Brussels sprouts are small, green edible buds which look like mini cabbages, measuring around 2.5cm-4cm in diameter. They’re native to Belgium, around the city of Brussels, hence the name. They belong to the brassica family, along with broccoli, kale and cabbage, and are typically in season during the winter, although you may start to see them as early as October. Brussels sprouts enjoy a long season, being available in the UK until March.
The Brussels sprout is a cool season crop, belonging to the cabbage family, and closely related to cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collards, etc.
Do not wash or trim Brussels sprouts before storing them, but yellow or wilted outer leaves may be removed. If you have purchased sprouts that have been packaged in a cellophane covered container, take off wrapping, examine them, remove any that are in bad condition, return them to container, re-cover with cellophane, and refrigerate. If the sprouts are not fresh, return them to the store. Place loose sprouts in perforated plastic bag. Fresh sprouts will keep for 3 to 5 days.
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Raw Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts can be too strong-flavored and chewy to eat raw, especially if they have been stored for a while. Steam them briefly or blanch them in boiling water, then drain them quickly, dunk them in ice water to keep them from cooking further, and drain again.
When you are cooking Brussels spouts, add a few pieces of white bread to the cooking water to reduce the odor.
Brussels sprouts are one of the better vegetable protein sources. Approximately 30 percent of their calories are from protein.
It is best to refrigerate Brussels sprouts or the leaves will turn yellow quickly. Brussel sprouts should be a bright green color.
Boiling Brussels Sprouts
Use one cup water for every cup of Brussels sprouts. Bring water to a rapid boil in a large pot, add sprouts, and quickly return the water to a boil. Cook sprouts until just tender then drain sprouts.
Microwave Brussels Sprouts
Place 1/2 pound of sprouts in a microwave safe dish; add 1/4 cup water, cover and cook. Cook medium sized sprouts 4 minutes and larger ones 8 minutes.
Steaming Brussels Sprouts
Sprouts can be steamed rapidly in a small amount of water. This will minimize the odors created when Brussels sprouts are cooked too long, and will also minimize nutrient losses. There are two ways that they can be steamed. Sprouts can be added to an inch of already-boiling water or can be placed in a covered vegetable steamer. After steaming for 1 to 2 minutes, uncover pot for 10 to 15 seconds to disperse the strong-tasting sulfur compounds. Re-cover pot, and continue cooking sprouts for 5 to 10 minutes in boiling water or 6 to 12 minutes in a steamer. Check them periodically by poking them with a fork to test for doneness. Cook them until they are just tender.
Brussels Sprouts Benefits
- 1. Rich in protective antioxidants
- 2. Contains cancer protective compounds
- 3. May support heart health
- 4. May support gut health
- 5. May reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
Types of Brussels Sprouts
Green Broccoli also known as Italian Green or Calabrese. The most popular variety of broccoli and the one most commonly found in your local market. It has light green stalks topped with clusters of dark green, purplish florets.
Broccoflower. A cross between broccoli and cauliflower, but it is more cauliflower than Broccoli.
Broccoli Raab. An intense pleasantly bitter and peppery flavor. Compared to green broccoli, it has more leaves and a larger stem.
Broccoli Sprouts. Sprouts from broccoli seeds, are popular for their high concentration of health promoting phytonutrients.
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