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Spring on Your Table

March 23, 1997|TRACY CROWE McGONIGLE

Some people like the fact that a 1-ounce shot of wheatgrass juice is the equivalent of 2 1/2 servings of vegetables. Others just gag on its swampy flavor. I enjoy the benefits and don't mind the taste, but I've found a better, prettier use: as a centerpiece for Easter dinner or a spring celebration. In fact, wheatgrass is a traditional element in celebrating Nouruz, the Persian New Year, which ended last week, as always, on the day of the spring equinox.

Wheatgrass doesn't need soil or sunlight, so it's perfect for growing indoors. You don't even need to start from scratch. (It is simple, however, to grow the grass from wheat berries; see "The Green, Green Grass of Home" in the March 19 Food section for instructions on how to grow the grass in an Easter egg basket.)

This time of year, wheatgrass is sold in flats in many nurseries and even in supermarkets. In just two days, for instance, you'll be able to purchase wheatgrass for $10 a flat from Mrs. Gooch's Cafe at most Whole Foods Markets. The grass requires nothing but water and trimming and will make four centerpieces. It looks interesting just by itself, or you can add flowers and make your friends think you have a green thumb.

You will need:

4 (5x17-inch) containers

1 flat of wheatgrass

Sharp knife

1 bud vial for each flower (available at craft and floral shops)

Fresh-cut flowers

Water

Divide wheatgrass flat into 4 sections. Using a sharp knife, cut sections apart. Place each in a container, pressing grass to bottom. Trim tops if desired.

Fill bud vials with water. Trim stems from flowers and place into bud vials. Set bud vials in the grass and press until secured.

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