I’m thinking right now about what I can chop up for my next juicing expedition. Sometimes it’s like embarking on a journey… I will go to the grocery store and deliberately buy ingredients tailored to what kind of juice I want to drink. And of course, sometimes it’s banal as going through my fridge’s crisper and pulling out everything that’s green, red or yellow and that needs using up. (Cabbages stay good for a surprisingly long time in the bottom of the fridge!) I’m not a juice snob, as you all know by now if you have been following my blog, any juice is better than no juice!
However, today I am going to cover a trend in juicing that is more of a consistent habit. (Yep, juicing is already a consistent habit in our household, but some refine this even more – read on.) So have you heard of wheatgrass? Before I learnt about this super food and juicing ingredient, I was not sure what people were referring to. Did they mean some sort of new sprout, like alfalfa and mung bean? Did they just mean sprouted Triticum aestivum, the common wheat strain from which we make bread and pasta? Did they mean some other sort of grass, grown in a special new way or cultivated with particular care… well, I found out, that is is actually the common wheat strain, sprouted for 8-14 days and then juiced usually to the portion size of anything from 30ml to 120ml and drunk straight away. Sounds simple? It’s actually an amazing plant. Animal fodder move over, wheatgrass has so much to offer us.
Wheatgrass contains a high amount of chlorophyll (around 70% – amazing – and that’s what makes it so green, too), known to aid detoxification of the liver and other internal organs and to assist with cleansing of the blood. Wheatgrass also contains a high amount of vitamin C, which is vital for the immune system and for overall health and wellness, rejuvenation of cells and to slow down the unwanted effects of ageing. Iron is another element found in good levels in wheatgrass, and many people in the population are deficient in iron, being slightly yet chronically anaemic. Women have a particular need for a consistent and adequate intake of iron in the diet. Juiced wheatgrass is also a source of beta carotene and the B vitamins, plus C, E, H and K, is said to contain 90 different minerals and 19 amino acids. There are also many other benefits to wheatgrass, some disputed by scientists and/or skeptics who seem eager to stomp on anything that real people have found to make them feel really good. There is no disputing first-hand evidence once you have experienced it and this is probably the single biggest thing with wheatgrass as a daily juicing habit; it just makes you feel good. And in case you are curious, the benefits of wheatgrass used in other applications for health and medicine can be found in scientific research.
Many claims have been made about wheatgrass since the 1930’s since Charles F. Schnabel, an American agricultural chemist, discovered that the nutritional quality of grasses (at the time, used only for animal fodder) reached its peak just prior to the joining stage. (Link contains excellent diagram of the jointing stage of grass.) Thus, Schnabel began using this knowledge to improve the health of farmed animals. He first tried it with dying hens, then, astonished at the full recovery and vast improvement in health overall and the quality and quantity of the hens’ eggs over other hens who were not fed the wheatgrass, he began promoting his methods to the feed mills, chemists and to the food industry. Before long, under a patent he was selling a line of powdered wheatgrass for human consumption and health throughout the US and Canada in major drugstores, and to this day wheatgrass power is sold for the improvement of human health.
However, as we all know here at Daily Juicer, raw and fresh is always better. No doubt powdered wheatgrass is beneficial to the health, but how much more will raw fresh wheatgrass juice be? Let’s have a look. When you buy wheatgrass power, it is first grown, then juiced, then freeze dried. It is not hard to see that the less processing a food is subjected to, the better. Freeze dried foods last a long time without going “off”, but just as with all organic matter in Mother Nature, they lose their quality. Even though freeze dried foods claim to lose little nutritional quality, this is only in comparison to other preservation such as canning or deep-freezing. There are many properties to living foods which scientists have not yet named or even discovered. Every bit of processing kills or damages the food’s living qualities in some way. The best wheatgrass is still fresh juice, preferably done at home in your own kitchen just before drinking it. When you juice wheatgrass at home, you can use a juicer with a non-heat-generating mechanism, thus retaining as many of the health-giving properties of the cold-pressed juice as possible. With powder, you don’t know whether heat was generated in the industrial juicing process. And then of course there is the environmental factor; freeze drying uses an inordinate amount of energy and as with most things it is possible to reduce your environmental footprint simply by processing more of your own food at home. Wheatgrass can be bought fresh at a market or even better, grown easily at home.
So that brings us to which wheatgrass juicers to choose from. To be honest, there are so many. For those who do not already juice fruit and vegetables, or who have a power juicer or centrifuge-style which cannot handle the relatively dry stalks of wheatgrass, you may want to look at a dedicated wheatgrass juicer. In this style of juicer you can buy either a hand-powered or an electric model. Hand-powered models are most often a gadget that clamps to the edge of a table or kitchen bench, with a chute at the top to feed the wheatgrass into and a crank handle to turn to press the wheatgrass through. Ranging from lightweight to heavy duty, these wheatgrass juicers may suit your purpose just fine. They also look interesting in your kitchen and are sure to be a source of fascination by visitors and children alike. The lightweight versions are ideal for the busy traveller who wants to buy wheatgrass at local markets in whatever city they are staying in, and juice the wheatgrass in the hotel room for everyday health on the go. For the stress of travelling and plane flights, time changes and long hours away from home, wheatgrass is an ideal health booster and will be sure to make you feel good even under demanding circumstances.
Electric dedicated wheatgrass juicers are handy if you do not want to make any other kinds of juice. These are much less expensive than bench top wheatgrass juicers that do fruits and vegetables as well, and since they are made specially for wheatgrass, they are sure to do the job very effectively. They are also smaller than all=purpose juicers.
For those already contemplating the wonderful way of life that is being a daily juicer, I encourage you to take the leap sooner rather than later (today is as good a day as any!) to buy yourself a juicer machine and get into both wheatgrass and vegetable/fruit juicing. There are few other things that you can so easily do that are as good for your health as making and drinking a glass (or more!) of freshly squozen raw juice every day. I tend to recommend that you buy the best quality juicer you can afford, because you will not regret it. When we first bought a juicer we got the second model up in a brand that we felt we could trust, but when the time comes that we need to buy a new one, we will probably go for something more high-end. These machines do amazing work and the twin gear juicer machines really do take the cake (whoops, I mean, take the juice!) in producing the highest quality health juice.
- For hand-powered wheatgrass juicers check out the notable Tornado Stainless Steel Manual Wheatgrass Juicer Model BL-27, Weston Heavy-Duty Cast Iron Manual Wheatgrass Juicer, Miracle Wheatgrass Juicer – Manual, Weston Stainless Steel Manual Wheatgrass Juicer, and the Tornado Manual Wheatgrass Juicer.
- For electric wheatgrass juicers that may or may not juice other foods, check out the Miracle Electric Juicers, Lexen Wheatgrass Juicer and the Wheetena Marvel Red Label Electric Wheatgrass Juicer.
- For electric benchtop juicers that will juice wheatgrass, which will also handle all other fruits and vegetables, almost all of the single auger, masticating or twin gear/twin auger juicers will do the trick. Consider the Solo Star II, L’Equip Visor, L’Equip Omni, Samson, Omega 8003/8005, Omega 8006, Green Star or Green Power… or the top of the range juicer machine, Angel Juicer of course.
How awesome is the picture above: growing wheatgrass in your own home office!