Brussels sprouts are one of those highly contested vegetables that you either love or you hate, but no matter which camp you fall into they are great for you and a wonderful addition to your weekly meals.
Brussels sprouts are part of the Gemmifera group which includes cabbages and they are also part of the larger Brassica family which includes other vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, and others.
And while Brussels sprouts might look like baby cabbages, they are actually edible buds from fibrous stalks that grow out of the soil. Generally, each bud is anywhere from ½ an inch to 1 ½ inch in diameter. A single stalk can produce up to 3lbs of sprouts.
These veggies are in season in the fall and winter but can be found in most grocery stores year-round. Look for leaves that are firmly packed and bright green. Any yellowing or black spots could mean they are on their way out.
And although it might be tempting to grab the larger ones and call it day, the smaller ones tend to be sweeter.
The Brussels part of their name comes from the fact that they were cultivated in Belgium way back in the 16th century. The vegetable itself dates back to ancient Roman times.
Fun fact, if you can find them on the stalk, buy them that way. They tend to be cheaper because of the labor that goes into removing them from the stalk which happens to be easy work you can do at home. And what’s even better is that they will last longer in the fridge.
Here are some great recipes using Brussels Sprouts:
- Cranberry Almond Brussels Sprout Slaw
- One-Pot Chicken Dion with Brussels Sprouts
- Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
- Garlic Butter Brussels Sprouts
- Maple Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash
What are the health benefits of Brussels sprouts?
Alright, let’s go down this list. These are a great source of vitamins A, C, and K. That’s not all, they are also high in things like beta-carotene, folic acid, magnesium, iron, and fiber. Oh, and I forgot selenium which is associated with mitigating the risk of certain cancers.
Why do Brussels sprouts taste so bad?
I don’t want to point any fingers here, but the number one reason why Brussels sprouts taste so bad, is that they are probably overcooked. Yes, it is that simple.
A properly cooked sprout, whether it be steamed, fried, sautéed, or roasted should taste slightly nutty and almost sweet. It should not have the offensive or bitter taste that too many of us associate them with.
Quick note: The aroma also comes from an organic compound that contains sulfur. This compound gives off a funky smell, but it is also part of the reason these little babies have cancer-fighting characteristics.
Can you eat raw Brussels sprouts?
Technically, you can. Think of them like raw kale and massage some oil in them to help them soften to the touch. Doing this will make it a little easier to chew and to, in turn, digest later.