What is wheat grass and why is it getting so much buzz? Some tout the food as a cure all for any ailment we face. It’s sold in powders, juices, malts, freeze dried and fresh with each package extolling the benefits of making this part of a daily routine. What is wheatgrass really worth as a nutrient though?
Well, the truth is a little less glamorous that sellers make it sound. The truth is that wheatgrass is just a food like any other. Now, as far as food goes, wheatgrass has many superior qualities and actually does provide us with a fantastic level of nutrition per calorie. Read below to learn just what wheatgrass is, how to use it, and even how to grow it yourself.
What Is Wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass is made from the first seed leaves of the wheat plant. These embryonic leaves have incredibly valuable nutrients as they contain all the energy and nutrients necessary to produce a fully grown wheat plant. Interestingly, when answering the question of “what is wheatgrass,” the one thing it isn’t is gluten!
That’s right! Believe it or not, wheatgrass is definitely gluten free. This is because wheatgrass is harvested before the wheat seeds start to form. Since the seeds are where the gluten is found, those who have celiac or are avoiding gluten can safely enjoy the health benefits of wheatgrass without the worry of causing health problems from gluten.
How to Use Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass is consumed in juice form. Once you cut the blades of grass, they are put into a juicer, sometimes alone and sometimes with other fruits and veggies. The taste of wheatgrass is very strong, so some people prefer to add it to their blended smoothies.
Don’t worry if you do not have a juicer. You can also juice wheatgrass in a blender with a bit of water. Simply chop the blades of wheatgrass so they don’t get tangled in the bottom of the blender, add half a cup of water and pulse it on high until the liquid forms a nice green hue. Then, just pour the liquid through a filter to remove the pulp and presto! Fresh, homemade wheatgrass juice.
How to Grow Your Own Wheatgrass
The fresher your wheat grass is, the better. So, most people just grow it themselves and harvest it as they use it. What is wheatgrass cultivation like? Pure fun!
Here are the steps to growing your own sprouts:
- Soak your seeds for 24 hours in cool, clean water. For best results, you should change the water out every 8 hours or so. Within 24 to 30 hours, you should notice that they are starting to sprout.
- Fill your tray with your soil or other growing medium. You only need about in inch thickness of soil.
- Place your germinated seeds evenly across the top of the growing medium.
- Make sure your tray is in a spot where it’s only getting indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight could hurt your seedlings.
- Also, make sure the location is well ventilated to prevent mold in your growing medium.
- Water your seeds twice a day with a spray bottle set to mist.
How to Harvest Wheatgrass
You can harvest your wheatgrass when it grows to about 6 or 7 inches tall. Just use a pair of scissors to cut the grass right above seed level. If you snip them just right, you should be able to grow one or two more crops from the same seeds.
For best results, you should harvest your wheatgrass right before you juice it, as nutrients tend to degrade once you pick a plant. After all, what is wheatgrass if not a source of the freshest green juice in the world?
How to Store Wheatgrass
The easiest way to store wheat grass is just to let it grow and snip it as you use it. Sometimes this option isn’t practical though. In this case, you can cut your wheatgrass and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also store your wheatgrass in baggies, but some people prefer not to use storage containers made of plastic because the plastics can leech into your food. You can store freshly snipped wheatgrass in the refrigerator for up to seven days, although it looses some of its nutrients as the days pass.
You can also store wheatgrass juice, but it should never be kept in the refrigerator because it will spoil quickly–within hours. Instead, store excess wheatgrass in the freezer. You can pour it into ice cube trays to make easy serving sizes. When thawing it out for use, thaw it quickly instead of on the counter or in the refrigerator, because it will spoil within just an hour or so of being thawed.
What Is Wheatgrass Juice Nutritional Content?
What is wheatgrass juice worth to the body nutritionally? This is up to debate, but it’s easy to measure the nutritional value of the plant. Wheatgrass juice contains Vitamins A, C, E, K and B6. It also has a full range of minerals such as iron, copper, selenium, zinc, and manganese and plenty of potassium. Some people claim that wheatgrass contains many times the nutritional value of other vegetables, but this simply isn’t true. It’s actually equivalent to any other dark leafy greens.
That being said, it’s still very worth your time and effort to grow and consume wheatgrass since these nutrients are very important in our diets. During the winter, growing wheatgrass sprouts ensures that you always have a fresh source of dark leafy green vegetable nutrients. In addition, wheatgrass has chlorophyll, which is very helpful for aiding normal blood coagulation, hormone balance and healing of wounds. It also helps to reduce inflammation due to normal aging or autoimmune problems.
Those who use wheatgrass regularly love the health benefits it brings and ultimately learn to love the taste, which is admittedly strong. Have you ever tried wheatgrass before? Do you enjoy the taste? What benefits has it brought to your health?