Today I was going to post another shortbread recipe, but since I already sort of posted this one…sigh…it seemed like a better idea to make this one official. One of these days I will stop accidentally publishing my drafts. Shortbread recipe tomorrow – unless I click the Publish button today my mistake.
Do you remember the scene in The Gladiator where Russell Crowe is walking through a field of tall, golden wheat, his fingers almost lovingly brushing against the heavy seeds? Kel calls it The Crowe Walk. It’s a mesmerizing and beautiful scene (I won’t mention the other scenes into which it cuts). The soft, surreal serenity of the walk through the wheat – so peaceful. Kel and I jokingly replay it in our fields when the grass is especially high. What does that have to do with this post? Not much, except that I’m growing wheat – wheatgrass, specifically – but mine will never get high enough to go to seed, let alone for me to stroll through.
I recently acquired a Vitamix, something that has been on my Wish List for a long, long time. My old, cheap-o blender has been crying in the corner ever since. I’ve used that Vitamix every day since it arrived, determined that Kel and I will have at least one green smoothie each day.
Along with my Vitamix, I ordered up a 5 lb. bag of wheatgrass seeds from from Todd’s Seeds via Amazon. I planted my first batch not too long ago and watching them sprout and soar upwards – I can almost see them grow – has been a lot of fun. At the time I decided we would be consuming at least one smoothie per day I also decided we needed to be drinking wheatgrass each day. Wheatgrass, when harvested in its peak nutritional state (at about 7-11″ high) is loaded with chlorophyll. Chlorophyll provides energy, helps normalize blood pressure and also helps alkalize the body. According to some research, if the body is high in acidity (i.e., from eating meat for example), it is more susceptible to cancer. Here’s a quick rundown on how I got started and what the process looks like.
Soak the wheatgrass seeds.
Rinse a handful of seeds and put them in a bowl or container and cover with water to about 2″ above seeds. Soak them for 8-10 hours and then change the water and soak again. I did a total of three overnight soaks. At that point, tiny little roots began to appear on the ends of the seeds.
Prepare your container.
I used a window box because that’s what I had – but a larger, flat tray would be ideal. You want something with drainage holes on the bottom. (Todd’s Seeds provides instructions on their website.) I filled my tray with a mixture of compost soil, peat and hummus. Avoid soils with added chemicals. I “mudded it in” real good (watered it) and sprinkled the wheatgrass over the top of the soil and then covered the seeds very lightly with additional peat and hummus. Then I gently watered again. It’s important to keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
Watch them grow – and water.
These suckers germinate and grow fast! Be sure and keep the soil moist, but again, not soaked. I kept my container out of direct sunlight; these guys are delicate. Water 2-3 times per day using a spray bottle rather than a watering can.
Ready to cut and juice.
By the seventh day, my wheatgrass was ready to harvest. Using sharp scissors, I cut a thick handful of the grass and put it in my Vitamix along with about 3/4 cups of filtered water. There are wheatgrass juicers out there, but after shelling out for a Vitamix there was no way I was going to spend another $50 on a wheatgrass juicer. YouTube is loaded with videos demonstrating how to juice wheatgrass.
Keep in mind this stuff is very fibrous – and you don’t want to drink/eat the fibers. Good for cows, not so good for humans. Once I processed the wheatgrass I poured the mess through a fine-meshed strainer. Compost the fiber and either drink the juice straight-up, or combine it with fruit and make a delicious, tangy, super-healthy smoothie as in the recipe below.
I plan on getting 2-3 “harvests” from my wheatgrass before planting a new batch.
Green Fruit Smoothie with Wheatgrass Juice
1/2 cup wheatgrass juice
1/2 cup filtered water
1 bunch romaine lettuce, chopped
2 bananas, thickly sliced and frozen
1 cup strawberries, cut in half (frozen or fresh)
1-2 pitted dates, chopped, if desired
Place ingredients in Vitamix in the order shown. Start on Variable speed 1 and slowly dial to 10, then flip to High. Process for about 30 seconds. Pour into glasses and serve. (This can also be done in a regular blender. Just make sure to stop the blender to move the fruit around if necessary.)