Wheatgrass is a popular drink in juice bars or sold as powdered supplements at health food stores, but it can be rather expensive; this Instructable shows an easy and inexpensive alternative.
*Proponents of wheat grass make a lot of claims as to its nutritional benefits. Such as:
Wheatgrass is very is nutrient rich: 1lb of wheatgrass =23 lbs. of vegetables** (a great way to get your 3-5 servings of vegetables a day)
its detoxifying , prevents tooth decay
cancer and cardiovascular disease preventive
and is high in phyto nutrients, chlorophyl
I have no intention to promote or refute these claims this instructable will just show you how to grow the stuff.
**Meyerowitz, Steve (April 1999). "Nutrition in Grass", Wheatgrass Nature's Finest Medicine: The Complete Guide to Using Grass Foods & Juices to Revitalize Your Health, 6th Edition, Book Publishing Company, 53. ISBN 1878736973.
Step 1: Materials:
Growing tray with drainage holes- (I use an 8X4inch tray I got from a cat grass kit), you can get greenhouse trays from gardening shops, cafeteria trays, those plastic microwave diner containers, seedling containers (its better if it isn't very deep so you don't need as much soil to fill it)
soil, and/or compost, and/or vermiculite
clean container for soaking seeds, eg. mason jar
measuring spoon (tbsp.)
optional: clear plastic food container i.e.) berry container see picture if you are not sure what I mean, you may also need tape and scissors if you have to adjust size to fit growth tray.
scissors or knife for harvesting grass
Step 2: Step 2: Soak
soak ~2tbsp seeds in water for 8-12 hours at room temperature, I use a clean mason jar (or any other container you have on hand) to soak them in.
Make sure there is enough water to cover seeds and then some.
This amount of seeds is good for an 8X4inch tray so if using a different size tray adjust accordingly.
Step 3: Step 3: Prepare Growing Tray
a)clean growing tray with soap and water or if you would like; sterilize with bleach (1 part liquid bleach to 9 parts water)-rinse well.
b)Add ~1/2-1 inch of soil, compost or vermiculite or any combination of these three.
I've found the best growth using a mixture of compost and vermiculite.
Step 4: Step 4: Planting
a)water growth tray so soil is quite moist
b)drain water from the container soaking seeds
c)spread seeds evenly over the surface of growth tray so you have a single layer of seeds, make sure they are not bunched up -can be tricky since the seeds stick together when wet. Press down to ensure seeds make contact with soil and sprinkle some loose soil on top as well.
d)place in a bright spot near a window or outside, but not in direct sunlight. (Artificial light can be used as well).
e) (optional)To keep the soil moist during the early stages of growth you can use the clear plastic container like a greenhouse. Remove any labels and make sure its clean enough to let light through. You may need to cut and tape several together, as I have in order to accommodate the size of the growing tray. A clear plastic bag can be used as well. Poke holes in it to provide airflow and place over growing tray. It is also useful in keeping cats out because they will love to have some wheatgrass too.
Step 5: Step 5: Its Growing
You may need to adjust height of plastic cover as grass gets taller, by propping it up with something ie. I used Lego; this will lessen its effectiveness of keeping the moisture in but still good for keeping kitty out.
The rate of growth may vary somewhat depending on the amount of light, temperature, soil, etc. so you may want to experiment to see which works best for you.
-liquid fertilizer or compost tea could be added to boost growth
-you could use less soil because you just need enough for short term growth since only the first growth is used, once the grass is cut for use it will grow back but has less nutritional value.
-you can also grow on just paper towels with no soil at all, just make sure it stays moist and doesn't dry out.
-if you don't water enough the grass starts to yellow and the blades thin -not very good for juicing
-if there is too much moisture mold can form on the soil. If this happens, when your harvesting make sure you cut higher on the grass blade or if you want to play it safe don't use it at all since mold can trigger allergic reactions in some people. Also sterilize the growth tray with bleach if you will be reusing it.
-to prevent mold from forming, water less, don't cover the growth tray with the plastic container, and/or place growth tray where there is more air flow, like an open window, also try adding more drainage holes
-once you know how long it takes for it to grow and how long it takes for you to consume you can stagger several trays so you have a continuous supply of wheatgrass.
-wheatgrass also looks very pretty, so if you find a nice ceramic or clay pot to grow it in, you could use it decoratively.
Step 6: Step 6: Harvest Time
I just use a knife (scissors work too), grab a handful of grass and cut close to the roots (cut carefully we don't want to cut any fingers with it).
Just cut however much you need and let the rest continue to grow. The grass that you've cut will grow back but the second growth has much less nutritional value. Its best to use only the first growth for juicing. I usually give the rest to my cat to eat or just compost it.
Step 7: Step 7: Juicing
Wheatgrass is fibrous and indigestible by humans, so it must be juiced in order to be consumed.
Harvest, juice and consume immediately for best nutritional benefit.
Proponents of wheatgrass recommend one ounce glass of straight wheatgrass daily, first thing in the morning.
1. low budget method -chew blades of grass and spit out fibre
2. If you have a regular centrifugal juicer, use that (at a low speed); however, some of the live enzymes in the wheatgrass will be destroyed (denatured by the heat) hence losing nutritional value.
3. Get a wheatgrass (masticating) juicer they can be either manual with a hand crank or electric. These do not hurt those living enzymes.
The yield varies with the type of juicer you use. You may need to use a larger growth tray or have more trays growing at the same time to ensure an adequate supply of wheatgrass juice for your needs.
As a warning, if you haven't tried wheatgrass before, it is sickly sweet and tastes like grass, so I recommend blending with other fruits or vegetables
lemon juice (juice a few slices of lemon with the wheatgrass)
add water to fill an 8oz glass
-the tartness of the lemon helps counteract the sweetness of the wheatgrass
This provides you with your greens and your beta-carotene all in one drink
Here are a few more:
ps: this is my first instructable let me know how I can improve