The most common question I receive when it comes to growing wheat grass for wheat grass juice at home is how to handle mold. Yes, it is true, at some point when you grow wheat grass for wheat grass juice you will encounter mold. Although I am not a commercial sprouter nor am I a commercial wheat grass grower, I have a very close client/friend who grows wheat grass commercially on a small scale and he has given me a few pointers that have worked to combat mold while growing wheat grass for wheat grass juice. These pointers have helped people all over the world from my clients in hot, humid NY to clients in even more humid Singapore. We are now all growing wheat grass for wheat grass juice without also growing mold.
The Problem of Mold and Wheat Grass for Wheat Grass Juice
Very simply, mold is a product of temperature and moisture. Control these two elements and you have beaten mold. While growing wheat grass generates a metabolic heat, just like you and I have a metabolic temperature of around 98.6 degrees farenheit, wheat grass has a metabolic heat while growing. Combine that heat with the moisture from the soil or the root mat or the growing medium and you get a perfect scenario for growing mold.
The Solution for Not Growing Mold While Growing Wheat Grass for Wheat Grass Juice
So how do you change the scenario? Lower the temperature of the growing grass. Commercial sprouters have these huge wall sized fans that they use to lower the temperature once the seeds have germinated. After germination takes place, the fans go on, the room temperature is lowered and the wheat grass grows without any mold.
To get the same result at home, you can point a fan directly onto the trays of wheat grass. You can also put the trays of wheat grass inside the refrigerator for a few hours each day or overnight. This will lower the temperature of the growing wheat grass.
Another helpful hint is to lessen the amount of seed you use per tray. The less seed, the less growing wheat grass and the more room for air circulation. The air circulation around the growing grass helps to keep the temperature down.
Sometimes soil is the problem. Soil brings with it mold issues. So use a good soil and be prepared to get rid of it when it creates its own mold.
Another benefit of reducing the temperature of the growing wheat grass is that these methods will also eliminate or lessen the fruit flies. Fruit flies are attracted to the growing wheat grass because of the warmth and the moisture. Reduce the temperature and fruit flies go away.
In the first part of Growing Wheat Grass for Wheat Grass juice we discussed the number one issue when it comes to growing wheat grass at home - mold and how not to grow that along with the grass. This part of the discussion will talk just a little bit about what wheat grass is and why people use it.
Wheat grass is the cotyledon of the wheat seed. It is an embyonic first leaf of the wheat seedling. It is embryonic because everything needed to get that first tall blade of grass is right in the seed itself. You just need to add the correct amount of water at the correct temperature in order to get wheat grass for wheat grass juice. The seed will take care of itself from that point.
As the wheat grass seedling matures and wants to grow into a full wheat plant, then it starts to create its first true leaf from the nutrients it has absorbed through its root system and sunlight. By this time, however, for our purposes, we have already cut and juiced the wheat grass to use as wheat grass juice.
Why People Drink Wheat Grass Juice
Drinking the juice from wheat grass is very beneficial for good health. It is a good source of digestible protein (although it should not be our only source of protein), it contains vitamins and minerals, as well as chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the stuff that makes the grass green. It is made by the plant through a process called photosynthesis from the energy of the sun. It is believed that the action of the chlorophyll on our bodies is helpful to us in many ways. It helps to keep our blood healthy, detoxes the liver and helps keep our colon functioning properly.
You know when you read about eating dark leafy green veggies? Wheat grass juice is included in that category along with other sprouts like alfalfa, clover, sunflower, and buckwheat. Diets of all types including anti-cancer, anti-diabetes, weight-loss and many others motivate us to eat more dark leafy green veggies. A good way to get those dark leafy green veggies into us is by juicing wheat grass.
Forms of Wheat Grass Juice
There are many ways to get wheat grass juice for consumption. We can grow it ourselves at home; we can find a local grower; we can have it delivered to us by a company; wheat grass is available as tablets as well as frozen or freeze-dried. If you decide to grow it yourself or to purchase it in flats already grown, you will need to purchase a special wheat grass juicer to get the juice. You can also use a high-speed blender. But be certain to cut the grass into smaller pieces so that the blades of grass do not wrap themselves around the cutting mechanism. And a blender needs water, too. So put some water into the container first, then the chopped up blades of wheat grass, then turn it on.
Many people like to mix the wheat grass juice with other veggies or even fruits. This is fine but I think you should keep it green. Mix the wheat grass with other green veggies like celery, spinach, kale or even cucumber. When you mix a green veggie with a fruit often your body doesn't know how to process it correctly and gets all mixed up. So keep it green!
After some general discussion about Wheat Grass Juice, let's get into the nutrition of the juice itself.
The information below is for 100 g of Wheat Grass Juice. 100 g is about 3.5 ounces of Wheat Grass Juice. A typical serving is 2 ounces.
|Calories 21.0 Cal
Carbohydrates 2.0 g
Fat 0.06 g
Sodium 10.3 mg
Iron 0.61 mg
Folic Acid 29 mcg
Dietary Fiber <
Glucose 0.80 g
Calcium 24.2 mg
Magnesium 24 mg
Selenium < 1
Potassium 147 mg
Zinc 0.33 mg
Phosphorus 75.2 mg
|Vitamin A 427 IU
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.08 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) 0.11 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 6.0
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCI) 0.2 mg
Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) < 1
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) 3.65 mg
Vitamin E 15.2 IU
Choline 92.4 mg
Since wheat grass juice is a plant these are very accessible form of nutrients.
Some Controversy on Wheat Grass Juice and Gluten
Most everywhere you look, purveyors of Wheat Grass Juice will tell you that it does not contain Gluten. That people with illnesses which are sensitive to this wheat based protein are safe to drink the juice or to take other forms such as tablets and powders. And here, Sprout Lady Rita differs.
Based only on the interaction I have with people who have MS, celiac and other gluten intolerant disorders - I strongly advise to you - stay away from Wheat Grass Juice and Barley Grass Juice. These juices have caused flare-ups of the disorders in my clients as they have reported to me. When they remove the wheat grass juice from their diets and increase juices from alfalfa, clover and other non-wheat based seeds, they reduce flare-ups by a great number to almost eliminating them at least based upon eating gluten foods.
Yes, it is true that I also have clients that tell me that wheat grass juice causes no flare-ups or troubles at all.
So what to do? Listen to your own body. Experiment if you want to but make certain you take the wheat grass juice in very small amounts to start and note very carefully any changes in your own body. I know from my discussions with clients that each individual shows symptoms in different ways and at different times. You know your own body. Just take care while experimenting with wheat grass juice. Please note: Gluten in also found in Barley Grass, Oat Grass, Rye Grass, Kamut Wheat and Soft Wheat. At one time, thousands of years ago, there was just the Wheat plant and through changes we now have the others but they are all based upon the wheat plant so they all have gluten.
What is the Dosage for Wheat Grass Juice?
Wheat Grass Juice should be taken on an empty stomach 30 minutes before you eat or drink anything else.
Dosages are 4 ounces each day for basic health maintenance - 2 ounces in the morning and 2 ounces in the evening. Therapeutic dosages start at 8 ounces a day taken in small amounts throughout.
If you are new to wheat grass juice or if you are ill and not feeling well, start with very small amounts, like a teaspoon. I have some clients whose bodies react even to the smallest amount of wheat grass juice. Build up to the 2 ounce size very slowly. Listen and watch how your own body reacts to the wheat grass juice.
I am NOT an expert on juicers -neither regular fruit and veggie juicers nor wheat grass juicers.
I am going to attempt to take some information about wheat grass juicers and lay it out so that there is some sort of basic understanding of this tool. But....I am NOT an expert on juicers.
There are two types of wheat grass juicers: manual and electric.
Manual Wheat Grass Juicers
Manual juicers look like old-fashioned meat grinders. As a matter of fact, some people refer to the manual juicer as a grinder. They attach to the table top and you feed in the grass at the top, turn the grinder, the blades of grass wrap themselves around the auger (it looks like a great big screw) and out comes juice from one way and pulp from another.
Simple and easy to use, these juicers are the most affordable on the market. They do take some extra time and effort in comparison to the electric juicers and will help you build up muscles in your arms as you grind the grass. But they require no electricity.
They are usually available in tin plate over cast iron and stainless steel. The tin plate over cast iron is going to be somewhat less expensive then the stainless steel variety. Go for the stainless steel one. Because they are much easier to keep clean, they are more hygienic and they do not rust. If you do not clean and very carefully dry the tin plate over cast iron version, you will get rust and they are difficult to clean.
Electric Wheat Grass Juicers
Electric juicers come in all shapes, sizes and prices. But they can be divided into two groups of how they get the juice from the fruit, veggie or grass. Juicers are either masticating or centrifugal.
Centrifugal juicers use high speeds of a spinning motion. You shove the fruit or veggie down and the fruit or veggie is ground to a pulp and that pulp is spun around. The spinning action forces the juice from the pulp.
Masticating juicers grind, mash and squish up the fruit or veggie much like our back teeth grind, mash and squish our food. They use low energy and very low speeds. Wheat grass juicers fall into this category as the juicers wrap the blades of grass around and then squeezes the juice out.
Some juicers are classifed around their augers. An auger looks like a great big screw. And the blades of grass wrap themselves around the inside of the screw turns. They are then pressed to release the juice. Augers are a type of masticating juicer specifically designed for wheat grass. There are single augers and dual screw presses.
A process is only as strong as its weakest link. It's great to have a juicer and to begin the journey to better health whether you are juicing wheat grass or regular fruits and veggies. However, if the juicer you choose is not easy to clean, then you won't use it. Trust me on this. I know this from my own experience as well as from discussing juicers with my clients. I can't tell you how many juicers are in people's closets only because they are difficult to clean. Take the time to find out about how easy or not a juicer is to clean. It is a very important aspect of juicing. You will come to love juicing and come to hate the clean-up.
I love juicing but I hate the clean-up. Can't stand taking apart the machine because I am frightend that I will never be able to put it back together again. When my son was a baby I was certain that I would lock him in the highchair or car seat or stroller because I would be unable to unlock the straps that kept him safe. So, too, with the juicers. If I take this apart will I get it back together again? And how much time is this going to take? Just some questions you may want to ask before you pay out a lot of money for a juicer.