Wheatgrass is grown indoors on trays for seven to 10 days and then squeezed for its juice. The sprouted grains of wheat, sometimes called wheat berries, are high in chlorophyll. Wheatgrass juice is popular among alternative health enthusiasts and is found increasingly on the menu of juice bars. There are no clinical studies of the efficacy of the numerous claims of its purported medicinal and therapeutic benefits.
Wheatgrass can be grown on cafeteria trays or plastic growing trays available in garden supply centers. An ideal tray should be about 3 inches deep; trays can be made of plastic, steel or wood. Wheatgrass can be grown in clay pots with or without holes. It can be grown in a warm greenhouse or indoors.
Soak unpolished grains of wheat overnight in water. Spread the soaked grains over a 2 1/2-inch layer of soil on the growing tray. Cover the tray with newspaper or another tray to keep the sprouting grains in the dark.
Spray the sprouting grains daily. Do not allow them to get totally soaked. In about three days, when the wheatgrass is a couple of inches tall, remove the cover and put the wheat where it gets indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight will dry it out. The indirect sunlight will transform the yellow wheatgrass sprouts into a vivid green.
The rapidly growing wheatgrass should be harvested before it has time convert simple sugars into complex carbohydrates, enzymes, proteins and vitamins. The grass should be cut and juiced when it is about 8 inches tall when it begins to form joints where the grass divides. This usually happens in about seven to nine days.
Cut the grass about 1/2 inch above the soil with a clean pair of scissors. Helen Coleman, in a Health Care Reality Check FAQ of the National Council Against Health Fraud, says juice from wheatgrass harvested at this point contains 19 amino acids, beta carotene, the B vitamins, vitamins C, E, H and K and 90 different minerals.
Juicing enthusiasts say that the best juicers are hand-cranked. Electric juicers should be under 50 rpm. Blenders or high speed juicers are discouraged on the grounds that they add oxygen to the juice. You can also obtain juice by grinding or pounding the wheatgrass with a pestle and mortar used for making chutneys. As you grind the wheatgrass, add water and strain the juice through a clean cloth.