GRASSES, WEEDS AND FLOWERS

While not so pleasant on the tastebuds, fresh young grasses and green edible weeds have a much greater healing potential than the vegetables commonly used for juicing. In particular, they are very much higher in their content of life-force and enzymes. Instead of working hard to maintain a big vegetable garden, I believe it to be easier and healthier to let a large part of the garden overgrow with suitable grasses and edible weeds. To find out which weeds are edible, ask a knowledgeable friend or neighbour, or observe what goats or poultry are eating, or chew a bit of a leaf. If it is not bitter it is not likely to be poisonous and there are no poisonous grasses.

DIFFERENT GRASSES

Juice made from young and fresh blades of grass is most beneficial. These young blades have the highest vitality and are rich in enzymes and growth hormones that are missing or at low levels in mature leaves or plants as well as in elderly humans. Kirlian photography reveals that the vitality of leaves starts to diminish soon after cutting and most of it is lost within hours, though if refrigerated in a closed plastic bag it may keep for a day. Most nutrients will still be available from carefully dried and powdered grass, such as the commercial Green Barley, but it will have only little vitality left and is a poor substitute for young fresh grass juice.

Best known is wheat grass but I believe that all fresh, young grass grown in good soil has similar healing and rejuvenating qualities, though the flavour and toughness may differ greatly. Barley grass grows more vigorously than wheat grass and tastes quite good. Young ryegrass (not the cereal rye grain) grown by farmers as pasture is a very soft grass with a pleasant flavour and can give several months of repeated cutting from one planting. However, it prefers to grow in cooler conditions and does not like it too wet or dry.

Experiment with different varieties of grasses to see which grow best in your climate and soil conditions and find one you like. I enjoy the broad-leafed couch grass for its flavour and luxurious soft foliage, especially if watered well and grown partly in the shade. When using high-fibre lawn or pasture grasses in an electric juicer, cut the grass into short lengths and alternate juicing it with more juicy vegetables or sweet potato leaves to ease the strain on the juicer.

I find wheat grass juice somewhat too sweet on its own and prefer it blended with other grass. Barley grass grows more strongly than wheat grass and does not taste sweet. This may be better for individuals with blood sugar problems. Normally, however, it may be good to mix both seeds and grow wheat and barley together in the same bed or tray.

In cool climates it may be difficult growing grass outside in winter, while in the tropics it is often difficult in summer because it is either too hot or too wet and cereal grasses easily start rotting at the stem. In the city it may not be possible anyway. In these circumstances wheat grass or barley grass may be grown indoor on a balcony or veranda in seed boxes or styrofoam boxes, possibly even hydroponically if organic fertilisers are used but I have not tried this.

Soak the wheat or other seeds for planting overnight and sow very densely, except if moulds are a problem. Moulds are mainly a problem in outside plots in summer in the tropics. Cover lightly with a sandy soil and keep moist, expose to light after leaves emerge.

When the grass is about 5 cm high you may start using it for cutting into a salad or you may chew the grass and spit out the pulp. You may already juice the grass when about 10 cm high although the maximum yield of juice is available when the grass is between 15 and 25 cm tall. Sometimes you get a good regrowth and at other times not depending on the soil condition. Compost the stubble and other organic matter for re-use in seed boxes or outside planting. If you have planted a large outside area with cereal grass and want to harvest it whenat its best, you may freeze the juice in ice cube trays and small plastic containers. After freezing you may then empty the trays for re-use into plastic bags to be stored in the freezer. For quick use you may melt some grass cubes in warm water or add a cube to a cooked meal after serving.

Wheat or barley produce about four times their weight as cereal grass and this in turn yields up to 80 per cent of juice. Tougher perennial grasses yield about 60 per cent juice. The vitamin and mineral content of grasses and their juices differs greatly between different varieties but especially with diverse soil conditions. The following table which was compiled from various publications gives an estimate of the average nutrient content of the juice from grass grown in good soil.


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