Brussels sprouts are miniature members of the cabbage family with a very similar taste. The average sprout is about 1"-2" in diameter with compact leaves.
Europe is the largest consumer of Brussels sprouts – especially when served with turkey during holidays. In France, they’re called Brussels cabbages (choux de Bruxelles). Most commercial U.S. sprouts are grown in California.
Although probably originating in the Middle East, Brussels, Belgium, was the first to grow the sprouts in mass quantities.
Brussels sprouts are not identified by species. They will range in color from green and white to a reddish tinge.
- Peak season is late summer through spring, but they are also available frozen.
- Select sprouts that are uniform in size with firm, fresh green leaves.
- Avoid those with damaged or cut leaves, which may indicate insect infestations.
- Remove any yellowed or brown leaves, but do not trim stem until ready to prepare.
- Sprout flavor changes rapidly. Refrigerate in a plastic bag no longer than a week.
- Brussels sprouts can be blanched and frozen up to twelve months.
- When trimming, leave a small section of stem attached to hold the leaves in place.
- To cook evenly, slice the sprouts in half lengthwise, especially if cooking larger heads. Alternatively, make a small slit at the stem end so that steam can reach the inner core.
- Like cabbage, sprouts emit strong sulfuric gases when overcooked. They will turn gray and taste bitter. The recommended boiling time for fresh crisp heads is five minutes. To steam, add one minute.
- Add spices and herbs to boiling water along with the sprouts.
- Allow Brussels sprouts to cool after cooking and eat whole or sliced with salad greens.
- They can also be eaten raw. Shred or cut in wedges for dipping.
- One-quarter pound equals approximately one side serving.