Brassica oleracea– Gemmifera Group.
Also known as Chou de Bruxelles (FR), Couve de Bruxelas (Po). It is a descendant of the common cabbage.
Brussels sprout, possibly originated in the area now called Belgium around 13th century, later moving to southern Netherlands, and the rest of north western Europe where it’s an important autumn and winter crop. It’s named after the capital of Belgium.
It’s grown for the enlarged buds (sprouts) formed in the leaf axils of erect, long stemmed plants. The buds (sprouts) are 2.5-4cm (1-1.6 inches) in diameter. They resemble miniature heads of cabbage, are consumed cooked and mostly purchased fresh, but frozen sprouts are also available.
They are similar to cabbage in taste but slightly milder in flavour and denser in texture.The characteristic flavour and taste is determined by presence of glucosinolates which are naturally occurring organic compounds that contain sulphur and nitrogen. Nutritionally, Brussel sprouts, have the same cancer inhibiting properties like cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables.
Brussel sprout is adapted to cool and humid climate and grows at temperatures between 7–24°C (45–75°F), with highest yields at 15–18°C (59–64°F). Breeders have developed early and mid-summer; and early and late winter types.The early types can be cultivated in high altitude regions of the tropics or during winter in the subtropics.
The largest producers in Europe are the Netherlands, the UK and Germany. Most North American production is in California and to a lesser extent, Ontario, Canada 80-85% of American production is packaged for frozen food market. Brussel sprout is very rare in tropical Africa, and is mostly sold un urban areas.
Once harvested, they can last 3-5 weeks at near freezing temperatures.
Raw Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin C and vitamin, K, moderate in B vitamins iron and potassium. 100g (3.5oz) provides only 43 calories.
Preparation of Brussel Sprout
- Cut the buds off stalk, then cut and discard any surplus stem and any loose surface leaves. Wash them thoroughly.
- The sprouts can be cooked by boiling, steaming, stir-frying, grilling, broiling or roasting.
- It’s important to use buds of similar size, or cut into similar size to ensure even cooking.
- They can also be pickled.
Cooking Brussel Sprout
Brussels sprouts have a reputation of tasting bitter or turning mushy when they are overcooked. Do not overcook sprouts as they will become grey and soft with a strong flavour that may be unpleasant to most people. The odour is due to presence of the glucosinolate, sinigrin, an organic compound that contains sulphur.
Use fresh sprouts and cook them until just tender and pleasantly crisp. Roasting is a good way to bring out the flavour. You can also sauté them.
Suggested toppings or additives
You can top with or add, Parmesan, butter, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, bacon, pistachios, pine nuts, mustard, brown sugar, and pepper.
Brussel Sprout Recipes
- So many delicious ways to cook Brussels sprouts
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