Once again, it’s time to blog about wheatgrass. This winter I’ve found myself in an abundance of grass, so much so that I’ve even made posts on facebook to give it away! I love having extra flats around for the grass is so vibrant. When it comes to harvesting, it’s now a simple 10 minute process. It probably takes more time to ‘synchronize’ with the juice than it does to make it and cleanup.
If you haven’t ever had a sip of this stuff, you don’t know that it moves you so deep that it will make your whole body quiver. I guess the closest feeling is a shot of pure tequila, but there is no burning sensation. So, each time I press an ounce or so to drink, I pick up the shot and let my body harmonize with the juice before I down it. During that time, while I’m holding it, I’ll notice my body preparing. I might get the sniffles, saliva might start to flow or my stomach might growl or turn (in a good way) so I’ve learned that this is a process by which my body synchronizes with this powerful substance.
I’ve you’ve experienced the quiver that you get after taking a shot of wheatgrass, you might want to give harmonizing with the juice a chance before downing it next time. I’m sure that if my body can adjust by simply holding it in my hand, you’re can too.
It was many years ago that I was first introduced to growing wheatgrass. When I did, I grew it for the seed rather than grass. Today, I like the grass better than the sprouted seeds and the grass is pretty easy to grow.
Through the beauty of YouTube, I’ve found a video by Paydes36 that really does a good job outlining how it’s done. So, rather than trying to type out the process, I’ll just include her videos here.
From Paydes36’s Channel:
I love her casual approach to sowing these seeds. She scoops and dumps the sprouted seed without a second thought or concern. Most people would be a little more careful, but as she demonstrates, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you – just do it.
Let’s review her steps through.
Step 1: Use organic wheat
It seems obvious, but to grow wheatgrass you have to get the type of wheat that will grow! So, you have to ask yourself, why did she make this comment? As it turns out, if you were to buy wheat somewhere, you’d probably find it as wheatberries or cracked wheat. The common use for these whole grains is in cooking – thus it doesn’t matter if the seed is alive or not. Well, to grow it, you’ve got to find living seed.
But don’t worry about it too much for any relatively ‘new’ seed will be alive and willing to grow. Most whole grain grocers carry living seeds and it’s pretty easy to test them. To do this, simply buy a small amount and start the growing process by soaking them and getting them to start sprouting. If the majority of them grow, chances are you’ll do fine with those seeds.
If you find yourself growing so much that you’ll being nickeled and dimed at the health food store, try a feed-store. And, look for Hard Red Winter Wheat. That variety seems to hold up pretty well.
Step 2: Soak Wheat
Here she recommends soaking for 12 hours, I’d lean more towards 8. Sensitive seeds tend to drown if soaked too long. You don’t want to start out with a bunch of dead seed.
Now, she breezes over the ‘sprouting’ process that happens in her bowl. She says to keep them covered and rinse them twice a day. This is good advice, but it’s a process where the most damage can be done to the sprouts.
To me, the most important thing to do is to make sure that the seeds never sit in standing water. If they do, they will mold (drown). If just a couple seeds go bad, it changes the entire batch. So, no standing water and shake them off the best you can.
I’ve always used sprouting jars. One mason jar can hold about 1 cup dry seeds (to start) and by the time they are ready to plant, you’ve got a full jar (4 cups that she talks about). With the jars, you have to use screen tops (or sprouting lids) so the air flows and when you rinse, you have to make sure to shake out all the extra water. One note of caution, don’t let the sprouts go too long in the jar for they will fill it tight. So tight in fact that you’ll have to dig them out. The seeds can take a lot of abuse, but that’s just a little too much.
Ok, she stopped counting her steps.
Next Step: Soil, use good compose
I’d have to agree. Use the best that you have and when you’re done with your tray of wheatgrass, recycle what you’ve used. But I wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying the soil. If you have some, use it.
Also, an inch deep is a good recommendation. What she’s showing in the video is not an inch of soil. Don’t skimp.
Oh, and the Azomite powder, not sure if it’s really needed. If it helps keep the mold down, great. But ultimately, the grass is going to feed off its own energy sources for the first 10 days or so of its life so what you add to enhance things might not give you the desired affects.
Next Step: Planting
I love her smile when she mentions it’s time to plant. It’s at this point that the ‘work’ behind growing the grass is done. From this point out, you kind of let time take over (and simply water).
Her advice about not being skimpy is – good advice! You’re taking all this time to grow the wheat, you might as well get a really good finished product.
Also, what she says about buying flats that are ‘shallow’ really are disappointing. You want to get 15 ounces juice from your tray, I’ve bought trays that barely product 8. That’s just a downright rip-off.
Next step: Watering
I like her advice of simply taking them outside and hosing them down. But be gentle, for those little seeds will wash away.
Next step: Covering
When I first saw that she used colored ink paper for covering your seeds, I thought that they were the funnies and it made me smile. Upon closer inspection, it simply looks like ads.
But if you’re not into giving your grass ads to read while it’s in its first couple days of growing, consider a brown grocery bag or paper towels. The plastic cover is a good idea.
Next step: Growing under paper
When she says cool dark place she really means dark place where the seeds won’t get roasted. It you place them in a really cool place, it’s going to take forever for them to start growing. If it’s warm, they’ll virtually jump out of their seeds.
When she says it take seven days from planting to harvesting, she means that it probably takes 10 days from soaking to harvesting. She makes this clear when she says ‘here’s planting’ as she holds up the tray of seeds that she just covered with plastic and ‘here’s harvesting’ as she places the tall wheatgrass tray on top for demonstration.
By the way, her demonstration tray looks absolutely beautiful! Don’t expect your trays to look this nice until you’ve practiced for a while. And, like she says, you don’t want to grow your grass too long. You want to catch it while it’s still converting carbohydrates (stored energy in the seed) into simple sugars. Thus, the grass will taste sweet rather than bitter. You simply won’t be able to drink much bitter juice!
Oh, harvesting – use scissors. Knives just don’t ‘cut it’.
If growing wheatgrass isn’t in the cards for you, if you ask around a bit in your community, you should be able to find someone that already grows it. If you do, I’d expect that you’d find it offered for under 1 dollar an ounce. In other words, if a tray produces 15 ounces juice, you should find it for no more than 15 bucks. If you’re buying larger amounts, you should be able to find it for 8 to 10 a flat.
For me, I’ve been blessed with a source – my father! My abundance this year is directly correlated to my dad’s industrious behavior. Earlier this year, he said that he was going to grow twice as much as last year. Well, last year I felt I got a great amount. This year, the trays are piling up! At this rate, I’m going to have to teach more people about the power of wheatgrass so they’ll want to come over when I offer up ‘free shots’.
So, if you’re going to grow wheatgrass, you’ll probably find that it’s easier than you think and when it comes to juicing, you’ll find that the taste will probably be superior to what you buy at a place like Jumba Juice.