The best way to determine the amount of seed required for your chosen tray is to add the dry seed and spread it densely across the bottom of the tray. If the grass is too dense, you could end up with some fungal growth.
This is harmless to you, but make sure you rinse it off before consumption. After you do this a few times, you’ll have a better idea about how many seeds to plant.
Water the seeds thoroughly at this stage—your media should be pretty saturated. Then cover the tray with a ventilated lid or paper that has been saturated with water.
If you opt for a paper cover, it’s important to keep the paper moist throughout the sprouting process, so be sure to spray it with water a few times a day to keep everything damp. To achieve a darker-colored wheatgrass, add a light touch of organic liquid fertilizer. Once your wheatgrass is about an inch high, you can remove the cover. Water the seedlings every few days until they are about 6-in. tall.
Harvesting Your Wheatgrass
When it comes to yield, the general rule of thumb is wheatgrass will yield about as much weight in grass as in grains planted. Once your wheatgrass reaches about 6-in. tall, you’re good to harvest, but technically you can harvest it whenever you like. Cut the wheatgrass just above the media. You can easily produce a second crop from your wheatgrass, just leave it alone once you’ve harvested and continue watering.
How to Eat Wheatgrass
Blend wheatgrass juice and drink it as a shot. Place a large handful into a juicer. A blender can also be used, but the juice must be strained before drinking to remove the pulp. Drink 1-2 oz. of wheatgrass liquid.
Use a food dehydrator to dry out a handful of fresh wheatgrass. Crush the wheatgrass into a powder using a mortar and pestle, place 1 tsp. of the powder into a mug, then pour boiling water over it. Allow it to steep for at least one minute.
Add apples and oranges to sweeten the taste of wheatgrass juice. Place a small bunch of wheatgrass, 2-3-in. in diameter, into a juicer. Add two sliced, peeled apples and one sliced, peeled orange. Blend until the liquid is the consistency of juice. Remove the pulp and discard it. Drink on an empty stomach.
Veg It Up
Combine wheatgrass juice with carrot juice for a vitamin-packed drink. Place a small bunch of wheatgrass that is 2/3-in. in diameter in a juicer. Add three carrots and ¼-cup water, then blend until it is the consistency of juice. Remove the pulp and discard it. Drink on an empty stomach.
Consult your doctor before drinking wheatgrass juice for a medical condition. Ann Wigmore, author of The Wheatgrass Book, suggests drinking 1-2 oz. of wheatgrass juice three times a week.