Good Morning. And Happy Halloween!!
What is this Vegetable?
Hint: This is not an alien. It actually grows on earth, and even in the US.
What you need to know:
This is Brassica oleracea Gemmifera, more commonly known as … Brussels sprout.
A cousin of the cabbage family, many of us might recall this veggie from our childhood, and they are not fond memories.
This is quite unfortunate, as Brussels sprouts are actually very healthy. They are a nutrient powerhouse, including vitamin C, folic acid, B6, iron, vitamin A, and thiamine, along with antioxidants, fiber, and potassium.
The reason we hated them as kids is overcooking. An overcooked Brussels sprout is mushy, bitter, and smells bad. This is because too much heat releases glucosinolate sinigrin, responsible for a stinky sulfurous odor and flavor.
The solution is simple – boil or steam the sprouts for no more than 7 minutes.
Brussels sprouts are not a huge business, shamefully. Sales are a measly $27M dollar annually, with only 32,000 tons produced, mostly in California (compare that to broccoli with 1,200,000 tons a year, almost 40 times as much).
What to do at the supermarket:
About 85% of sprouts are frozen and the remaining 15% are available fresh in season – fall and winter. A good frost or two actually help them to sweeten up a bit. If you buy fresh, look for any signs of yellowness, which means the sprouts are too old. The ideal sprouts are less than an inch in diameter, lively green and tightly formed.