Sprouters Handbook

By Edward Cairney

I recently read this little gem of a book. It is not very long but packs a wallop of information on home sprouting. Sprouters Handbook by Edward Cairney covers important information about the different types of seeds to sprout, why those seeds are nutritionally significant, and how to sprout them. He even includes recipes and a handy chart.

Most interesting to me is the section titled The Magic of Plant Enzymes. When I was in the sixth grade, I did a written science research paper, and the topic was plant enzymes. Who knew after all these years, I would get a chance to revisit plant enzymes?

There are three enzymes the body needs to digest food. Amylase to turn starch into simple sugars; Lipase to convert fats into fatty acids; Protease to breakdown proteins into amino acids. When we eat raw food such as freshly home sprouted alfalfa and mung bean, we are adding plant enzymes to our system for easier digestion. “The enzyme reserves we are born with can be treated in two ways. We can squander them digesting enzyme-less food, or we can eat more enzyme-rich foods in which case our reserves will last and maintain our youthfulness well into our later years.” All the food energy gets a chance to be used and not much is stored away as extra either protein or fat. Too much of protein or fat in our bodies makes the system work harder. More raw sprouts in our bodies gives our bodies what it needs to work efficiently.

The section on chlorophyll started “Chlorophyll is as close as we will ever get to consuming sunshine as a food.” When my son was a little boy, he once said “Sprouts taste like springtime.” Although he did not realize it at the time, he was commenting on the chlorophyll. The stuff that makes the sprout and all plants green. That is condensed solar energy. It’s sunshine power we can grow in our kitchens. Highest content of chlorophyll is in wheatgrass juice. Some people with gluten issues have problems with wheatgrass juice. A most delicious substitute is sunflower which need not be juiced, the shoots can be eaten right from the tray.

I chose his Energy Salad to share because we all need some energy.

2 cups alfalfa sprouts

1 cup lentil sprouts

½ cup mung sprouts

½ cup hulled sunflower sprouts

¼ cup, soaked raisins (Sprout Lady Rita uses ½ cup)

¼ short wheat sprouts – sprouted 2 days

¼ cup walnuts (Sprout Lady Rita uses pumpkin seeds)

½ red pepper finely sliced

1 sweet orange peeled and divided

1 celery rib sliced (Sprout Lady Rita uses 2 ribs)

Mix all ingredients together and serve with your favorite dressing or serve as is.

This book was published by Argyll Publishing in 1997 and had several reprints. There are few illustrations. Although no longer in print, it is a good guide to sprouting and has a personal touch to it as the author used raw sprouts to turn his poor health around to good health. We can all use a little help in eating better to feel better.