At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Sprouts are seeds that have germinated and begun to grow, but have not yet matured into plants. Many different kinds of seeds can be sprouted and used in sandwiches, salads, soups and baked goods, or eaten by themselves. Wheatgrass sprouts are wheat seeds that have already sprouted, and have developed a grassy appearance. They are usually harvested when they are about 5 to 7 inches tall (about 12 to 18 cm) and are typically made into juice rather than used whole.
To grow wheatgrass sprouts, the seeds must first be soaked, left for about half a day, then rinsed and soaked again. This procedure is repeated until the seeds begin to sprout, after which the seeds are planted. Wheatgrass sprouts can be planted in many different kinds of growing mediums, such as soil, vermiculite or another medium that will retain water and support the growth of the sprouts. A natural fertilizer can be added to the water when the sprouts are planted, if desired, to give the sprouts a boost as they begin to grow.
Once planted, wheatgrass sprouts will grow very quickly and will be ready for harvesting in about 10 days. To get the best results they should be kept at room temperature, about 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). After sprouting, the wheatgrass will grow quickly even at somewhat cooler temperatures. Wheatgrass sprouts will thrive in the sunlight but will also grow well under artificial light such as cool fluorescent tubes and warm grow lights, as long as the light is bright enough.
After the wheatgrass sprouts have grown tall enough, the grass can be cut off just above the soil line, or other growth medium. Once cut, wheatgrass sprouts are best made into wheatgrass juice immediately. There are many different juicers on the market made specifically for this purpose. Which one to use is largely a matter of personal taste and budget, as some of these can be quite expensive.
Wheatgrass sprouts can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, though the best flavor and optimal nutritional value is obtained when they are used immediately after cutting. If they are to be stored, they should be placed in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag. The growth medium should be fairly dry just prior to storing, and there shouldn’t be any water on the grass itself. This will help it to last as long as possible once it is cut.