The winter vegetable that’s rich in nutrients: perfect to pair with meat or cheese.
Brussels sprouts are the edible buds of the herbaceous plant Brassica oleracea, of the gemmifera group and cruciferous family. Though the name suggests otherwise, the origins of brussels sprouts were actually Italian, and it was the ancient Romans who brought them to Belgium. They are largely grown in northern Europe because they are well adapted to cold climates. The main producers are England, France and the Netherlands. Brussels sprouts are harvested at different times because they don’t all mature at the same time. They are a winter vegetable available in markets from November to March. There is an early variety (produced from late september to November), the semi-late variety (produced from November to December), the late and very late season varieties (produces from January to March). They’re about the size of a walnut, and although they’re small in size, they’re rich in nutritional benefits.
Brussels sprouts have a strong, sharp flavor with bitter notes, which is why children often don’t like them. To eliminate the bitterness and make them more appealing for children, you can caramelize them with brown sugar or maple syrup. And to make them easier to digest, boil them in salted water for 5-10 minutes before tossing them in a pan with garlic and chili flakes. They’re also excellent roasted and as a side dish to white meat and eggs. In winter, they’re great in soups or paired with nuts like almonds and walnuts, or even pears and apples, whose sweetness contrasts with the bitter notes of the sprouts.
Did You Know That?
They’re small but packed with essential nutrients. They contain sinigrin, isothiocyanates and sulforaphane, as well as being a source of vitamin B1 and folic acid, nutrients that aid concentration and memory. It’s important to know how to choose them —when you buy them they should be compact and hard, bright in color and without too strong of a smell. Brussels sprouts can be kept in the fridge for a few days, but should be kept away from fruit which gives off ethylene. Eating brussels sprouts is practically a must, especially for women as they help protect against breast cancer. And they may also be a cure for hangovers—people used to use the cooking water to help them detox.