Brussels sprouts come by their distinctive cabbage flavor the honest way. They are a close, albeit lesser-known, relative of the cruciferous vegetable family. Even better, they are absolutely delicious and easy to prepare.
Common in very early spring and late into the fall, they are sweeter once they have been “frost kissed”. Brussels sprouts create extra sugars once they have been exposed to temperatures just below freezing. If properly sheltered from sub-zero temperatures, these plants can actually be over-wintered.
This post is sponsored by Garden Spot Vegetable Farm. Located in Princeville, Illinois, owner, Jim Buckley and his family, cultivate 34 acres of vegetables and 375 fruit trees. Garden Spot is a no-spray farm, offering a variety of CSA packages. Check their Facebook page for current programs and options for available produce.
Brussels sprouts hail from the same family tree as kale, cauliflower, and mustard greens. Like other deep green vegetables, sprouts are high in Vitamin K as well as Vitamin C. They are low in calories and offer good amounts of fiber and ALA, an important omega 3 fatty acid also found in fish.
Like all plants, Brussels sprouts reduce inflammation while their antioxidants help the body ward off cancer.
When you visit your local farmers market, you’ll find them in their native form. Brussels sprouts actually grow on a thick stalk. Arranged neatly in rows, you must cut them with a sharp knife to release their strong hold on the centralized stalk.
Look for sprouts that are evenly green, compact, and firm when squeezed. Larger sprouts will taste more like cabbage, while the smaller ones will be sweeter.
Preparation is a snap.The tougher outer leaves should be removed. But, don’t throw these leaves out. When roasted, they turn into crispy, caramelized wedges. So good! Large sprouts should be cut in half before baking, roasting, or sautéing.
Although we traditionally think of them as roasted in the oven (maybe it’s the fact that they are late fall vegetable that makes this method attractive), when sliced very thin, Brussels sprouts are terrific additions to salads and can even be used to top pizza.
I’ve included a variety of recipes below to show you their versatility in cooking.