Wheat flour (as in bread) is made from the wheat berry, while wheatgrass is the stalk of the wheat plant, harvested at the earliest stages of growth. The chart below, from the textbook A Comprehensive Guide to Wheat Management in Kentucky shows the stages of growth of the wheat plant.
Wheatgrass is harvested in stage 1 of this chart, typically 7-10 days after the seeds have sprouted. It is tender at this young age and has a very short shelf life once harvested, so it is ideally used immediately.
Wheatgrass is commonly juiced to make wheatgrass juice or wheatgrass shots. Raw wheatgrass can also be put in a blender with other ingredients to make wheatgrass smoothies. Wheatgrass can also be dried and milled into a powder, which greatly increases its shelf life and can then be added to various foods and drinks.
Powdered wheatgrass is also sometimes called "wheatgrass juice powder", since it can be mixed with water to create wheatgrass juice. Wheatgrass powder can also be put into capsules or pressed in a pill press to make wheatgrass capsules, wheatgrass pills or wheatgrass tablets. There are also wheatgrass creams and wheatgrass sprays for use on the body.
Where to buy wheatgrass
Wheatgrass can be purchased at many grocery stores and health food stores. Since wheatgrass is harvested at such an early stage of growth, it is very tender and has a short shelf life. Look for wheatgrass sold with the roots still attached, since this extends the shelf life. For maximum freshness and best flavor, wheatgrass can be grown at home. Kits like ours (below) provide all the necessary materials, but you can also purchase the seeds, growing medium, and containers on your own.
The advantage to growing it yourself is that the wheatgrass is still photosynthesizing (using light, water, and carbon dioxide to produce sugars and nutrients) when you harvest, rather than respiring (using sugars and nutrients and producing carbon dioxide). For those who want to skip preparation entirely, wheatgrass shots and wheatgrass juice can be found at many grocery stores and juice stores, and wheatgrass powder can be found online.
Frequently asked questions
Is wheatgrass wheat?
Yes, wheatgrass and wheat refer to the same plant, T. aestivum. However, wheat flour is made from the wheat berry and wheatgrass is the young plant harvested 7-10 days after germination. Therefore, they have very different properties and nutritional values.
Is wheat a grass?
Yes, wheat falls into the category of plants known as Poaceae, more commonly known as grasses. What it shares in common with the grass on your lawn is that it has hollow stems and narrow alternating leaves that form a sheath.
Where to buy fresh wheatgrass?
The best place to find fresh wheatgrass is to go to your local health food store or grocery store. Look for wheatgrass that still has roots attached, since it remains fresh longer.
How to make wheatgrass shots?
There are a couple ways to make wheatgrass shots - with a juicer and with a blender. Using a juicer, simply juice the wheatgrass and consume the juice as a shot. Using a blender, add the grass and a few ounces of water to the blender and blend until the grass is finely chopped. Then, strain the grass pieces out using a mesh strainer and drink the juice.
Can you eat wheatgrass?
The cellulose in wheatgrass is indigestible, so you shouldn't eat too much of it. However, a handful of wheatgrass thrown into a smoothie is unlikely to cause harm and the added fiber to your diet may be beneficial.
What is a wheatgrass shot?
A wheatgrass shot is 1-2 ounces of the juice obtained from juicing young wheatgrass.
Where to buy wheatgrass juice?
Some grocery stores will have juice bars, where you can buy a shot of wheatgrass juice. The juice can also be purchased online, and usually comes frozen.