Wheatgrass is the young grass shoots of the wheat plant, Triticum aestivum. It is widely consumed as a health food and juice due to its high concentration of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Many people enjoy drinking fresh wheatgrass juice for its purported health benefits. But can you actually juice wheatgrass in a regular juicer?
What is Wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass refers to the young grass shoots of the common wheat plant, Triticum aestivum, including sprouted seeds and microgreens. It is sold as a dietary supplement in tablet, liquid and powder forms. But it is most commonly consumed as a fresh juice.
Wheatgrass differs from wheat malt, which is concocted from germinated wheat grains. It also differs from wheat berries, which are whole wheat kernels.
Some key facts about wheatgrass:
- It is harvested when it reaches a height of 7-11 inches, before the jointing stage where stems develop nodes and seed heads form.
- The optimum time to harvest is when the grass becomes a vivid green color and before it yellows.
- It has a high concentration of nutrients, especially for its calorie content.
- Wheatgrass juice powder is made by cold-press juicing fresh grass shoots, then dehydrating the juice.
Wheatgrass grows well both indoors and outdoors. It can be grown at home from wheat seeds or purchased fresh or dried. Most wheatgrass juice shots use freshly juiced grass.
Nutritional Content of Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass is prized as a superfood due to its dense nutrient content. It provides the following vitamins, minerals and other beneficial plant compounds:
- Proteins including enzymes and amino acids
- Chlorophyll, antioxidant pigments that give it the vivid green color
- Vitamins A, C and E
- Vitamin B complex vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin and niacin
- Minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium
- Antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect cells
Wheatgrass is about 70% crude fiber by weight. It also contains compounds like flavonoids, phenolic acids and lignans that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
The exact nutritional profile can vary based on factors like soil quality, stage of growth and genetics. But wheatgrass juice is generally extremely rich in vitamins and minerals yet low in calories.
Benefits of Wheatgrass
Drinking fresh wheatgrass juice is associated with the following evidence-based health benefits:
- High in antioxidants: Contains flavonoids, phenolic acids and other antioxidants that help protect cells.
- May support immunity: Concentrated in vitamins and minerals that support immune function.
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Certain compounds help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
- Rich in nutrients: Packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and chlorophyll in a low-calorie shot.
- May aid detoxification: Contains enzymes that help support liver function and detoxification.
- Support for digestion: Enzymes and fiber in the grass may aid digestion and elimination.
However, some claimed benefits like cancer prevention are not yet scientifically proven. More research is still needed on wheatgrass’ effects. But many people enjoy its nutritional value as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Choosing a Wheatgrass Juicer
To make fresh wheatgrass juice at home, you’ll need a high-quality juicer that can effectively extract the liquid while retaining nutrients. Here are some considerations when selecting a wheatgrass juicer:
- Single auger or twin gear extraction: The auger crushes grass and presses out juice. Look for powerful motors.
- Low speeds: The ideal RPM is 80-120 for minimal oxidation and heat buildup.
- Vertical masticating design: Wheatgrass is pressed along a narrow chute in a cold-press style.
- Tight tolerances: Narrow gaps prevent pulp from getting stuck.
- Easy to disassemble and clean: Must be able to rinse out all wheatgrass pulp.
Cold press masticating juicers are best suited for wheatgrass. Popular options include single auger juicers by Omega, Tribest and Aicok or twin gear models by Green Star or Super Angel. Centrifugal ejection juicers may struggle with wheatgrass.
Consider getting a juicer with specialized wheatgrass juicing attachments if you plan to juice wheatgrass frequently. Also look for versions that are easy to take apart and clean.
How to Juice Wheatgrass
Juicing wheatgrass is a simple process if you have the right equipment. Follow these steps:
- Rinse freshly cut wheatgrass under cold water to remove any residue.
- Trim ends with scissors to fit into juicer chute.
- Turn on juicer, insert wheatgrass a handful at a time using a pusher.
- Juice until you’ve processed desired amount of wheatgrass.
- Pour juice through a strainer to catch any loose pulp.
- Store juice in a sealed container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
- Compost or discard remaining pulp.
- Disassemble and rinse juicer parts immediately after use.
Insert wheatgrass slowly and avoid overstuffing the chute. Let juicer run for at least 1 minute after the last of the wheatgrass to maximize extraction. Fresh wheatgrass juice should retain its bright green color when properly processed and stored.
Tips for Juicing Wheatgrass
Here are some additional tips for efficiently juicing wheatgrass at home:
- Grow your own wheatgrass for a regular supply of fresh grass.
- Harvest right before juicing when wheatgrass is vibrant green.
- Cut grass in consistent lengths to fit juicer chute using scissors.
- Alternate wheatgrass with other produce like apples or cucumbers.
- Drink wheatgrass juice right after juicing or store in airtight containers.
- Rinse juicer parts immediately to prevent drying and buildup.
- Compost or blend leftover pulp into smoothies instead of wasting.
Following proper growing, harvesting, juicing and storage methods helps maximize the nutritional content of your wheatgrass juice.
Common Problems When Juicing Wheatgrass
Juicing wheatgrass is simple but comes with some potential issues to watch out for:
- Clogged chute: Overstuffing produces or using aged grass can clog.
- Pulp in juice: Occurs if gaps around the auger are too wide.
- Oxidation: Exposure to air can cause nutrient loss and color changes.
- Heat buildup: Excess friction generates heat which destroys enzymes.
- Moldy grass: Storing harvested wheatgrass too long causes mold.
Careful harvesting and processing methods can prevent most issues. Also take apart and scrub the juicer to remove any debris.
Can a Wheatgrass Juicer Juice Other Vegetables?
Wheatgrass juicers are versatile kitchen tools that can juice a wide variety of other fruits and vegetables in addition to wheatgrass.
Masticating juicers generally come with multiple attachments. The small holes and powerful augers are ideal for extracting juice from produce like:
- Leafy greens like kale, spinach, lettuce
- Herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil
- Chopped veggies such as carrots, celery, beets
- Chard, collard greens, cabbage
- Fruits like apples, oranges, lemons
The key is to cut produce into small, narrow pieces to fit through the juicing channel. Alternate juicing wheatgrass with other items.
Just keep in mind wheatgrass pulp is quite fine and can get lodged in the small gaps. So thoroughly rinse the juicer in between uses.
Recipes with Wheatgrass Juice
While wheatgrass can be enjoyed as a straight shot, the strong, earthy taste is more palatable when blended into juices or smoothies. Here are some tasty wheatgrass juice recipes to try:
- 1 cup wheatgrass juice
- 1 lemon, peeled and quartered
- 2 apples, quartered
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp agave or honey
Juice the lemons, apples and wheatgrass. Pour into a pitcher and stir in water and sweetener. Serve over ice.
Green Pineapple Smoothie
- 1 cup wheatgrass juice
- 1 cup pineapple chunks
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 handful spinach
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into glasses to serve.
Berry Wheatgrass Shots
- 1 cup wheatgrass juice
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 tbsp honey
Juice the wheatgrass. Blend the berries and honey in a food processor or blender until smooth. Mix with wheatgrass juice and divide into shot glasses.
Wheatgrass is a highly nutritious, cleansing superfood that can easily be juiced at home with the right equipment. Masticating juicers with single auger or twin gear extraction are best suited for juicing wheatgrass into nutrient-rich shots. While wheatgrass has a strong, earthy flavor, it can be blended into tasty juices and smoothies. With the proper growing, harvesting and juicing techniques, homemade wheatgrass juice packs a powerful nutritional punch.
|Nutrient||Amount Per 1 Oz (28g) Serving of Wheatgrass Juice|
|Vitamin A||12% DV|
|Vitamin C||48% DV|
Data from SELF NutritionData 
References Wheatgrass Juice (Triticum aestivum) Nutrition Facts. SELF NutritionData.