Making Wheatgrass Last Longer

How to make your wheatgrass last longer.

Do you find it hard to get through a whole tray of wheatgrass before it turns yellow or becomes too long?

Because wheatgrass is such a fast growing plant it can be difficult to use it all up before it becomes too old and bitter, so here are some tips on how to minimise wastage.



The grass is not so green on the other side! – Why does it go yellow?
Seaweed is delicious! – Liquid Fertilisers
Stay cool!
The early harvest – chop ‘n’ bag
Bottling and freezing – the last resort
The bottom line – Which method is best?

The grass is not always greener…..! – Why does it go yellow?

If you could imagine that each little wheat seed is a plant in itself and if planted in the garden would eventually become a fully grown wheat plant. In every tray that you plant there are hundreds or even thousands (I haven’t actually counted them yet!) of little seeds all hungry for nutrients and water, and all wanting to grow up and become a big healthy wheat plant.

There are only so many nutrients that you can pack into a tray of soil so these hungry little seedlings quickly use up the valuable nutrients and start to become yellow, meaning that they are lacking minerals and nutrients to feed their hungry appetites.

Seaweed is delicious! – Liquid Fertilisers

Liquid fertilisers go straight to the source (the roots) and are taken up by plants a lot quicker than pellets or other slow release fertilisers.

One of the quickest ways to feed a plant is using a liquid fertiliser to help the tray last a little longer and slow the yellowing process.

Sprout has developed a specially formulated seaweed fertiliser especially for wheatgrass that is certified organic and also adds essential trace elements and macro nutrients often lacking in popular potting mixes.

The liquid fertiliser is best applied firstly when the wheatgrass is around 1-3 cms tall using a watering can (always check the application directions) and then a subsequent fertlise when the wheat grass is a little taller at perhaps 5-10cm.

Note: You can overuse fertliser, as too much can burn the roots and become counterproductive. Two waterings for one tray of wheatgrass should be sufficient.

Sprout's Seaweed Fertiliser

Stay cool!

If you have grown your own wheatgrass you will have noticed that the temperature can make a big difference in the rate of growth of your wheatgrass. In full flight, wheat grass can grow up to 3cms over a 12 hour period on a hot day.

Probably the most effective way to keep your wheatgrass lasting longer is to slow its growth down by keeping it as cool as possible. Wheat grass kept below +15°C will almost stop growing.

Place your wheatgrass in the coolest place in the house you can find, especially on those hotter summer days.

Many juice bars and cafes keep their wheatgrass in a fridge or cool room with great success and many make it a practice to take the tray off the bench and put it in their cool room overnight. This does not harm wheatgrass, as long as it is still getting a few hours of natural light (not direct sunlight) every day and of course regular watering.

For those lucky enough to have a large fridge with enough room to jam a tray of wheatgrass in, you will be able to slow its growth down very effectively.

The growth rates over different seasons will give you an indication of how much temperature has an effect on the growth of wheatgrass.

Average growth rates in Melbourne, Australia
Summer – 7 to 10 days from soaking to juicing height (12 – 15cm)
Winter – 10 to 25 days from soaking to juicing height (12 – 15cm)

The early harvest – chop ‘n’ bag

After growing a few trays you will soon realize when your wheatgrass is getting close to becoming yellow.

If you still have quite a bit of the tray left, a good trick is to harvest the rest, pop it in an airtight bag or container, e.g. a zip lock plastic bag, and pop it in the fridge in the vegetable crisper. This will keep your grass relatively fresh for at least another 4 days. This isn’t a method that we would regularly use, but it is better than wasting your wheatgrass and not having any at all.

As with any fruit or vegetable the fresher it is, the better.

Wheatgrass of course is one of the freshest, most alive things that we can eat. Chopped, juiced and down the hatch within 5 minutes, it is far fresher than nearly all fruit and vegetables that is sold at your local organic shop.

Most produce has been picked at least a few days before you buy it and take it home, and there are some things such as apples out of season that can be weeks or even months old.

By eating fresh and raw, it means that you are getting the maximum amount of nutrients and enzymes possible, and it also tastes a lot better.

Bottling and freezing – the last resort

Bottling –
There are a number of cafes and juice bars these days that do sell wheatgrass in bottles pre-juiced. Generally they do this to save time so that they don’t have to go through the process of cutting and juicing it during the busy times of the day. As with any fresh produce, the moment it is picked or harvested, it starts losing enzymes, nutrients and flavour straight away. Pre-juiced bottled wheatgrass has a fairly short shelf life of up to 3 days. It must be kept in the fridge, and it must be kept in a sealed bottle with a lid to reduce oxidation.

Oxidation is a chemical reaction that takes place when juice is subjected to oxygen in the air. It can damage flavour, nutrients, enzymes, color and aroma over time.

You will need to shake the bottle before drinking it as the chlorophyll separates even after only a few hours. We regard this as a last resort, even after the chop and bagging method as there is the extra oxidation problem which further destroys the vitality of your juice.

Freezing – (The last, last resort)
You’ve harvested your wheatgrass (the ageing process has begun), put it through the juicer (oxidation starts) bottled it and then put it in the freezer.

Freezing any type of food causes many irreversible physical and chemical changes within the food matrix, often leaving the final product with lower eating quality than when it was in the fresh state. Freezing damages cell structure and tissue as well as dehydrating it to an extent.

There is the one trade-off though, in that freezing your juiced wheatgrass reduces wastage, and you can pull it out of the freezer when you have run out or perhaps have just come back from holidays.

The bottom line – Which method is best?

Fresh is best!
There are stacks of online articles about the fantastic benefits of raw food and wheatgrass is one of the freshest, rawest foods that are available.

These methods of making your wheatgrass last longer such as bagging and refrigerating, bottling and freezing are definitely better than not having wheatgrass at all, but the bottom line is, You can’t beat fresh wheatgrass!

Wheatgrass Shot

Our own experience of growing wheatgrass.
Some great suggestions by many of our customers.
Juicing for Health – Julie Stafford
The art and Science of wine – James Halliday & Hugh Johnston (Effects of oxidation of juice)
Designing frozen foods – Lisa Kobs (Effects of freezing Meat & Fruit and vegetables)
Comparison of juice extractors: Enzymes – Michael Donaldson Ph. D. (Effects of oxidation)
Green Health foods in a bottle – Steve Meyorwitz
The Wheatgrass Book – Ann Wigmore
Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices – Dr. N. W. Walker