Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The one about Wheat Grass.

I had a friend ask for more info about our new found wheat grass growing hobby.  I'd had the idea to start one new container a day for a week, just because I'm a nerd and I love how fast this stuff grows and I thought it would be cool to see what it actually looked like each day for a week and compare it too the others.  Anyway, the request just made me decide to do the one a day idea.

I first learned about wheat grass from a guy I used to work with.  He and his fiance grew buckets of it to use as decor at their wedding.  It looked awesome so I decided I was going to copy their idea at my wedding, even though I hadn't even met Paul yet.  But when Paul and I got engaged and he suggested Green and White as our wedding colors because of our last names, it reminded me of the wheat grass.  So we did it and I really liked how it looked.  I'd always only thought of it as ornamental, like a house plant, but not to eat.  It wasn't until a month or so ago that I thought of buying it again.  We were planning to plant a garden so I thought it would be fun to let Garrett grow some just to introduce the garden idea to him.  This stuff grows so fast, I figured it would keep his attention and he'd enjoy watering it everyday.  It only needs to be watered with a squirt bottle which made it even more fun for Garrett.

When I got online to order it I started to read all about it's health benefits.  It's so good for you!  I've never seen it before in stores.  There's a guy at our little friday farmers market that sells it but it's already sprouted and pretty expensive.  I happened to remember where I ordered it for our wedding so I got it at the same place again.  It's a Utah based company, and if I remember right, Paul went and picked it up for our wedding, but they ship.  The website is wheatgrasskits.com.  I just order the seeds.  No trays or kit items.  This stuff will grow anywhere (left in a bowl, on a damp paper towel) so I see no need to buy their growing trays. Click HERE for the seeds we order.  We started with the 5lb. pre-measured for $7.50.

It doesn't taste great, but it's not bad.  It tastes like a fresh cut lawn smells.  I ate a couple blades of it, but knew that wouldn't be a good long term plan, and I knew the kids wouldn't eat it like that.  So I decided to add it to our smoothies and it worked great.  It's not as tasteless as spinach is in fruit smoothies, but it wasn't bad at all and Garrett still liked it.  It gave it almost a mild cucumber taste.  I've since started pureeing it and freezing it in cubes and I can hardly taste it in the smoothie when its been pre-pureed and frozen.  In fact, Paul made me a smoothie a few days ago and I drank some and then asked, "why didn't you use wheat grass this time?" and he said, "I did."  I know it probably loses some nutritional value when it's been frozen, but the fact that I can say "my kids eat spinach and wheat grass like it's ice cream" is good enough for me right now.

I posted my basic smoothie recipe a couple of weeks ago, but I've since tweaked it a bit.  (It changes everyday really)  I was using mostly frozen strawberries and then a little peach or a little banana.  Last week I found frozen mango chunks and frozen pineapple tidbits at Trader Joe's and adding these two and cutting back on strawberries makes it so much better!  I don't like pineapple fresh, but these frozen pieces add the best flavor, make it smoother, and in my opinion, masks the greens even better.  I've bought frozen mango before, really I've probably tried every fruit that's ever been sold frozen, but TJ's tastes the best and is equally priced or cheaper.

It's easy to plant and doesn't need a drain hole, in fact I think you're not supposed to use containers with drain holes.  I just use soup cans, mason jars, tins from the Target dollar section.  Next week we're going to plant some in plastic Easter egg halves in an egg carton, just for fun.

I won't go into the planting instruction because it'll come with the seeds, but it's simple and fool-proof.  Just soak them for twelve hours.  Sprinkle them on top of the dirt, and water 2-3 times a day with a squirt bottle.  The first couple of days you keep them covered with a wet newspaper or something.  I usually use TJ paper bags or just paper towels.  There you go, I just gave you all the instructions.

On to the pictures.  You may not think these week-of-wheat-grass pictures are cool, but I thought I'd share.

Planted 7 days ago.
Here it is out of the can.  Look how long and thick the roots are.  On about day 10, (the grass stops growing around that time and kinda gets limp.  We cup ours to puree on day 7 or 8) there will be about an inch of root along the bottom and it will have completely pushed the dirt up to fill in with roots.
 Planted 6 days ago.
 Planted 5 days ago.
 Planted 4 days ago.
 Planted 3 days ago.
 Can't see it well through the glass with the reflection, but notice the roots only 3 days in.
 Planted 2 days ago.
 And here it is under the damp towel.
 Planted yesterday.
 Yesterday's are just barely sprouting.
And here is the whole week shot so you can see the height difference in the first couple of days.

We've been at this for about 3 weeks and Garrett still loves helping with the squirt bottle.  And he loves touching it at about day 4 because it's kinda pokey.  And after day 4 it's just fun to run your hands over it because it's soft.  If you weren't convinced I was a nerd before, you probably are now.  But I promise if you have cans of wheat grass all over your kitchen, you'll play with it too.


Karl said...

"but the fact that I can say "my kids eat spinach and wheat grass like it's ice cream" is good enough for me right now."

Cracks me up! If I was a parent, I'd brag about that, too!

I just may start growing wheat grass because I'm about to pulling out my blender and start making smoothies for breakfast as it continues to get warmer.

Heidi Rogers said...

Thanks for the post Andrea! If I get up the energy I'll try this with Langdon. It would be fun to have an "alternative green" for our smoothies too.