Time to grow Norooz seeds, sabzeh

Once again “Norooz is around the corner” – that’s right, there is only 20 days left to the beginning of Spring and the Persian New Year, Norooz- this year on March 20th at 07:03:13 AM Eastern Time 

Sabzeh (grass), as you might know, is one of the seven specific items starting with the letter “S” which goes in the Norooz table setting. It is also an item which needs to be prepared in advance – just about now, maybe a bit later – let’s say two weeks prior to Norooz.

The common types of seeds to grow for Norooz as sabzeh, are wheat, lentil, cress and green mung beans, with the last three crops growing much faster than wheat. Traditionally, though, growing wheat is the norm and this is the one I always go for.  Not difficult at all; only, just like Persian cuisine, growing wheat requires investing time, along with patience and attention.

Let’s say we want to have a medium-sized platter of sabzeh for our Norooz table. First off, make sure you buy the right type of wheat, ideally from Iranian stores.

  1. Soak. Soak wheat in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let it be for about 3-4 days or until the seeds begin to sprout. A lot of instructions tell you to change the water at least twice a day. Truth be told, I never change the water and I do get very neat wheat sprouts.
  2. Sprout. As soon as you notice little white sprouts, discard the water, wrap the wheat in a damp cotton cloth and put it in the same bowl. Keep the cloth moist all the time. After 24 hours, the sprouts start growing longer, and, if you peak in, you will notice little roots growing as well; this might take another couple of days.  Make sure you take the next step, before the roots grow too long.
  3. Spread. Gently spread out the wheat in to a clay, or glass platter (not plastic) evenly, making a 5 millimetre bed.  Loosely cover the seed with a damp paper towel, and using a water spray keep it damp all the time, but do not let excess water accumulate at the bottom of the platter.
  4. Germinate. In a few days, the seeds germinate and you will notice sliver shoot outs.  Remove the cloth, transfer the dish in to a sunny spot, and keep watering the seeds every other day now. Once the green shoots are out, they will grow really fast!

Your sabzeh is supposed to last for thirteen days, until “sizdeh-bedar“, where you throw it in running water. Mine never does though, because I rather have a nice, thick fully grown sabzeh at my Norooz table.  Good luck and Stay Green Everyone!


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