Thursday, 4 December 2014

Ingredient of the Month: Brussels Sprouts


Bright green and fresh, Brussels sprouts resemble miniature cabbages!
This month Brussels Sprouts are in season in the Northern Hemisphere and all over the UK people are racking their brains to make them more appealing to serve up on Christmas Day, so what better time to feature them here? Love them or hate them, you have to admit the nutritional profile of these leafy green little beauties is pretty impressive so it makes sense to eat them regularly while they're available. We were blessed with kids who actually like Brussels sprouts, but I remember disliking them myself until I reached my teens so I do understand the need to disguise their slight bitterness somewhat. Personally, though, I think if you choose smallish, fresh-looking bright green sprouts ideally sold still attached to their stalk and use them as soon as possible after buying, they taste a whole lot better. (But forget frozen sprouts. Let's not even go there, please. Yuck!)
The Brussels sprout has been grown in Europe in some form or other since Roman times, and the first modern sprouts were recorded in the 13th century in what is now Belgium, hence their name. They belong to the family of cruciferous vegetables, which also includes the super-nutritious kales, cabbages, broccoli and collards. During the 18th century French settlers took them to the USA, but the main growers these days remain Holland, Germany and the UK.
Health and Nutrition:
Like all the cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts are really, really good for you: they contain sulphoraphane, a potent anti-carcinogen. Steaming and stir-frying does not destroy this, but boiling does. Amongst many other vitamins and minerals, Brussels sprouts are particularly rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin C and iron. Look here for some more info on this amazing family of vegetables. 

We posted a recipe for Brussels sprouts with a maple syrup glaze a couple of years back- check it out here. What's your family-friendly, go-to way of cooking them?

2 comments:

  1. I'm a brussels sprout lover so this is right up my alley!
    mary

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  2. Brussels sprouts have had such a bad rap - all those years of being over boiled then served soggy! Now there are some fantastic recipes which really take them to new heights and are delicious - thank you for championing this wonderful vegetable!
    Mary

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