How to grow and juice your own wheatgrass – cleansing and strengthening

30 Jan
Wheatgrass ready to harvest (day 8-9)

Wheatgrass ready to harvest (day 8-9; 7 or 9 inches)

The restoration and detoxification properties of Wheatgrass have been used extensively for healing the human body of chronic diseases and other ailments. It has apparently even been used to restore the sex hormones of infertile cows in the Midwest! Wheatgrass juice is extremely high in chlorophyll (which has a very similar structure to hemoglobin which carries oxygen in the blood), in fact 70% by mass, and it contains over 100 elements and 92 minerals useful to the body- including B17 (also known as laetrile, said to destroy cancer cells). It is extremely rich in vitamins and minerals that are claimed to be hard to obtain on a veg/an diet such as B12, B2, zinc, iron, and protein. Wheatgrass has been uncovered to be an extremely powerful antioxidant due to its chlorophyll content which neutralizes toxins in the body, cleanses the liver and oxygenates the blood. It has even been shown to act as a powerful tool in fighting tumors, stimulating the thyroid gland, lessening the effects of radiation, and can also restore alkalinity to bodily fluids (according to the Hippocrates Health Institute). Wheatgrass has beneficial enzymes which are the driving forces of healing and almost every biochemical reaction in the human body, making it beneficial in rejuvenating cells to slow the ageing process, speed up recovery and soothe a wide range of topical skin conditions.
When grown and kept indoors (organically), it has been said that this amazing grass can purify and add oxygen to the air!

We have been growing our own wheatgrass indoors this cold Canadian winter, and  are having amazing success; both with yield and low mould growth- which is usually caused by poor air circulation, over-watering, and high humidity. We have a continual airflow next to our growing area and three full spectrum lights that happily feed the chlorophyll rich grass. *You do not need to use grow lights to grow wheatgrass. You can simply put the trays in front of a sunny south-facing window, it might just take a few days longer* Our ‘yield’ has been correlated to germination rates, density of seeds per square inch, and growth rate. I have experience growing wheatgrass at an organic sprout farm in British Columbia, Canada, and I’m using a very similar approach to planting and harvesting as they did. I learned a lot about how to aid the germination in the first few days of planting, as well as how to water to avoid getting rot or mould. The process for planting inside on a much smaller scale makes the scenario a little different, but we played around with variables such as the soaking times, the sprouting time, how long to leave the wheatgrass covered with newspaper and weights, and then how long of a growing cycle before cutting and harvesting. We have been perfecting our own ‘grow-op’ for a few months now and we found that we need to rotate and start a new batch to have a tray in each stage, every 2-3 days.

Overall, you can save a very large amount of money by growing wheatgrass yourself. Purchasing dried or frozen packets can be pricey as can fresh shots at the farmer’s market or juice bar. In our experience, one shot costs in the area of $3.00. To grow one shot costs us somewhere around $0.30. That is a drastic difference if you already have seeding trays and grow lights. The process is very easy and if you like other types of sprouting then this will be a breeze! The  measurements we use below pertain to a 20″ X 10″ tray, planted in about 1-2″ of soil. The process we explain is just how we have been doing it, there are many variations and I encourage you to play around with different variables to see what works best for you.

Organic hard-red wheat kernels purchased from health food store (3lbs for $2.95)

Organic hard-red wheat kernels purchased from health food store (3lbs for $2.95)

  • Step 1: Soaking
  • Step 2: Sprouting
  • Step 3: Planting with covers
  • Step 4: Uncover and expose to ‘sunlight’
  • Step 5: Harvesting
  • Step 6: Juicing

1. Soaking:

Soaking the wheat kernels for 8-12 hours (day 1)

Soaking the wheat kernels for 8-12 hours (day 1)

 The first step to growing wheatgrass is to measure out about 1 cup of ‘hard red wheat kernels’ and put them in a glass jar. Then put screen or mesh over the jar with an elastic band (using a mason jar with a sprouting lid helps a lot for rinsing and clean-up). Let the kernels soak overnight or for 8-12 hours, changing the water about halfway through (optional). When they have finished soaking, pour out and rinse them well.

2. Sprouting:

Sprouting kernels in mason jar (day 2-3) - white roots starting to sprout

Sprouting kernels in mason jar (day 2-3) – white roots starting to sprout

 After the wheatgrass kernels have been soaking overnight to remove the germination inhibitors, you can now start sprouting the kernels. We try to spread out the seeds as much as possible in the jar by rotating it so that they are not in one large clump. Then rest the jar on an angle inside of a bowl or dish to catch the water as it drips out. The rule of thumb that we follow for watering is once in the morning and once in the evening, but if your kernels are dry during the day, give them a quick rinse.  After two days or so, once the little white ‘tails’ or roots appear, you can then get ready to plant them into your trays.

3. Planting with Covers:

Using the wet newspaper to cover the kernels, keeping them from light and to keep them humid (day 3-4)

Using the wet newspaper to cover the kernels, keeping them from light and to keep them humid (day 3-4)

After the sprouts have exposed their roots, we take one of our planting trays (no draining holes) and fill it about halfway up with organic, potting soil, with sustainable harvested peat (the peat is very important for the nutrients required from the wheat grass). This image above shows about 1″ or more of soil, which is then tamped lightly. Pour the seeds out of your sprouting jar onto the soil and spread evenly. You can see how dense we have planted them, if you sprout more than 1 cup, you can make it grow even thicker. We then water the seeds and soil very well, making everything quite moist (we water using a large juice bottle that we poked holes in the lid to allow a nice shower spray when we squeeze the container). Next, water both sides of a section of newspaper (probably best to use a piece that has low amounts of colored ink…) and rest it onto the sprouting seeds. * Keep this newsprint damp for the 1.5 – 2 days of covered growth. This process allows all the kernels to root, germinate, and start to leaf at the same time. We found that not covering allowed the wheatgrass to grow at many different rates, sometimes some were finished as others were just starting to leaf.

4. Uncover and expose to ‘sunlight’:

Wheatgrass just uncovered (day 5)

Wheatgrass just uncovered (day 5)

After the weights are removed, somewhere around day 5, this is what your baby grass should look like! You can see how the roots have taken to the soil and allowed all grass to remain slightly white, since there has been a lack of light for chlorophyll building. Within the next few days, the wheatgrass will grow extremely fast! 

Step 5: Harvesting:

You can see the double leaf at the sheath of the wheatgrass. This is an example of being a little too mature, but is still usable.

You can see the double leaf at the sheath of the wheatgrass. Ideally it is recommended to cut just before second leafing.

Around 8-10 inches tall, about day 9

Around 7-10 inches tall, about day 9

Harvesting really depends on the method and type of wheat kernels you use. For us, we use grow lights and hard red kernels, have a very warm temperature, and moderate airflow. When the white sheath at the base of the stalk begins to grow a second grass leaf, and the wheatgrass is somewhere around 7-10 inches tall, this is our technique to monitor a good height/time to harvest. Harvesting is done with scissors or a knife. We use scissors as it is much easier to grab the bases of the grass, small clusters at a time, and like cutting hair snip it about 1/2″ from the soil. Next, rest it in a plastic seal-able container or tray if storing- just cut wheatgrass can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 12-24 hours, while the fresh juice is best consumed within 15 minutes to prevent oxidation and nutrient loss.

Step 6: Juicing

First you put the grass into the feeder and as you crank, it presses out all the juices into the small glass below.

First you put the grass into the feeder and as you crank, it presses out all the juices into the small glass below (Frodo is helping us out- wheatgrass is also cat grass!)

Juicing the freshly cut grass is fun and a great work-out! Just load the grass into the feeder opening of the juicer (we use a hurricane manual juicer, from ‘The Handy Pantry”) in about a handful size at a time. Just spin the crank and let the juicer press all the dark green chlorophyll juices into a small shot glass, placed beneath the drip holes. The pulp will come out separately at the end of the auger and into a bowl or dish you place under it. Next… take take a shot of your freshly pressed, home grown, and very nutritious wheatgrass juice! Bon Appetite!

If you have any questions, comments, or tips, please like and comment below. We would love to hear different variations and pointers for do it yourself wheatgrass.

-A & K



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