Brussels Sprouts

Brassica oleracea (var. gemmifera)

Brussels were possibly cultivated in ancient Rome, but the sprout we know today gets its name from later cultivation in Belgium in the 14th century.

(Do you call them brussels? Or sprouts?)

They can be bitter, and therefore the saying that they need a good hard frost before being harvested has much truth in it, as they then become milder.

To ensure even cooking, putting a cross at the stem end is important.  But even more important is not to overcook them, as they then go mushy and taste stronger. (That’s why so many people claim not to like them!) You also need to preserve all that vitamin C and the other vitamins, minerals and iron!

They are a traditional part of the British Christmas dinner. But we also like them steamed and then briefly sauteed in garlic oil, served with a dash of lemon juice and a tad of grated parmesan. Yum! (They go well with grilled cheese and croquettes!) The best ones are around now. I find they don’t taste so good later in the winter, but they do freeze well…

How do you like your sprouts?