Brussels sprouts are that innocent little vegetable that many people (not just kids) love to hate. That’s why most people smother them in butter, suffocate them in bacon or bury them deep at the bottom of a creamy casserole. But I, for one, think it’s time someone took the side of these delicious bites of goodness.
While it’s true that Brussels sprouts have a reputation for being a bit of a bitter Betty, that mostly comes from overcooking. Properly cooked sprouts have a delicious, nutty flavour that doesn’t need a ton of add-ons. Beyond that, this delightful little cabbage packs a powerful nutritional punch. Brussels sprouts contain significant amounts of antioxidants, beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin K, folate and dietary fibre. Small but mighty, just 4 Brussels sprouts contain 110% of our daily vitamin C needs!
Even more brag-worthy: research suggests that a high intake of Brussels sprouts (along with its cruciferous cousins bok choy, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower) may help protect against breast, lung, prostate and colorectal cancers. Even more proof that good things come in small packages!
HOW TO BUY
Although they’re available most of the year, Brussels sprouts are in season from September to November and this is when they typically taste the best. They are either sold loose or still attached to their thick, woody stalk. If on a stalk, simply pop the sprouts off before trimming. Choose bright green, evenly shaped sprouts that are 1 to 1 ½ inches in diameter and avoid puffy looking sprouts with black spots or yellow leaves.
HOW TO STORE
Store unwashed Brussels sprouts in a plastic bag in the fridge. Sprouts will last for a few weeks. For best flavour, try to cook them as soon as possible. Don’t wash the sprouts until just before using to prevent mould growth.
HOW TO PREPARE
Just before cooking, rinse Brussels sprouts with cold water and pat dry. Remove damaged and discoloured outer leaves. Trim off the hard stems but be sure to avoid cutting the base of leaves or the Brussels sprouts will come apart during cooking (unless that’s what you’re going for). Scoring a shallow “x” in the base of the sprouts will help them cook quickly and evenly.
HOW TO COOK
The number one rule for delicious Brussels sprouts: do not overcook! Other than that, you really can’t go wrong. Try them steamed, sautéed or even microwaved. My two favourite ways are roasted and raw, shaved thin in salads. Roasting brings out the sweet, nutty flavours, with an added bonus of leaving behind some deliciously crispy leaves to snack on.
If you’re looking for a new way to spice up your Brussels sprouts this year, try my favourite recipe Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts and let me know what you think!