Take a poll of your friends on what vegetable they couldn’t stand to eat as a kid and I guarantee someone, maybe even the whole lot, will say Brussels sprouts. Maybe our mums cooked them a little too long and they got squishy or maybe the little cabbage-like buds are an acquired taste. Either way, Brussels sprouts are worth another go.
Some say Brussels sprouts were first cultivated in Belgium in the 16th century, while others say they migrated there from Italy. Given their name, we can at least agree that they hit their stride in Belgian fields. Brussels sprouts are part of the cabbage family but unlike cabbages, which grow on the ground like lettuce, Brussels sprouts pop out of a single long stalk.
When to buy
Brussels sprouts are in season from August through March, making them a perfect addition to your cool-weather recipes.
How to choose
Look for small sprouts that are bright green in colour and as compact as possible. Skip any with yellow leaves as these are getting a bit old.
How to store
Keep unwashed sprouts in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 3 days. The longer they hang around the stronger their flavour, so use them soon.
How to prep
If the sprouts are on the stalk, cut them off and wash them thoroughly in water. Some people go the extra mile and submerge them in a bowl of water with a splash of lemon or vinegar to make sure the inner layers are rinsed. Trim off the base and remove the hard outer leaves.
Ways to cook
Brussels sprouts can be boiled, steamed, sautéed or roasted. You can prepare them whole like little cabbages, cut in half or as separate leaves. Shaving them is a great way to add a bit of texture to dishes.
Convinced? Give this Grilled Brussels Sprout Salad with Goat Cheese and/or Grilled New York Strip with Caramelised Brussels Sprouts a try and tell me what you think!