Brussels sprouts are members of the Brassica family and therefore kin to broccoli and cabbage. They resemble miniature cabbages, with diameters of about 1 inch. They grow in bunches of 20 to 40 on the stem of a plant that grows as high as three feet tall. Brussels sprouts are typically sage green in color, although some varieties feature a red hue. They are oftentimes sold separately but can sometimes be found in stores still attached to the stem. Perfectly cooked Brussels sprouts have a crisp, dense texture and a slightly sweet, bright, and "green" taste.
Brussels are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K. They are a very good source of numerous nutrients including folate, manganese, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, choline, copper, vitamin B1, potassium, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, Brussels sprouts provide special nutrient support for three body systems that are closely connected with cancer development as well as cancer prevention. These three systems are (1) the body's detox system, (2) its antioxidant system, and (3) its inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system.
While the origins of Brussels sprouts are unknown, the first mention of them can be traced to the late 16th century. They are thought to be native to Belgium, specifically to a region near its capital, Brussels, after which they are named. They remained a local crop in this area until their use spread across Europe during World War I. Brussels sprouts are now cultivated throughout Europe and the United States. In the U.S., almost all store-bought Brussels sprouts are grown in California.
Before washing Brussels sprouts, remove stems and any yellow or discolored leaves. Wash them well under running water to remove any insects that may reside in the inner leaves.
Brussles sprouts cook quickly and taste the best when they are cut into small pieces. We recommend either cutting them into quarters or chopping them into smaller pieces and then letting them sit for 5 minutes before cooking to enhance their nutritional benefits.
Keep unwashed and untrimmed Brussels sprouts in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. Stored in a plastic bag, they can be kept for 10 days. If you want to freeze Brussels sprouts, steam them first for between three to five minutes. They will keep in the freezer for up to one year.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
This recipe is my all-time easy favorite for brussel sprouts. The sprouts that you will receive in your fall shares are especially sweet because we harvested them after the frost. Try one raw while preparing them, they're much sweeter than the typical brussel sprout.
- Brussel Sprouts
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- To prepare the brussel sprouts, pour them into a large bowl of water and gently swish them around. Drain. For the larger sprouts, peel off the outer layer, chop the base of their stems off, and cut in half. For the smaller sprouts, leave whole.
- Toss in a bowl with a generous amount of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Roast until the sprouts are tender, bright green, and have a few carmelized, brown edges, probably not more than 25 minutes. Take care not to over cook as they will turn drab green and mushy.
Steamed Brussel Sprouts
An easy recipe that showcases the flavor of Brussel sprouts.
- Brussel sprouts
Cut tough ends off the sprouts and remove loose outer leaves. With a knife, make a little cross in the end to help the sprouts cook more evenly. Steam for 5-10 minutes until just tender, but do not overcook! Serve with a pat of butter.