True Wheatgrass or Tray? Should I Use "Fresh" Wheatgrass or Powder?
Certainly, growing wheatgrass quickly in crowded tray conditions produces some positive results. Even so, the fact is that it contains only 25% as much chlorophyll as true wheatgrass, and always contains high levels of bacteria and mold. Even when you cannot see the mold, tests always show that wheatgrass grown under such unnatural conditions contains mold.
No Research on Wheatgrass Grown in Trays
Scientists, doctors and hospitals never used tray grown wheatgrass for the extensive body of research. They also never used the juice! Even so, their research inspired authors such as Ann Wigmore, Viktoras Kulvinskas, Steve Meyerowitz and others. They used research on true wheatgrass grown naturally to justify growing it unnaturally in trays.
Based on science rather than fads, the book published by our founder discusses the actual scientific research with a 133 item bibliography. You can read read it free online.
Authors Who Grow Unnaturally Praised Dr. Schnabel
Charles Schnabel first introduced wheatgrass and other cereal grasses as human food in 1937. He provided wholefood wheatgrass powder grown naturally for the body of research that serves as the foundation for the popularity of wheatgrass grown unnaturally.
Several of the popular wheatgrass authors even dedicated their books to Schnabel. Steve Meyerowitz in his dedication called Schnabel, “The Father of Wheatgrass.”
Schnabel did not grow his wheatgrass in trays. He also did not use wheatgrass juice. He grew wheatgrass naturally outdoors in special glacial soils during cold weather. Instead of providing juice for the doctors and hospitals, Schnabel provided finely milled dehydrated wholefood leaves of wheatgrass harvested at a special time that only occurs once each year. He packaged the powder in amber glass bottles with special metal caps that allowed him to remove the oxygen. This protected the wheatgrass from nutrient loss. It was this product (Cerophyl®) that doctors and hospitals used for the published research referenced in wheatgrass books.
Carrying On Dr. Schnabel's Tradition of True WheatgrassSign in front of Schnabel's laboratory building now used by Pines
Since 1976, Pines International has followed Dr. Schnabel’s traditions. In fact, we still use many of the same fields. Further, we built new buildings at the same site he used in 1937. We still use one of Schnabel's laboratories but with modern equipment.
When growers follow Schnabel's discoveries, they sow the seeds in the fall. They space the seeds about one inch apart. Schnabel never planted seedst next to each other as is the case for wheatgrass grown in trays.
The Difference in How Each Grows
The seeds forwheatgrass grow in trays are 300 times too close together. These crowded and unnatural warm growing conditions result in spindly leaves. They contain only 25% as much chlorophyll as true wheatgrass. True wheatgrass grows naturally through the winter as shown as the dark green grass with thick juicy leaves in this picture. To show the difference, we held some tray wheatgrass over the field of true wheat grass. The crowded conditions, rapid growth and lack of sunlight cause tray wheatgrass to look spindly and pale. The true wheatgrass looks lush with thick, deep green fleshy leaves.
For wheatgrass planted in the fall in its appropriate climate, the soil remains warm from summer. Warm soil, cold nights and even cold days induces roots to grow deep. The leaves grow only about an inch in the first 30 days, but the roots go down a foot deep in rich glacial soil.
Root activity continues all winter even with most nights well below freezing. On warmer winter days, the bright sunlight causes the one-inch leaves to photosynthesize. This creates green energy stored in the roots in preparation for spring.
The Jointing State Occurs Only Once Each Year
As temperatures slowly warm in late winter, the wheatgrass still does not grow much in height. Instead, with plenty of space between plants, it “stools out." Without the crowded conditions of tray wheatgrass, it forms more short leaves. The bright sunlight and still-cool temperatures, along with the stored nutrition in the roots, make a big difference. The natural conditions cause the wheatgrass to turm darker and darker green. Dr. Schnabel and other scientists measured the nutritional content of true wheatgrass each day. They determined a special time in the early spring called “the jointing stage” when true wheatgrass reaches its nutritional peak.
The jointing stage lasts only several days. That is the time when Dr. Schnabel harvested his true wheatgrass. He dried it at low temperatures and stored it in freezers until packaged in amber glass bottles with special metal caps. Those specially designed glass bottles and caps allowed Schnabel to remove the oxygen. Without oxygen, he protected his true wheatgrass powder loss of nutrition caused by oxidation. Pines International still packages with the same kind of oxygen-free bottles and follows all of Schnabel's other standards. We also follow his drying methods with modern state-of-the-art, computer-controlled dryer that uses even lower temperatures than used by Schnabel.
Tray Wheatgrass is not True Wheatgrass
The difference between the two kinds of wheatgrass is very obvious. True wheatgrass harvested at the once-a-year jointing stage is not any taller than the tray wheatgrass after ten days, but the leaves are thick, fleshy and much darker green. With plants an average of one inch apart, they have space to “stool out” and grow naturally. That makes them thick, dark green and fleshy.
Anyone who loves living things can't help but notice the sad roots on the tray wheatgrass. They so much want to go down a foot or more deep in rich soil like they should, but are stopped by the bottom of the tray. They turn into a tangled mess, which with too-warm temperatures and moisture becomes a perfect environment for mold.
Mold in Tray Wheatgrass is Not Always Visible
Even though you might not be able to see it, wheatgrass grown in trays always contains mold. That is part of why it has a strange flavor that some people find objectionable. Like any green plant, tray grown wheat grass produces sugar from photosynthesis, but without the complex root system, deep soil and often-freezing temperatures of winter and early spring in its appropriate climate, much of the sugar does not develop into more complex nutrients. As a result, it has a sweet taste and a high glycemic index . Allowing wheatgrass to grow naturally prevents mold and produces a pleasant, clean, natural flavor with higher nutritional levels than wheatgrass grown in trays.
Both kinds of wheatgrass provide nourishment, but in terms of providing the kind of vegetable nutrition and fiber lacking in most diets, seven Pines Wheat Grass tablets or a rounded teaspoon of Pines Wheat Grass powder provide nutrition equal to a large spinach salad. Pines Wheat Grass and our other green superfoods should be a staple in the diets of those who do not eat enough green vegetables to protect their health. Studies show that about 90% of the population does not eat enough dark green vegetables. Research consistently shows that those who eat plenty of these kinds of foods develop less of the degenerative diseases associated with today’s standard diet.
Seldom Tests for Pathogens with Most Tray WheatgrassA Pines lab worker tests for mold and pathogens.
Pines products are certified organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and certified Kosher. We test each 1,000 kilogram batch to ensure it meets FDA's gluten free standards. We also test each batch for bacteria, heavy metals, yeast, mold and pathogens such as listeria, salmonella and E-Coli.
Those who grow tray grown wheatgrass sold in health food stores, juice bars and other places seldom test for pathogens and contamination. Government inspections of facilities that grow trays of wheatgrass seldom occurs. By contrast, the US Food and Drug Administration, the State Health Department and the various certifying agencies frequently inspect our fields and faciliies.
With Pines green superfoods, we assure you the safest and most nutritious wheatgrass and other green superfoods available. Best of all, they cost a small fraction as much as tray grown wheatgrass with more nutrition and essential fiber for colon health.